Sports

Jet-setting to The Peg

Can’t afford the outrageous price Canadian teams charge to sit skyward at Rogers Arena? You’ve always wondered why they call it Winterpeg?

The Royal Bank Cup 2014 hockey committee has arranged for a sponsored NHL hockey weekend in Winnipeg.

The excursion includes two sets of return flights, Kelowna to Winnipeg, and two tickets for each of the Jets games on Friday, March 22 versus the Washington Capitals and March 24 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Plenty of star power on both of those teams.

The trip does not include accommodations but Winnipeg has a YMCA and some affordable hotels and motels. And if you stay at the Polo Park Inn, they have tenpin bowling.

To win the flights and ducats, you only have to “Like” the RBC Cup Facebook page (RBC Cup 2014 Vernon).

‘Liking’ the RBC Cup gets you one entry. You can earn a second entry by ‘Liking’ the Vernon Viper page. And you can score a third entry by ‘Liking’ the KISS FM page.

The winner will be announced at the Saturday, March 9 Vipers game versus the Merritt Centennials.

One of the latest locals to sign up as a volunteer for next year’s national Junior A championship at Wesbild Centre (May 10-18) is Eddie Johnstone.

EJ coached the Vernon Lakers to an epic upset victory in the final of the 1990 Centennial Cup at jam-packed Civic Arena in Vernon.

His team erased a three-goal deficit in the third period and stunned the heavily favoured New Westminster Royals 6-5 in overtime on Cam Sylven’s breakaway goal.

“No question, it was one of the highlights of my hockey career,” said Johnstone, a former NHL winger, in the January RBC Cup newsletter. “We won again the next year, which was exciting, too. But it didn’t have quite the same feeling as slaying the dragon in our barn.

“That 1990 win was especially sweet for me because New West had fired me previously. But you should have seen the way this town celebrated. It was crazy.”

Morgan headed to Japan

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who had a cup of mocha with the Vernon Vipers before turning to baseball, will reportedly play in the Far East this season.

According to The Associated Press, the former Brewers outfielder has agreed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Central League on a one-year deal that will pay him $1.6 million.

Morgan, who often visits friends in Vernon, batted .239 in 122 games for Milwaukee last season. He hit .304 for the Brew crew in 2011. The 32-year-old has spent six Major League seasons with the Pirates, Nationals and Brewers, amassing 117 stolen bases and a career average of .280.

Spooner enters Alaska shrine

Former Laker forward Doug Spooner (104 points in 1986-87 BCJHL season) was inducted to the University of Alaska Seawolf Hall of Fame last fall at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

Spooner, who helped UAA to a pair of NCAA Tournaments from 1987-91, was joined by his wife and daughter, and introduced by longtime friend and former Seawolf hockey equipment manager Kevin Kuper.

Spooner thrilled UAA fans for four seasons, tallying a near-record number of goals. Utilizing his solid frame and soft scoring touch, the Cache Creek native was a staple of Seawolf teams that compiled four straight winning seasons, including 21- and 22-victory campaigns in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

The ‘90-91 Seawolves’ captain supplied 23 goals in both his sophomore and junior seasons, and is tied for No. 6 on the all-time Seawolf list with 75 career goals. He was one snipe shy of equaling the program record – a mark he likely would have topped had he not missed 13 games to injury as a senior.

Spooner graduated in 1991 with a bachelor degree in justice. He currently lives in League City, Tex., where he works for BP Oil. While playing in Vernon for two years, he lived with his aunt, Marje Broomfield, a big part of the team’s Booster Club.

Blades’ 50/50 jackpot $68,000

The Saskatoon Blades drew a record 12,588 fans last Saturday as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their home, the Credit Union Centre.

The Blades featured some big promotions to mark the occasion, including kids tickets for $2.50, a $250,000 fan shootout and the 50/50 pot starting at $25,000. The 50/50 winner pocketed $68,000.

Saskatoon hosts this year’s Memorial Cup, May 17-26.

For the record, Blades’ captain Brenden Walker was taken 240th in the 2007 WHL Bantam draft. He’s fourth in team scoring.

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