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220px Kamloops Blazers logo 2015

Regular season WHL hockey is only hours away. Hope springs eternal, everybody’s 0-0 and every other sports cliché is ready to roll as the Kamloops Blazers prepare to open the 2019-20 campaign tonight versus Spokane.

The man who will be calling all the action again this year for the Blazers is Jon Keen, and he joined Q101 to look ahead at the season to come.

Last season, the Blazers went on a run straight out of a movie plot to make the playoffs through a do-or-die tiebreaker. They’ve followed up that hot play, with a perfect preseason record, begging the question, what’s the feeling around the club?

“I think it’s cautious optimism based on the fact it was an undefeated preseason. There’s no doubt that you can’t put much stock in the preseason. The last time the Blazers went undefeated in the preseason was 2012 and they started that year 16-0-0-1, their best start in franchise history,” said Keen.

“Tempered with some of the optimism is the fact that it’s going to be a really tough BC Division this year,” added Keen.

Keen pointed to the Vancouver Giants being a goal away from the Championship last year, and the Kelowna Rockets loading up, as they host the 2020 Memorial Cup.

Turnover, as per usual in junior hockey, was a key factor for Kamloops, departing was their Captain and starting goalie, and in their place is a long list of rookies and three 16-year-olds.

“I don’t want to put too much on a rookie joining the team, but it seems as though Logan Stankoven could be poised for a great 16-year-old season, how great? We'll see. It’s awful tough for a 16-year-old to make an impact at this level. But he led the CHL in preseason scoring with eight goals and seven assists,” said Keen.

The home opener may be only hours away, but the Blazers could already be looking to wheel and deal to acquire a 20-year-old. WHL teams are only allowed to carry three 20-year-olds on their roster, and most teams are still over the limit, while the Blazers have only two.

Puck drops for the Blazer tonight at 7 PM.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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sundail

 

If you've recently travelled out of town towards Kamloops you may have noticed some serious construction near the overpass. The work being done is by Sundial Growers, as they run utilities to their new cannabis production plant.

Gerald Proctor joined Q101 to discuss the next steps for the company and a possible timeline.

“We anticipate completion of our phase-1 by mid-November, but as you know things can be delayed,” said Proctor. “Phase-1 is half of our first pod, which is currently in design and manufacturing. We look to have occupancy of phase-1 by the end of the year.”

The pods are prefabricated, which will allow for quick setup once they arrive in October.

In one pod is approximately 20-rooms and requires around 80-100 workers. So, the half pod will need somewhere around 40 full-time employees.

“Absolutely, local is our priority and kind of the Nicola Valley catchment area,” said Proctor. “We’re honing in on finding some great local Merritt folk to work with us.”

“We’re looking to hopefully engage the community in the coming weeks with our workforce strategy,” added Proctor.

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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kvr trails

(Photo - https://bcrailtrails.com/)

Back in 2016, the idea of the Kettle Valley Railway ‘Rails to Trails’ project was originally floated.

Closed to trains in 1989, the Kettle Valley Railway system stretches from Midway to Spences Bridge.

The trail system is already in place throughout much of the Okanagan and has been a major tourism draw.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) has been taking the lead role in bringing the project to life in the Merritt area, and this week approached City Council for a letter of support.

“It should be noted that even if we send this letter, it will not be done immediately. This is just a preliminary attempt to acquire a crown lease, from the KVR portion of land from Juniper to the area where the First Nations Lands meet,” said Mayor Linda Brown.

The lease being investigated is a 5-year lease with a potential 5-year extension.

“I’m just glad there is an opportunity to give support to this because I think it’s something the community really wants to see happen, a family-friendly trail,” said Coun. Travis Fehr.

Mayor Brown did mention that the project is still at least two-years away from becoming a reality.

 

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nicola river flooding


Flood mitigation remains a key priority for City Council. This year, the city focused on some key strategic points along the river and planned to spend $150,000.

The funds were expected to be covered by a Provincial grant, however that money never came, which led Council this week to find a new funding source.

“We anticipated that it would happen through grants, but we were unsuccessful in that grant application,” said Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith.

“So, we’re requesting that Council direct staff to allocate that $150,000 from the gas tax,” added Smith.

Along with the projects being gas tax eligible, the City also received a one-time top-up of their gas tax funds this year from the Federal Government.

“Working with flood mitigation and making that a key priority was in many of our platforms. Since we weren’t successful in obtaining a grant, I feel that this is necessary, having to idea what the future brings,” said Coun. Adam Etchart.

“We will continue to seek more money from the government for flood mitigation for future areas to address, but these are the ones that have to been done this year,” added Mayor Linda Brown.

The key areas being addressed this year are the golf course, Lions Park and Rotary Park.

 

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Volleyball

Volleyball and soccer continue to dominate the early part of the school year’s athletic calendar.

This weekend the boys’ soccer team will be headed to Pemberton for a tournament today and tomorrow. The boys’ team is coming off a 4-1 win over Lillooet last week at MSS.

The Senior Girls’ Volleyball team will play their first weekend tourney as well, as they head north to play at TRU (Thompson Rivers University)

Good luck to the MSS Panthers competing this weekend!

 

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