Whistler hockey fans get an unexpected bonus this Sunday, Feb. 8, when the Squamish Wolf Pack will host an unscheduled third game at Meadow Park arena. The game will replace a Jan. 3 match against the North Delta Devils that was called because of the heavy snow.
The Feb. 8 game starts at 3 p.m. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for children and seniors.
The slumping Wolf Pack are limping into the end of the regular season, which wraps up on Feb. 22.
At one point the Wolf Pack were six point out of a spot in the playoffs, but a three point slip in one weekend to the Delta Ice Hawks took the wind out of the team's sails. The team then made a series of trades, including all star goalie Graham Hallenbeck, giving older players a chance to play in the playoffs and contend for an overall provincial Junior B title against the top teams from the Pacific International Junior Hockey League, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
Coach Matt Samson accepted some players to be named later for the trades, and is focusing on the younger players he would like to keep around next season.
The Wolf Pack won just two games in all of January. On Jan. 2 they beat the Port Moody Black Panthers 5-2 in Whistler, and on Jan. 31 they upset the second place Grandview Steelers at home in Squamish by a score of 7-5. Hallenbeck was perfect for the first 11 minutes of that game, but left the game in the first period. Backup Todd Meyer let in seven goals on 28 shots, while Wolf Pack goalie Brett Miller stopped 38 of 43 shots.
Trevor Beaupre was the top scorer in that game with two goals and two assists, while Cory Sammartino added a goal and two assists. Jake Charles, who was listed as an affiliate, added two goals, while Dustin Urdea added a goal and two assists.
With new players in the lineup, solid goaltending and nothing to lose, the Wolf Pack's test is against the current PIJHL leaders, the Richmond Sockeyes. The puck drops in that game at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday night.
Although the Wolf Pack will be skating tired while hosting the North Delta Devils in Whistler on Sunday, the Devils also have their hands full with the Mission IceBreakers on Saturday night, and have a longer drive to contend with on Sunday morning.
For more information, visit www.squamishwolfpack.com.
Salomon biathlon to test World Cup facilities
Participants in the third Salomon Biathlon Race series event of the season this Sunday, Feb. 8 will be doing more than getting a chance to participate in Europe's most popular winter sport. With over 140 racers in the last event on Jan. 11, Whistler Olympic Park is using the event to test the shooting range, timing, volunteers and officials in advance of a World Cup biathlon scheduled for March.
A NorAm Cup biathlon is also taking place this weekend, which is considered a warm-up event to the World Cup.
There will be two categories, elite and recreational. The elite racers will do one lap of a 4 km loop, hit the shooting range, then do another lap of a 3.3 km loop and shoot a second time before taking their last penalty laps and heading to the finish. Skiers will have to do penalty laps of a 120-metre loop for every target they mix, up to a maximum of three laps for every appearance at the shooting range.
Both skate skiers and classic skiers are welcome, of all ages and abilities.
Participants will use actual rifles supplied by Whistler Olympic Park, the West Coast Nordics, and other biathlon athletes in the corridor.
Registration gets underway at 1:15 p.m., and organizers are hoping to get underway at 2 p.m. Because of the numbers expected, and the fact that every participant must sign a waiver, organizers are asking people to show up early to sign in and to be patient.
The cost is $10 to enter, including refreshments. The Escape Route and Petzl will be co-sponsoring this event with Salomon, and giving away a few Petzl headlamps - ideal for skiers participating in Whistler Nordics Twoonie race.
For more information visit http://salomonbiathlon.blogspot.com.
Special "Try a Twoonie" race tonight
The Whistler Nordics are hosting a Try a Twoonie race tonight on a special track at Whistler Golf Club, where participants can take part for $10 including ski rentals from The Nordic Shop and your entry fee. You need to be with a member of the Whistler Nordics to get that deal. Memberships for the Whistler Nordics are available at the sign-in for $34, in which case you can enter for $2 and participate in all future events sanctioned by the Whistler Nordics and Cross Country B.C.
Registration starts at the Whistler Golf Course club house at 5:15 p.m. and the race gets underway at 6:16 p.m. It's sponsored by Salomon, Whistler Golf Club, Tourism Whistler and The Nordic Shop.
The course is a surprise, but headlamps are mandatory as it's going to be dark.
The last race, on Jan. 29, was sponsored by Murdoch + Co. Ltd., Scandinave Spa, Cross-Country Connection, Opa and Arc'Teryx, with cross-country connection supplying the gear for a classic format race. A total of 65 people took part.
In the elite men's race, members of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre - a national development program - swept the podium with Thomsen D'Hont first, Jesse Heckrodt second and Pate Neumann third.
Emily Nishikawa won the elite women's race, followed by Whistler Nordics coach Maria Lundgren, and Minttu Repo.
Birken Metza won the high school boys category, and Tachona Jones won the high school girls, followed by Nicki Murdoch and Akiko Clarke. Jack Iles won the boys race, followed by Callum McKay and Michael Murdoch.
Jennifer McTavish won the girls race, followed by Lauren Doak and Jenya Nordin.
February busy for skinny skiers
Two of the biggest events on the Whistler Nordics calendar are coming up in the next few weeks with a Coast Cup event on Feb. 14, followed by a Coast Cup hosted by the Spud Valley Nordics in Pemberton on Feb. 15, and the annual Whistler Loppet on Feb. 22.
The Feb. 14 Coast Cup is an individual start, free technique race at Whistler Olympic Park with different age groups tackling different distances. The registration deadline is Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. at www.zone4.ca.
The cost depends on your age category and whether you're a member of an accredited club like the Whistler Nordics, and ranges from $10 to $20. If you're not a member or registered FIS racer, there is an extra $5 fee for race day insurance.
Mini-Atom racers go 300 metres, atom racers 700 metres, Peewee racers 1.4 km, mini-midget racers 2.5 km, midget racers 3.3. km, juvenile racers 5 km, junior boys 6.6 km, junior girls 5 km, junior men 9.9 km, junior women 6.6 km, senior men 10 km, senior women 6.6 km, and master men and women 10 km. There are also para-nordic categories for sitting and standing racers, with courses ranging from 3.3 km to 5 km.
The Coast Cup in Pemberton on Feb. 15 is a team sprint event, with registration ranging from $4 to $15. Details at www.whistlernordics.com.
On Feb. 22 the Whistler Nordics are hosting the 31st annual Whistler Loppet in Lost Lake Park. Details are still being finalized, but there will be recreational and elite categories for adults as well as shorter racers for kids. Last year the elite athletes completed a 28.7 km course, while the recreational racers went 17.9 km.
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