Letters to the Editor: May 27

East Kootenay Baseball; Stay Ice Stay; Bike To Work Week

East Kootenay Baseball

As a clarification to my “Letter to the Editor” in regards to Mens Baseball Exhibition Games:

The proposed “exhibition game schedule” would only be a commitment of two days this summer.  One day in Kimberley and one day in Cranbrook. On each of those days we would play two games, each game would be seven innings.  The objective of this exhibition series would be for baseball players in both communities to meet each other, have some fun, socialize, and get those people interested in playing baseball a chance to discuss the possibility of reviving a baseball league in the East Kootenay.

It was only five years ago when a league did exist that had five teams involved.  Only two years ago, the Cranbrook Sox Baseball Club represented the Kootenays at the BC Baseball Associations annual tournament in Trail.  We have some history of very good young baseball players coming out of our area thanks in great part to the establishment of the Cranbrook Bandits Baseball Club and the good professional coaching talent they have offered our youth.  Many of these young players would like to continue playing baseball after their minor league careers have finished.

This is an attempt to get those young players together to start a discussion about forming a new league.

Please contact Roger Tierney 250-427-3347 if you would like to participate.

Roger Tierney, Kimberley

Stay Ice Stay

This upcoming 2016-17 season could be the last for the Kootenay Ice. Personally, I care immensely about keeping the Ice here in the Kootenays. The point is, why should I care or why should you?

Aside from losing great hockey, here are some financial facts and social spin off benefits that we are in danger of losing:

• The City would lose its anchor tenant in Western Financial Place.

• East Kootenay Minor sports will lose sure fire access to significant 50-50 funds raised at home games.

• Many local charities will lose opportunities with sure-fire fundraising events between periods.

Intrasquad games raised $2,265 for East Kootenay United Way resulting in over $32,000 in total by way of these games.

The 2015 Kootenay Ice Scholarship, given to a Mount Baker student, was $2,500

The Chynoweth family and the Ice have donated over $35,000 to Mount Baker students.

Ice Players become role models and heroes for children and students. Two examples include player participation in the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign and participation in the Legion’s annual poppy sale. As well, the players participate in many school events, and every month during the season a player is honored as the Community Player of the Month demonstrating to our own youth, the value of volunteering and good citizenship.

There is only one way to keep the Kootenay Ice, whether under the current or new ownership. We as businesses and fans need to quickly find a way to regenerate the excitement, the buzz, and the pride of having a WHL team as an integral component of our community.

Many of you would remember when the Ice first came to Cranbrook. Everyone wanted tickets and/or a piece of the promotional action just to be associated with the team. So how do we regenerate that excitement, buzz and pride? I believe real pride in our team (win or lose) has always been with us.

We need to communicate how important the Kootenay Ice are to our community. Therefore, I challenge our business community to start the dialogue simply by posting “Stay Ice Stay!” on their outdoor signage.  Their advertisements in the Townsman or the Bulletin could slip in a line that says “Stay Ice Stay!”.

The City could do the same in its advertisements and notices. What is in it for them? I cannot think of a business in our Kootenay Area that does not reap benefits either directly of indirectly because we have the Ice.

What can we as fans do to add to the buzz? For a start, let’s talk about why our community wants and needs the Ice. Let’s tell it to our friends, our neighbours and to the businesses where we shop.

Here’s an unorthodox suggestion: To encourage our lads and to tell them we care, let us simply replace our chant of “Go Ice Go” with “Stay Ice Stay”. The excitement comes automatically by being at the games, sharing the experience with family and friends over a coffee the next day.

A word about the price of game and season tickets: After researching ticket costs in comparable markets, Kootenay Ice tickets are the lowest in the WHL.

There is one exception. To get an adult season ticket for less you have to travel all the way to Brandon. It is $10 less but their senior prices are $40 more. For a few other quick comparisons to our adult Season price of $485: Lethbridge is $530, Swift Current is $550 for a “so called” good seat, Red Deer is $580, Medicine Hat is $603.00.

How about offering flexibility options to those for whom season tickets don’t quite work? The Ice offer Adult and Senior seven game and 36 game Flex Packs at discounts to game day walk up prices. Flex Pack tickets can be used all at one game or spread over different games of your choice. Thirty Six game Flex Packs are not priced much above Regular Season Ticket prices and save $198 over walk on prices.

Various regular promotions include 2-for-1 Tuesdays, Sunday Family Nights, College of the Rockies Nights and the Pepsi Kids’ Club and other school promotions. These specials offer more opportunities for less expensive tickets.

If I sound like an unabashed Kootenay Ice Fan, I’m proud to be. Personally, I do not want to play Russian roulette about whether or not the Ice stay in Cranbrook. The purpose of my letter is to remind our fans and local businesses how good we have it.

If this should be the last season for the Kootenay Ice, let’s make it one of their best ever and have them forever look back and second guess why they ever left Cranbrook.

Lastly, I would like to gently remind you that Season Ticket Early Bird Discounts, up to 41% on walk on prices, end June 3.

Bob McLean, Kimberley

Bike To Work Week

It’s almost here! Bike to Work Week 2016 is taking place May 30 – June 5.

Bike to Work Week (BTWW) encourages everyone to join in the fun and commit to commuting to work by bicycle for a week. In addition to all the benefits that come from active transportation to work, like promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing physical activity, and doing something beneficial for the environment, we have great prizes in store for those who sign up!

Registration is open now at www.biketowork.ca/kootenays. Once participants register for BTWW Kootenays, they are eligible for random draws taking place through Bike to Work Week including terrific prizes sponsored by Kootenay Mountain Works, Favorit Cycle and Pro Vision Optical to name just a few. All participants are also entered into the provincial Grand Prize draw of an adventure cycling trip to Vietnam. Those who fundraise for this year’s cause will be eligible for additional prizes, including a Grand Prize weekend for two at the Fernie Alpine Resort including two days of lift accessed biking AND two days of downhill bike rentals!

Bike to Work Week Kootenays is proud to return to their tradition of being the only “community” to fundraise for a local not-for-profit society in conjunction with BTWW. This year, funds are being raised for the West & East Kootenay Brain Injury Association (WEKBIA).

King adds, “West & East Kootenay Brain Injury Association is a small community organization and the only brain injury association serving the entire Columbia Basin/Boundary region. The organization depends on community grants, donations, and fundraising to continue to provide services. We are asking for your help to collect online pledges to aid them in continuing to provide much needed supports and services to the individuals and families in our communities who are living with an acquired brain injury.”

Funds raised in the East Kootenays will support WEKBIA programs in the East Kootenays; funds raised in the West stay in the West – so please ensure you sign up to fundraise for your specific region. Donations of $25 or more are eligible for a charitable tax receipt. To raise pledges online visit: http://btwwkootenays.yodel.org/

We will be engaging in a fun little East versus West fundraising challenge to see who will come out on top as our fundraising champion!

Bike to Work Week Kootenays thanks their incredible sponsors across the Kootenay region for their support of this year’s initiative including Kootenay Mountain Works, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Summit 107 FM, Black Press, Kootenay Savings and Columbia Basin Trust.

They also encourage local businesses and organizations to get involved and join the fun through corporate teams, fundraising events or competitive challenges. For more information, contact Mike Kent in the West Kootenays at 250-368-7776 or mike@yodel.org or Patti King in the East Kootenays at 250-421-9057 or patti@yodel.org

Patti King

Community Engagement Consultant, Yodel East Kootenay