January, 2016 Archives
Hockey is certainly on the minds of Kamloopsians as the city gears up to welcome viewers across Canada for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, February 3-6 2016. This nationally televised event invites locals and visitors alike to rub shoulders with hockey greats such as, Darcy Tucker. Kamloops’s local hockey favorite, retired NHL/WHL alumni returns to town. It’s been over a decade since Darcy Tucker was last in Kamloops, but he will be coming back February 3-6 as a Scotiabank ambassador for Hockey Day in Canada.
“I honestly can’t wait to come back to Kamloops. It’s been years since I was in the city, but I have so many great memories of living in Kamloops and playing junior hockey, it will be great to be back.” Said Darcy Tucker. Many of you will remember when Darcy Tucker, number 16, played for the Kamloops Blazer Hockey Club. He spent four years playing for the club of what are arguably the franchises most memorable years when they won 3 Memorial Cup championships.
Darcy vividly remembers being scouted by Bob Brown of the Blazers. Brown had never seen Darcy play in real time. He had watched a video tape of him and selected Tucker, based not on points he occurred in the game but by how many times he got up after being knocked down, 22 times in fact. That type of tenacity would carry Darcy through his entire career.
Darcy recalled that life as a teenager in Kamloops did not allow for much time between school and hockey, when Darcy did get time, he enjoyed the beauty of Kamloops’ outdoors, hiking and skiing close by. Darcy has found memories of so many influential people helping him during his time in Kamloops such as his billets, teachers and coaches. Darcy says they really helped mold him and help him become the mature man he is today.
As a young child playing hockey, Darcy had always opted to be #10 or #12, those were his go-to numbers, but that all changed when he came to Kamloops and was tossed #16.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” laughed Tucker. I called my Dad and asked if #16 was okay. He said “Bobby Clark wore #16 so yeah, it’s good. Represent it well. “Every time I stepped on the ice in my hockey career, I did my best to represent #16.
Today Darcy is putting his experience and passion for the game into the work he does as a brand ambassador for Scotiabank, the major sponsor of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. It’s a job he loves.
“I have the best job,” said Tucker. “I get to travel with the Rogers Sportsnet and Scotiabank teams and help host Hometown Hockey events across the country. I enjoy working with Scotiabank because they believe in team work and community, and they give so many kids the opportunity to play the game of hockey through their sponsorship.”
Scotiabank sponsors 5000+ hockey teams across the country, something Darcy thinks is incredible.
“Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, for me, it’s all about people coming together, not just players on the ice, but all the people behind the scenes too. All kinds of personalities played the game, and still do. It’s a chance for us all to bond together with a common passion.”
When Darcy returns to Kamloops for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada he is looking forward to reconnecting with several hockey greats which he admired as a young kid. “When I was as a kid, I used to think hockey on TV was a movie. So when I got to meet Lanny McDonald when I was a kid and got to shake his hand, I realized that my dreams of making the NHL weren’t impossible, they were closer than I thought. Today, Lanny and I do a lot of work together.
Darcy also has great admiration for Kamloops’ hometown boy, and former Canadiens team mate, Mark Recchi. “I played with Mark when I first started in the NHL and he’s an incredible mentor. He was very good to me as a young guy coming to Montreal. I knew he was from Kamloops and had heard great things – he’s a good quality guy and it’ll be fun to reconnect.
Kamloops is certainly looking forward to having Darcy Tucker and Mark Recchi back on hometown soil in less than two weeks for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. Bring your friends and family down for a great four days of affordable fun! More info found here
(Interviewed by Aleece Laird)
Fat Biking. Here to stay?
This past weekend I had the privilege of joining a local community group in town, Fat Fockers to try my hand at Fat Biking. Since I don’t have a fat bike I looked into renting a bike. Where in Kamloops can you rent a fat bike? After a little detective work, I found District Bicycle Company. They are a new shop in town located in Valleyview. As soon as you walk in the door staff welcome you and offer a friendly, helpful attitude. The owners are Jeff and Jess Blanken, local “Kamloopsians” who want everyone, young and old to experience biking. Whether it’s climbing hills, with a smooth ride down, or sending big objectives, they are open and willing to assist you in getting set up with the right gear for the task. Jeff and Jess were more them happy to lend me a fat bike to take out on the trails. At first glance, I was unsure if I would find riding a bike with super fat tires challenging, but I quickly found out that if you know how to ride a regular bike,you would feel even more stable and secure on a fat bike. District Bicycle Company offers rentals for both fat bikes and mountain bikes. As of now, they are the only shop in Kamloops who offer a winter rental fleet. Phone the shop or check out their website for more information. Please click here for information on all of the bikes shops in Kamloops and what they offer.
So what is Fat Biking? Wide rims, extra-large tires, and weirdly-dimensioned frames make it all fit together to define a fat bike, a cycling subcategory that’s garnered a serious following. What is the appeal? From improved traction on dirt to flotation when riding through snow, the obese tires let a bike roll where it has not rolled before. The wide rubber, fatty tires are 4+ inches across, or twice as wide as most mountain-bike tire tread adds notable grip on the ground, and the extra surface area does not allow the wheel to sink as much into soft surfaces like snow or sand.
Photo cred: Brad Heyman
Fat Biking allows people in Kamloops to ride almost year round. Dana Heyman said “Fat biking allows people from all walks of life to mountain bike, as the stability and comfort of a wider ride lends itself to more of a comfortable, confident ride.”
Kamloops has several amazing fat bike trails to ride, Isobel Lake, the premiere location, is the Focker groups’ playground consisting of an amazing trail system built from willing volunteers, who sweat out the trails using manpower, snowshoes, and a weighted sled converted from old skis. It is then dragged behind to help smooth out the trails. New for the Focker group, with recent grant assistance, they have been able to purchase a grooming tool which will allow trails to expand to double the existing trail network, Needless to say, the majority of grooming consists of lots of hard work and volunteers heading out on snowshoes.
Photo cred: Brad Heyman
On a cool, crisp, Saturday I went out riding alongside the Focker group, a local community group with membership consisting of younger children and more a mature age range. I’m careful here, not to put an age label on anyone as all of the “mature” members could outride any strong downhill expert. Our ride started at the upper parking lot of Kenna Cartwright trail system. Since I am new to Kamloops, I had yet to experience Kenna, but all I can is wow! What an awesome trail network. Despite having to pedal a few hills in the snow, I was able to keep up with the Focker group and had a fabulous time. It is easy to see how one can get hooked! With membership swelling to over 90 members it is easy to see that fat biking is indeed here to stay. Thanks to everyone in the Focker group for having me along, and big thanks to District Bicycle Company shop for hooking me up with a bike to ride!
T-minus 3 weeks and counting until hometown hockey legend, Mark Recchi is coming home! Recchi will join other hockey greats such as: Lanny McDonald, Kirk McLean, Darcy Tucker and others in celebrating a four day, hometown hockey festival coming to Kamloops! Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will kick off February 3rd up at Sun Peaks Resort. Many other exciting community events will headline hockey festivities throughout family day long weekend.
“I can’t wait to come home!” said Recchi. “To me there is no better place to host Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.” As a three-time Stanley Cup champion and winner of many National and World championships, Recchi certainly thrived playing hockey, a game he started to play at the tender age of six. “My friends and I would play hockey all the time- Spring, summer and fall there was always a game happening somewhere in Kamloops.” said Recchi.
Today Recchi is the Player Development Coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins and thrives on helping young players break into the NHL. Recchi owes a lot of his passion and hockey skill development to amazing coaching and support which Kamloops is known for. “In my mind, Hockey Day in Canada signifies and promotes the passion we have for the game of hockey. It brings out the best in everyone… and sometimes the worst when your team loses. (Laughs) It’s a special day to recognize the sport and I think Kamloops is going to be an awesome host.” Said Recchi.
Kamloops is known for exceptional grassroots minor hockey development all the way up to being home of the WHL Kamloops Blazers Hockey organisation. This year the WHL will be celebrating its 50th year with an exciting, Pro Am Alumni game featuring teams made up of NHL and WHL alumni in a fun, family oriented game including such names as: Lanny McDonald, Mark Recchi, Darcy Tucker, Wendel Clark, Kirk McLean and more! Game to be played on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at the Sandman Centre. Puck drop at 7:30pm
Recchi is excited to be home, to reconnect with friends and family both on and off the ice and be an ambassador for Kamloops hometown hockey. Bring your family and friends down for an exciting and affordable hometown hockey weekend.
Make sure to check out http://www.tourismkamloops.com/hockeyday for ticket information and updates.