Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory…

by Steve, September 17th, 2007

…of the coming of the screens.

The replay screens at Portland’s old Memorial Coliseum, that is. I stopped by the ticket office this morning to pick up tickets for the Winter Hawks season opener Friday, and saw the screens with my very own eyes. The Hawks have a daunting opener against the Memorial Cup champs Vancouver, but who cares! It’s hockey season!

In other hockey news, the River City Jaguars opened their season on a high note this weekend at my home rink, sticking it to the Eugene Generals 5-2 in both games. I caught the first two periods of Saturday’s game, and the Jaguars, cellar dwellers for their first three seasons, look poised to make some noise in NorPac this year. Head coach Joakim “Swede” Falt told me last week this could be their year, and I have to agree. They’ve got a solid core of returning veterans, the cross-town rival Pioneers are gone from the league, and other teams that have dominated them are rebuilding.

I skated with some of the Jaguars at stick time last Thursday and Friday, including Slovakian defenseman Lukas Kovacsik, who survived my slash to his unprotected shin Thursday (he was standing in the crease!) and contributed a goal in Sunday’s game. This kid has an unbelievable first pass out of the zone and a hard shot. With a little more meat on his 6′ 4″ frame, I could see him moving up. I don’t know how it would work out with his visa and the Winter Hawks and their Euro import situation, but I could see him in a Hawks jersey before the season is up.

Now… fewer than five days till puck drop in the WHL… Go Hawks!