Dynamiters coach reflects on playoff cancellation, season up until then

With concerns regarding COVID-19 postponing or cancelling essentially everything around us,and around the world, it’s important to check in with members of our own community to see how it’s impacted them.

The Kimberley Dynamiters, were dealt an extremely disappointing blow last week, first with news that the playoffs would be postponed, and then the following day, on Friday, Mar. 13, that they were to be cancelled outright. After winning the series against Creston 4-1 and being up 2-0 against Columbia Valley, the team was looking like strong candidates to go all the way to the championships.

“Yeah it sucked,” head coach Derek Stuart told the Bulletin. “It’s a feeling that you have no control over. I’d almost rather lose out in the playoffs or not make the playoffs because then at least you deserve what you get and this, no one that was still playing, none of the players in any league deserved this. So it’s a helpless feeling and it’s definitely, from our point of view, we think that we should be preparing for Nelson or Beaver Valley instead of doing exit meetings.”

READ MORE: Dynamiters knock Creston out of playoffs

Stuart said that once the NHL suspended their season, everyone knew it was coming, but the team was in effect left hanging in limbo with news of the suspension on Thursday, before the decision came down from Hockey Canada to cancel all hockey at every level on Friday.

“Everyone’s pretty disappointed, very upset,” Stuart said. “I think everyone was here because we planned to have a team that could make a run at the championship this year, some guys came back just for that. Some guys came here that weren’t here last year just because of that, to have a chance to win, and to have that just taken away from circumstances that you have zero control over is tough to take.”

Stuart added that for the foreseeable future, there is no hockey. The Dynamiters don’t do spring camps so this won’t affect them with regards to that, but he’s hoping that by the time the start of next season rolls around they’ll be able to play then.

Despite a sudden, disappointing end to the season, Stuart had a lot of positive things to say looking back on the successes his team achieved.

“Definitely finishing first overall and winning 40 our of 49 games, that’s pretty difficult to do especially with the division that we were in this year. There wasn’t an easy game in our division all year long, including the playoffs as Creston proved in the first game of the playoffs. So that was definitely a highlight, seeing them achieve that goal.”

He also highlighted Brock Palmer’s exceptional 56 goal, 108-point season, and the later-season triumphs of Erik Delaire, who was awarded the playoff MVP award.

“Guys like Erik Delaire, who in the playoffs was our best player and starting to play like we knew he always could, so things like that were definitely highlights,” he said. “And just being around this team, it was a special group of guys and they were all here for the right reasons and I really believe that we would have liked to believe we would have kept going and won it all.”

Lastly, Stuart extended his gratitude to the Dynamiters’ many loyal fans and supporters, adding that their support is a major reason why players choose to come and play in Kimberley.

“It’s gotta be hard on [the fans], especially the loyal ones that come to all the games and were in the same boat as us looking forward to seeing how far we could go and try and win a championship,” he said. “So I know the guys are disappointed and I’m sure the fans are too.”



paul.rodgers@kimberleybulletin

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