Dillon Giancola: A hectic February in Fort St. John, and Ovechkin's record chase


A week ago, I wrote in this space that the Feb. 7 to 9 weekend (which just passed) would be the calm before the storm, Boy, was I wrong.

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There was hardly any calm to be seen, as sports clubs all over town were hosting important and annual events. Who needs the High on Ice Festival or B.C. Winter Games to make for a busy, exciting weekend?

From the Men’s and Ladie’s Bonspiel at the Fort St. John Curling Club, to the Junior Regional Basketball Tournament, all the sports seemed to be covered. For curling, it was the beginning of a crazy three-week stretch which will see the Mukluk Bonspiel go this weekend, followed by the B.C. Winter Games Curling Tournament February 21 to 23.

The Fort St. John Figure Skating Club hosted the annual Totem Figure Skating Competition, while the Fort St. John Elks were in Red Deer for the Canadian Youth Long Track Speed Skating Championships. In case you were wondering, both clubs will have athletes competing a week from now at the B.C. Winter Games.

In case you thought that hockey would take a back-seat for a weekend, think again. The Huskies actually lost a game, and though that is normally a bad thing, the amount of calm and positivity the team showed at it’s annual awards banquet just an hour after their first loss in 17 games showed just how special this season has been so far.

It does seem like hockey will actually take a back seat these next few weekends, with the Huskies and Trackers nearing the end of the regular season and already preparing for playoffs and provincials.

For now, get outside this weekend, enjoy some ice carving, try a new sport, and appreciate this exciting time in Fort St. John sports.

Ovechkin Does It Again

Alex Ovechkin had 698 career NHL regular season goals, just two away from becoming the eighth player to ever score 700.

Ovechkin has had three hat-tricks and 14 goals in his last 10 games. At age 34, he had a share of the NHL goal-scoring lead at 40 with Auston Matthews. Matthews, by the way, is just 22 years old.

What Ovechkin is doing this year is incredible, and it’s likely that he becomes the oldest player to ever score 60 goals in a season this year.

However, all the talk has been about the run to 700 goals, and eventually breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals scored.

What really stands out to me right now is how excited people, including myself, already are for him to break the record, even though that will take at the very least four more seasons.

The fact that Ovechkin is already the talk of the NHL each night just because he’s about to score his 700th tells me we’re about to experience something rare in sports — a chase of a record that every fan is aware of four or five years prior.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s race to 61 home runs in 1998 was legendary, but nobody thought those guys would break that record the season prior. Just imagine if there was five years of lead-up to it.

Canadian Nick Taylor Wins Pebble Beach

Normally, a Canadian winning any PGA Tour Tournament would be a big deal, but winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is another thing altogether. The popular course and tournament is just a step below the four majors, and when Nick Taylor won wire-to-wire last weekend, it would be natural to assume Taylor would become an instant Canadian sports celebrity.

Unfortunately, he picked the one month to win a golf tournament where There’s still just too much happening in sports for any Canadian golf fans to really know what’s happening. That, and there’s still snow everywhere you look.

I can’t let myself think about golf yet, but congrats to Nick Taylor nonetheless.  

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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