There’s no one more disappointed than the people behind the Nelson Leafs hockey franchise that the club suffered early elimination from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs.However, there’s more to the Leafs franchise than skates, pucks, tape and sticks.The Leafs continue to be a force off the ice after the club made a donation to the “Man in Motion” project prior to the end of the hockey season.During the first home playoff game against Beaver Valley, Leaf president Larry Martel presented Bill McDonnell and Denis Kleine with a cheque for $500 in support of the purchase of the “Man in Motion” bronze sculpture located at the NDCC entrance.A replica of the sculpture is currently on display in the Nelson Leafs cabinet next to the sound booth. No time to rest for Leaf coaching staffAfter going through a rollercoaster ride this past season, Leaf head coach Dave McLellan is not going to make the same mistake twice.McLellan has already put the wheels in motion on making the Leafs run in next season’s KIJHL playoffs a long one.The veteran coach has booked dates for the Leafs spring rookie and main camps.The rookie camp goes April 24-26 at the NDCC Arena.Invited players from throughout the province will be in Nelson for a tryout to see if they qualify for Main Camp, May 15-17.The Leafs training camp is set for the first week of September. Defending KIJHL Champion Hawks in control of Murdoch FinalThe Beaver Valley Nitehawks are slowly, but surely, making quick work of the Castlegar Rebels in the Murdoch Division Finals.Beaver Valley built up a 3-0 lead before rolling to a 4-2 victory Thursday in Castlegar.The defending KIJHL champs hold a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.Devin Names and Castlegar product Kadrian Klimchuk scored first period goals before McKoy Hauck made it 3-0 in the second.Yannis Soukas, the hottest Rebel in the playoffs, gave the home team life with a powerplay goal 14 seconds remaining in the period.Jeremy McNeil cut the margin to 3-2 with another special teams marker seconds into the third.But Walker Sidoni scored on the power play for Beaver Valley midway through the final period to secure the victory.Beaver Valley out shot the Rebels 32-24.Carsen Schamerhorn won his sixth straight game in goal for the Hawks while Austin Wells took the loss for Castlegar.Beaver Valley has now defeated Castlegar five of the last six games dating back to Feb. 7.Game four is Friday in Castlegar. Note the early start time of 5:30 p.m. as the teams must give way to Selkirk Saints later in the evening.The Saints host University of Victoria Cougars in Game one of the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League semi final at 8 p.m.Game two is Saturday with Game three, if necessary, Sunday in Castlegar.If necessary, Game five of the Murdoch Finals goes Sunday in Fruitvale.
NOTES: The winning owners are Schroeder Farms, LLC of Corona Del Mar, CA, Beverly Engelberg and Jan Steeper. JOCKEY QUOTES KENT DESORMEAUX, BLUE TONE, WINNER: “He broke horribly today and I didn’t know if he had anything left at the half-mile pole. I absolutely nursed him to the quarter pole and he showed all the class that he has and held them at bay.“Not for nothing but he must be a mudder. He won’t step in a puddle on the road out to the racetrack in the mornings, but I walked him out onto the track today and he was paddling in it, like a child in the mud. He was like a little kid. He was enjoying himself.” BOB HESS, JR., TRAINER OF BLUE TONE, WINNER: “It was apparent there wasn’t any pace in the race. The other day when he stumbled (out of the gate when finishing fourth in the Grade III Native Diver Handicap Nov. 27), we couldn’t have beaten the winner, but I thought we could’ve been second. He’s a big lumbering horse and when he’s able to run like this, he’s a lot better. We’ve got some money now, so we’re going to run next at Gulfstream in the Poseidon on Jan. 28. It’s $400,000 and we’re going to take a shot.” TRAINER QUOTES