Column – Craig and Matt tackle sports

Castlegar News Reporter Craig Lindsay and Mountain FM dj Matt Williams discus local and pro sports.

With fall just around the corner, that means NBA, NHL (perhaps), junior hockey, high school sports, and Selkirk College sports is all about to start. Not long ago I wrote a music column with Mountain FM dj Matt Williams and had such great feedback, I decided to ask Matt to help out with my sports column.

Craig: Matt, you’ve got to admit the fall is one of the best times to be a sports fan with all the anticipation of upcoming sports and football and baseball being in full swing.

Matt: Definitely Craig. With the NFL starting up, I can kiss Sunday’s goodbye. I can also kiss good hygiene, wardrobe, and diet away during Sunday’s as I glue myself to the couch. At least there’s some good local sports to get me out of the house!

Craig: Let’s start with the local hockey team, the Castlegar Rebels. Now you weren’t around last year, but with my first year covering the team, I thought it was a great organization with a really good coach. The Rebs had another strong season getting to game seven in the second round against the eventual KIJHL champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

Matt: Moving here mid-march, it was awesome to see the excitement surrounding that series. Sure, it didn’t go the Rebels way this year, but you couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining series.

Craig: I think the Rebels will be contenders again. Of course, they’ll miss Anthony Delong, Scott Morriseau and Tyler Robinson, who have aged out. All three provided great leadership and clutch scoring. The best thing about junior hockey, I think, is watching players in their second or third years make that big jump. Maybe they get a chance on the first or second line and just go with it.

Matt: It seems like every year, especially at the Junior B level, there are a couple of players who make that jump from the third or fourth line. That’s the great thing about Junior level hockey. A lot of the kids are still finding their stride, and that’s when late-bloomers can arise. Yes, I did just make a floral reference while talking about hockey. It is the 21st century Craig.

Craig: But it looks like the Rebels will have some competition for coffee talk among hockey fans in Castlegar. The Selkirk College Saints have really stocked up with new coach Jeff Dubois.

Matt: It’s almost a new team at Selkirk, with just a few players returning. One of them, Justin Sotkowy, I used to call play by play for his game’s in Victoria. We island folk have to stick together. Things are looking bright for the Saints this season though.

Craig: As a University of Victoria grad, I feel some connection with the Island, although it’s been years since I’ve been. I just can’t fathom paying $200 to take the ferry to Victoria and back. But that’s another topic. On to the pros, do you think the NHL will have a season? Do you think the Canucks will ever trade Luongo?

Matt: As much as I love to hate Gary Bettman (and I only use ‘hate’ when describing empty trays at a buffet), I think they’ll hammer out a midnight deal. The league has a lot to lose this time around. As for Luongo? The Canucks will be lucky to get the retirement-rights to Bob Essensa for him.

Craig: As many predict, do you see the NBA becoming more popular without pro hockey around? And how about those Lakers with BC’s own Steve Nash? And then you add the best centre in the league in Dwight Howard to a team with Nash, Kobe, and Pau Gasol? Can anyone stop them?

Matt: I think the NBA is heading into another golden age. You’ve got the big three in Miami, and now the Fantastic Four in LA. That is, if Dwight can do his best ‘Thing’ impersonation. How about the lone Canadian team Nash spurned Craig?

Craig: The Raptors? It’ll be another long year in Toronto, I’m afraid. So Matt, I hear you used to play some basketball in high school? Are you ready to bring your game to the Trail Men’s League? I’m hoping to get you on the Castlegar team but I still need to secure my spot. What I lack in athletic ability, I make up for in my lack of any skill. But if you need someone to intentionally foul, I rise to the top.

Matt: I’m ready to bring my 6’6 frame to the court, and try and resemble a young Shawn Bradley. Hey, between you and I we could intentionally foul the entire opposing team!

Craig: That’s a sound strategy to me. Matt, did you catch some Olympic action? We took the gold in trampolining! We may also have placed well in the synchronized shot put. I’m not sure.

Matt: I did! Though most of the time I spent watching Brian Williams tell me what time it was. Basically my entire August felt like it was moving in circles. But kudos to all the BC athletes for bringing home medals this summer.

Craig: Absolutely. And now it’ll be another four years before we hear about sports like dressage, the parallel bars, and water polo. And just like that we’re finished. Thanks again, Matt!