Friday, February 13, 2015 was arguably the most celebrated night in Prince George sports history.

Sure, there was no championship won, or even a playoff victory but it’s not every day that P.G. stages an Opening Ceremonies for a truly national event like the Canada Winter Games (CWG). It’s not every day, the UNBC men’s basketball team clinches second place in its Canada West Division, and it is not every day the Prince George Cougars win on the road against a division leader in the Eastern Conference.

There have been many Prince George teams that have enjoyed golden moments at Canadian Championships including the PG Oldstylers Senior Lacrosse team that won the Presidents Cup (1974); the PG Mohawks Senior hockey team that captured the Hardy Cup (1978) and more recently the UNBC men’s basketball team that took top honors at the CCAA Championship (2010). In addition, there have been P.G. youth teams have also earned gold at Nationals. These accomplishments are noteworthy and were reason to cheer but didn’t necessarily have a broad appeal to the majority of local residents.

We all knew the CWG would be special and as the midway mark approaches, we continue to appreciate the magnitude of this event. The Opening Ceremonies, with mostly local performers including a strong Lheidli T’enneh presence, were superb. That really wasn’t a surprise considering the countless hours of preparation that was needed to make the evening highly notable.

The Opening Ceremonies on its own merit, considering the volume of P.G. residents that have a connection (participating or watching) to the Games, may be in the discussion for historic significance. Sure, with no games played, one could quibble about the sports role, but not everything has to have a WIN or an LOSS to understand the gist.

The extravaganza of the Opening Ceremonies was undoubtedly a combination of the steak, potato and appetizer of last Friday. Throw in the bun (UNBC road win 85-64 at UBCO to secure a first round bye) and the butter (Cougars 4-2 road win in Medicine Hat) and it added to a meal of mega proportions that any Chef would be proud to serve.

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The UNBC Timberwolves men’s basketball team quietly moved up the ranks in securing its first ever playoff spot at the Canada West elite level. After starting the season 0-4, with three of those losses by four points or less, it would have been easy to get discouraged, but the Timberwolves stayed the course and improved as the season progressed. The 12-8 UNBC men climbed out of the hole to finish second out of six in the Pioneer Division, having won seven of their last eight games. The Timberwolves will be a massive underdog when they get a taste of playoff action on the road in a best of three series when they play the UBC Thunderbirds (Feb 26, 27 and if necessary 28). UBC, winners of its last five, finished third out of 11 in the much tougher Pioneer Division with a 14-6 record. Pressure? That’s not something the Timberwolves will face when outside expectations are the big university will manhandle the little one.

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The PG Cougars are in post-season contention largely because of superb goaltending over their last seven games (3-2-1-1). In each of those seven the Cougars were substantially outshot, a total of 291-175. Ty Edmonds, in six of those games, stopped 229 of 248 shots while rookie Tavin Grant shined with 40 saves in a 3-2 overtime triumph in Red Deer. Despite the 5-1 loss in Edmonton, the Cougars appear out of a slump that had them lose 12 straight to close out January. With just 12 games to go, the Cougars goaltending will be the most influential factor whether they make the playoffs or not.

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If one remains hesitant to call Friday, February 13th the most momentous date in PG sports history, I doubt anyone could dispute that the last two weeks of this month will go down as the most compelling sports time the city has ever seen. The CWG attraction speaks for itself, the PG Cougars are going down to the wire for a playoff berth, the PG Spruce Kings are battling for 2nd in their division, the Major Midget Cariboo Cougars have clinched first place, the UNBC men’s basketball team gets its first taste of Canada West playoff competition and the Patti Knezevic PG team represented BC at the National Scott Tournament of Hearts. Now that’s performance!

From the Quote Rack:

At a Rockies fantasy camp, 88 year-old Lew Dunlap charged the mound after being buzzed by a pitch. That’s it–no more pitching at fantasy camps for Pedro Martinez.

Amare Stoudemire wrote a goodbye poem to New York. He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t find something that rhymes with ‘fire extinguisher’.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

In Boston, they are offering free Red Sox tickets to residents who help shovel show away from fire hydrants. If New York gets another storm, they are thinking of a different strategy, anyone who doesn’t help with the snow will get free Knicks tickets.

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was damaged in a crash on the weekend in Pennsylvania. Hope the driver wasn’t hot-dogging it.

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

A Wisconsin mayor who had his ear bitten by Jimmy the Groundhog on Groundhog Day has been voted out of office. The mayor will now change his name to Vincent van Gogh and run again in the next election.

A survey of NHL agents reveals the top 3 cities that players do not want to go to are: 1. Edmonton; 2. Winnipeg; 3. Buffalo. Congratulations to Evander Kane who is attempting to complete the trifecta.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)


And in case you missed it:

Russell Westbrook earned MVP honours after scoring 41 in the NBA All-Star Game. That’s one short of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record of 42 in one night — points, not women.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat. His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller