Cold rinks, hot shots & heavy hits

Junior hockey season has returned and Townsman sports editor Taylor Rocca couldn't be more excited

Taylor Rocca

Taylor Rocca

Taylor Rocca

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Thursday and my freshly minted column.

Today, I’d like to use this as a way of introduction. For those who don’t already know me, my name is Taylor Rocca and I’ll be doing my best to fill the large sports desk shoes left by Mr. Trevor Crawley, who believes he has jumped the fence for greener pastures at the news desk.

I know I’m new to these parts, but hopefully over the next year, we can share a few good stories and opinions. Granted you can’t share your opinions or stories right here, I would encourage you to do so by emailing me (sports@dailytownsman.com) or getting in my grill on Twitter (@taylorrocca). I love to hear from readers and yes, I love my social media.

Some quick-hit notes on who I am and where I’m from: I spent the past year in Kindersley, Sask. as the sports reporter for Jamac Publishing Ltd., where I covered the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. I’m also a few years removed from an editorial internship with The Hockey News and even a few more years removed from a summer work-experience position with the Western Hockey League head office. The common thread here: I love hockey.

Enough about me and on to more pressing issues.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of my favourite time of the year. Yes, this ranks higher on my list than the NHL trade deadline, free agent frenzy and even my birthday. To be honest, I sometimes have to be reminded it’s my birthday.

Good friends, junior hockey season is upon us.

We’re fortunate enough to have the WHL’s Kootenay Ice and major junior hockey right in our backyard. Many towns and cities around the country would love to have a major junior hockey organization under their roof, but aren’t as lucky as we in the East Kootenays.

In Kimberley, we’re privileged to be home to the KIJHL — arguably the greatest Junior ‘B’ hockey league in the country — and the Dynamiters.

I would argue hockey at its purest form can be found in the rink at 6 a.m. when the littlest tykes chase the biscuit gleefully and parents sit frozen, half asleep and coffee in hand. Still, junior hockey is perhaps the purest form of the competitive game.

Yes, the professional game is a spectacle to be seen and the Olympics represent the world’s elite competing for their respective countries. But, in my humble opinion, nothing quite compares to the beauty of the game at this level as young men fight, day in and day out, for a shot at a career, a livelihood.

Some will move on to decade-long pro careers, while others will play out their time in junior before seeking out another path.

One thing will remain common between these very separate outcomes: for five years, these players give their heart, soul, sweat and blood to a community, both on the ice and off it.

Whether it’s the Kimberley Civic Centre or Western Financial Place, I hope to see you soon. Please feel free to stop me and say, “hello.”

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s to cold rinks, hot shots and heavy hits.

Hockey season has returned.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read