For those out there who wish to learn some local hockey history, the Chiefs from Kelowna were the Chase Chiefs for three years prior to transferring to the Okanagan Mecca.
From the ashes of old, the Heat arose as a new local franchise and are enjoying their fifth season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
This past weekend the Heat travelled on Friday the 18th to the Little Apple to take on the Chiefs. This clearly was Pancake Night at the Rutland Arena as the players that got off that bus performed as flat as pancakes.
In a mind-numbing fashion, a team showing such great early promise took the night off. In the 1st, Travis Beaubien scored assisted by Spencer Farstad, then Kelowna scored three through the next 44 minutes.
In the 3rd, rookie, Kyle Riley scored on the power play with a nice one-timer from Michael Fidanza. Then Kelowna closed things out in a 4-2 road loss. Daniel Toews went the distance between the pipes receiving little if any help from his friends.
That debacle set things up for Saturday the 19th. First off, a 3 p.m. matinee game at the Art Holding Memorial Arena between two teams of rusty former KIJHL puck chasers: the Inaugural Alumni Game between the Chase Chiefs and the short bench squad of the Chase Heat. Once again a team with the moniker “Chiefs” achieved success, with the final being 10-3. A great-sized crowd enjoyed their old time favourites playing good-times shinny. Many an exaggerated story was told after, during an indoor tail-gate party thanks to the weather.
The crowd was generous as donations received at the door, plus a top up from the Heat, raised $1,000 for Chase Minor Hockey.
On Saturday night, the previous evening’s foes arrived via bus to take on the chastised Heat. This season’s roster learns quickly as an about-face occurred in performance level. Once again, the Heat got on the board first in the 1st, with Zachary Fournier popping one in from Spencer Farstad and Beaubien. Less then a minute later, Logan Mostat scored unassisted. Then the Chiefs got one before Austin Willier scored from Fidanza for a 3-1 lead.
Midway in the 2nd, Fournier got his second from Tommy Brown and Braden Hughes. Penalty trouble opened the door for the visitors who scored twice on the power play to make it close 4-3.
In the 3rd Pat Brady got the fifth marker with a beautiful pass from Fidanza and Trevor Okino, and then Kelowna made it interesting scoring again on the powerplay with 38 seconds left. This one goes in the books as a 5-4 win for Chase.
Nic Bruyere stopped pucks and battled crease intruders stopping 30 of 34 between the pipes.
HOT TOPICS: The Heat players and staff enjoyed three days and two nights of team bonding at Pillar Lake Resort. Campfires, fishing, boating, a lawn dart tournament and tasty player-prepared grub brought the team together for the wars ahead.
The unveiling of the flashy new third jersey will happen on either Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Is there a new logo?
It’s the Annual Family weekend with the locals taking on the KIJHL Champion Kimberley Dynamiters on Friday the 25th at 7 p.m., the Heat Golf Tournament on the 26th at Sunshore and then Sunday the 27th a 2 p.m. matinee versus the arch rival Kamloops Storm.