A community who really supports their hockey team

I always have and always will be an avid sports fanatic, and I usually jump at every opportunity to watch whatever game is on from my couch, but even better I love to get out and take in the real life action from the sidelines. This past snowy weekend I headed for the old Red Deer arena to take in a Provincial Senior ‘AAA’ playoff hockey game between the archrival Stony Plain Eagles and the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League.

My two buddies and I got to the rink an hour before the game started, and it didn’t take long to get caught up in the ‘rush’ with the rest of the packed house in anticipation of another big game between two great senior teams. Stony and Bentley had run away with the league bragging rights all season long, losing only once to each other, then going the full seven in the league final before the Generals prevailed, and are following exactly the same route in this provincial final tussle.

What really impressed me was the absolutely overwhelming and ongoing support that the small town of Bentley (2008 population 1,083) and the surrounding districts have given to their team. The friendly hometown rink at Bentley is always packed to the rafters for each and every Chinook game, but because of their outstanding success in the standings they have chosen to move some of the league playoff and Provincial games to larger venues in Red Deer so that even more fans can enjoy the fast moving, hard hitting thrilling hockey action.

The long-standing Chinook Hockey League is made up of extremely talented players who earlier in their careers have played in the college, Junior, W.H.L., and all of the professional leagues from the A.H.L. to E.C.H.L., I.H.L., overseas, and even some in the National Hockey League. Once again on this night, like all others when they clash, there were over 2,500 boisterous fans of all ages in the stands, as well as all kinds of signs, horns, and promotions in support of their favourite team.

It is quite obvious that most everyone from the Bentley area and other Central Albertans were there in full force as always to support the Brian Sutter/Jason Lentz coached team; including a whole lot of keen off-ice volunteers and sponsors who help to make it happen year after year. Like so many others, I was on the edge of my hard wooden-bleacher seat all night long, and this great experience couldn’t help but bring back fond memories of the same fabulous support that our talented Ponoka Stampeder Senior and Junior teams have received down through the years in our community.

On this night the Generals won a hard fought barn-burner 3-1 to take a 3-2 series lead; but as usual the Eagles tied it with a 2-1 victory in front of their same fanatic fans on Sunday, and the final game seven will go tonight, Wednesday-March 25th at 8:30 p.m. in the Red Deer Arena. The winner of this torrid hockey showdown will clash against the B.C. Senior ‘AAA’ Champion for the McKenzie Cup, and the entire best of five series will be played at Stony Plain, Bentley, or Red Deer. A huge tribute to all those faithful fans in every community that are always there to support their hometown teams, no matter what the sport might be.

How about a few good laughs

*It’s never to late for love. Henry, the 111-year old Tuatara, an indigenous New Zealand reptile regarded as one of the last living descendants of the dinosaurs is doing his best to keep the family name going! He and his mate Mildred, who is believed to be between 70 and 80 years old, welcomed the arrival of 12 eggs early this year, and by January 26, 2009 eleven of them have hatched into tiny and very scaly little Tuataras!

*Wine-makers have come up with a fantastic new dinner-wine that also acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips that seniors have to make to the bathroom during the night. This new wine will be called

PINO-MORE!

You can believe me if you want, but I heard it through the grapevine.

*A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him gently on the shoulder. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window! For a few moments everything was completely silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver uttered, “I’m so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me!” The frightened passenger also apologized to the driver and expressed that he didn’t realize a mere tap on the shoulder would frighten him so much. The driver replied, ‘No-no, I’m the one who should be sorry, and it’s entirely my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab…. I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 25 years!’

Even though you may have to wear your high-top rubber boots, have a great spring week, all of you.