FOULDS: McArthur Island wows visitors and locals alike — yet again
Compared to this past weekend’s atom hockey action at McArthur Island, the NHL games of 2011-2012 have been yawn-inducing.
Twelve atom recreational teams met for an iceload of play squeezed between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, with a strong Saanich Braves squad outlasting the Kamloops Sharks (my son’s team ) by a score of 6-2.
These Braves were a team to behold and rolled through the tourney with as much ease as their attention-getting bus likely rolled over the Coquihalla en route from Vancouver Island.
As my son noted, wide-eyed and jaw dropping just a bit, these Braves even had matching hockey bags, each with the team logo embroidered on it.
For a hockey dad whose gear spills out of the equivalent of a Caillou backpack, even I was impressed with the style in which Saanich travels.
The tourney is one of a dizzying number that contribute to the city’s well-deserved title as Canada’s Tournament Capital and added to Kamloops’ reputation as the place to go for such events, organized as it was with precision and perfection.
There is nothing like organizers doing all those little things that make nine- and 10-year-old hockey players feel like they are playing in the NHL.
Many were the player and parent from Saanich or Chilliwack or Mission or Kelowna or Vernon who was heard marvelling at the McArthur Island layout.
One kid, pulling his hockey bag from the arena to the vehicle after a Saturday morning game, was heard telling his mom all about the skateboard park and golf course “right here next to the arena!”
We use Mac Isle’s rinks every week.
We play the golf course all spring and summer and fall. We spend the occasional lazy Sunday strolling the perimeter or riding our bikes.
And, soon, we will relax in the sun and watch son and daughter play soccer.
It is a remarkable facility, one whose magic for locals needs to be refreshed now and then through the eyes of visitors.
• The 2012 Communities in Bloom committee held a pot-luck luncheon at the Kamloops Art Gallery on Monday, Feb. 13, with co-chairs Glenn Grant of the B.C. Wildlife Park and Gay Pooler of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association presiding over the affair.
Among the highlights is the fact the committee learned just yesterday it has received a $12,500 federal grant to help with its Kamloops bicentennial celebrations.
It was also revealed the city will indeed compete this year after taking a break in 2011 to mentor Logan Lake in its provincial CIB competition.
This year, Kamloops will compete in the international Communities in Bloom competition, the same division in which the Tournament Capital won it all in 2006, besting cities from around the world.
In 2010, Kamloops won the national Best Blooming City Award.
What does this all mean?
Well, aside from instilling pride and making the city look better, Grant noted there are tangible benefits with positive spinoffs that come with having a committee of volunteers promote CIB within Kamloops and beyond.
The city is featured on the December page of Home Hardware’s Miracle Network charity calendar, which is sold in Home Hardware stores across the country.
Kamloops was also featured in the widely distributed Municipal World magazine.
Both of these promo pieces came as a result of the national and international spotlight the Communities in Bloom program has shone on Kamloops.
That spotlight will get brighter in 2015 as Kamloops is all but assured of hosting the annual CIB national conference.
Read Thursday’s edition of KTW for more information on this year’s competition and how you can get involved.