HAPPY EASTER!

Have you ever left your comfort zone, doing something that you have never done before?

I am not a very adventurous person especially as the years tick by.

It may sound boring but I enjoy being close to home.

I have never been one to travel just for the sake of travel.

If there is a reason to be on the move, then I can justify the adventure.

I am just back in Prince George after attending a wedding in La Paz, Bolivia (South America).

Hartley in a photo taken in downtown La Paz. (Photo: B. Miller, MyPGNow)

(Yes, the outdoor wedding went smoothly, although the sun was sizzling. The hospitality of the hosts in La Paz was superb)

It was the first time I have left North America and by far the most miles I have ever travelled.

I don’t know if you have ever been on a trip where you did not look at the internet or email for a 10-day period.

I went the entire time not checking email. That was the easy part.

I admit I took an occasional peak at the internet, primarily for sports results.

Now that I am back, I am still trying to digest what has taken place.

There were a number of unexpected results/stories, but for starters, the one result that was “expected,” the Prince George Spruce Kings blasted the Vernon Vipers.

Okay, maybe not everyone thought there would be another sweep, but the Spruce Kings dominated the playoffs before I left against better competition, so why would Vernon pose any serious threat?

The Spruce Kings for the first time are BCHL Fred Page Cup champions, winning their four series in just one game over the minimum.

Going 16-1 is almost unheard of unless you are the Golden State Warriors.

Patience has paid off for the Spruce Kings, especially sticking with general manager Mike Hawes, who achieved his ultimate goal.

(Sure, he now wants a national title, but that is for next month’s discussion).

Hawes has been with the team since the 2005-06 season and has been the GM since the 2010-11 campaign.

The Spruce Kings hit a low of a 14-38-4 record in 2015-16 but Hawes had been in the job long enough to realize better days were ahead.

The team improved to 25-27-4-2 in 2016-17, to 33-17-4-4 in 2017-18 and then a whopping
39-13-1-5 this season.

It is still to be determined if they are the best team in the country, but what they did in this year’s playoffs has never been duplicated in the BCHL.

None of those so-called great Penticton, Vernon, Surrey or Nanaimo championship teams of the past put a run together in their own league like the Spruce Kings.

The credit goes to Hawes, Head Coach Adam Maglio, Associate Coach Alex Evin, the players and the support from the entire organization.

The fans have waited 23 years (since the team joined the BCHL) for this moment, a memory to last a lifetime.

I may not have been shocked by the Spruce Kings taking down the Vipers, but really did all of this happen while I was out of North America?

Tiger won the Masters! Great for golf and I know he was one of the favourites but this is still one of the greatest comebacks ever. 11 years without a major and then at age 43 to beat an elite field with a come-from-behind effort. I’m still not sure this eclipses the Jack Nicklaus Masters win when the Golden Bear was 46, but Tiger is back in the conversation of whether he can catch Jack for most Majors title (18-15). It’s still a longshot but we should never doubt Tiger again.

Magic Johnson left the LA Lakers! After just two seasons as president of basketball operations Magic actually did a real disappearing act. Is that what LeBron really signed up for in LA? Stay tuned.

Golden State blew 31-point 2nd half lead to LA Clippers! This game two result was a stunner and unprecedented but I see things were back to normal in game three with the Warriors winning like they should in LA 132-105.

Columbus swept Tampa in first round of the NHL playoffs! John Tortorella, coach of Columbus, over the pride of Prince George, Jon Cooper, coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

The Blue Jackets, who made it into the playoffs on the second last day of the regular-season, over Tampa?

The Lightning, who won 62 of 82 games, losing to a team 30 points behind them in the standings?

You are trying to tell me that Tampa is the first President’s Trophy winner to be swept in a best-of-seven first round series and they were outscored by a total margin of 19-8?

Okay, those other three stunners I can come to grips with but a Blue Jackets domination?

I think that trip to South America really did take a lot out of me because now that I have returned somebody is trying to convince me the Blue Jackets will play Boston or Toronto and not Tampa.

Come on, the date is April 19th, not April 1st.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Donald Trump announced that he would award Tiger Woods with “The Medal of Freedom” for his comeback win at the Masters. Tiger said he would reciprocate by giving Donald an autographed copy of “The Nine Commandments”.

*Comedy writer TC Chong

Apparently, Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters was biggest loss for US sports book on a golfing event ever. On the other hand, they’ll probably make it back on all the people who’ll now bet Tiger at any odds for all tournaments until he retires.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Soccer great Pele had a kidney stone removed. The amazing part was when his doctor was able to take it out without using his hands.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Regarding the 2019 NFL Draft, Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden told team GM Mike Mayock, ‘Don’t mess it up, dude’. Given what Gruden did as GM in Tampa Bay, he should have added, ‘And don’t do as I do, do as I say.’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Sugar daddy Tom Dundon pulled the plug on the fledgling Alliance of American Football after just eight weeks.

Or as AAF historians prefer to spin it, the final sack in AAF history.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Netherlands is trying to grow curling with a campaign called “Holland’s Next Gold Medal.” I was thinking maybe “Orange is the New Hack” or “A Rockwork Orange.”

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.