It's another installment of the Bulldogs vs Clippers rivalry at the Dog Pound tonight, the first meeting in the Valley in over TWO MONTHS. Yes, the Clippers were last in Alberni on November 20th. I can't believe it's been that long.
Since that game the Dogs have been to the Frank Crane Arena twice, winning both contests.
It's always a little "different" when these two teams meet.
Or it's at least different from the Port Alberni side of the puck.
There is a natural geographical rivalry that has existed through generations between Port Alberni and Nanaimo. From everything from tiddly-winks to senior citizens floor curling to every level of hockey, the kids to the big kids to the Juniors in between. This was about the VERY first thing that I was informed of when I moved to Port Alberni.
So, as I said, it's a little "different"
The Clippers have had a rough go this season and a tough stretch lately, as until Wednesday's 4-3 come from behind OT win over Prince George they had lost ELEVEN in a row.
Now here's something I need to tread lightly with, in light of everything I've said above.
It's almost a pastime for some people around these parts to give Bill Bestwick a tough time, to give the Clippers a tough time, etc etc etc.
Now I'm not about to bash anyone that gives the enemy a tough time or anything....but here's some food for thought. LAST year when the Dogs were having a tough go and a tough time Bill Bestwick took the opportunity during a pregame interview with me before a head to head game to pass along a message to the Port Alberni fans. The message was (paraphrasing a little here)
"We are feeling for you for going through tough times. No one supports your team like you guys do here. Your community deserves a winner. Your guys are working hard, stick with them, don't give up on them, things will turn around before you know it"
And wouldn't you know it. The Dogs are on top by a large margin, and the Clippers are a ways out of 5th spot in the Conference.
Food for thought Bulldogs fans. Times have been tough for them too. Don't get too distracted with where you are now - that forget where you've been, and where you COULD be.
It's not so fun when the shoes on the other foot. Dogs fans know that all too well the last couple of years. Enjoy the ride of course, but don't forget being a gracious winner is sometimes tougher than being a gracious loser.
But enough of that now. My 2 cents has been said. Fire up the "Bestwick Wave" I guess, and lets look FORWARD.
This is a big one tonight. Don't count the Clippers out. They just snapped a 11 game losing streak in thrilling comeback fashion. They come into a building that they've won 2 in a row in. They'll feel much better going into this game, coming off a win - than they did for the last month.
The Dogs had best be ready to battle.
Throw in a fact that this is a possible playoff preview, and this is the last game between the teams at the Pound this regular season, and this is an important game.
Of course you can get it all on 93.3 The Peak FM starting with our pre game show at 6:45 with the play-by-play to follow at 7.
Pearce Eviston will be tonight's first intermission guest, with Prince George Spruce Kings play-by-play voice Ron Gallo up in the second intermission show.
Just a heads up on tomorrow - my second intermission feature guest will be former Bulldog and Port Alberni Native Tyler Ruel.
Don't forget that the "Heart of an Angel" campaign continues tonight and tomorrow supporting VARIETY - The Children's Charity. Angel Magnussen will be collection donations of spare change for the Variety Coin Drive, she'll also be selling copies of her cookbook and paper hearts are also for sale - they get hung in the Multiplex with your name on them, or whomever you wish to honour while you support the cause.
Angel will be selling and autographing copies of the cookbook tomorrow at Quality Foods from noon to 3pm. Provided I don't come down with a busted face and a concussion again tonight, I'll be there from noon to 1 tomorrow signing books myself. You gotta try my Dill Cheese Bread recipe in the cookbook, mmmmmm good!
And also don't forget that it's HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA tomorrow!
What a way to celebrate with a game at THE POUND as the Dogs host the Spruce Kings!
See you at the rink tonight!