Relations between Beaver Valley and Trail hockey teams reach all-time low, BC Hockey to investigate Saturday’s incident

first_imgThere have been some serious trust issues brewing between the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and Trail Smoke Eaters of the B.C. Hockey League for some time.Those issues reached an all-time low Saturday (January 5) outside the Cominco Arena when Hawks coach Terry Jones, along with Beaver Valley players, stood in front of Smokies’ bus to protest the suspension of forward Ryan Edwards.“Let’s look at the facts . . . how is it putting kids at risk by having them stand in front of a parked bus,” Jones said in a prepared statement when contacted for his side of the story by The Nelson Daily.The Nelson Daily contacted Jones for a phone interview, but the Nitehawk skipper wanted to let a prepared statement tell his side of the story.“The Smoke Eaters put these kids at risk by instructing the bus driver to drive through them and the players walked out of the way when the bus moves,” Jones added. “The same thing would happen in any parking lot.”Trail coach Bill Birks sees the incident in a totally opposite light.“The thing that appalls me is how he can put his kids in that situation. . .. It was bizarre,” Birks said Tuesday from the Smokies team office.“If someone had told me this story I would have told them they’re full of s – – t. To actually see it and witness it was mindboggling.”The Nelson Daily has pieced together background leading up to Saturday’s protest.The situation began in December when Trail native and former Nitehawk Ryan Edwards walked out on the Smokies after playing 16 games with the BCHL franchise.Edwards texted coach Birks of his decision.A new rule put into affect this season by B.C. Hockey League governors allowed teams to suspend players going AWOL.While not agreeing with the new BCHL ruling, Jones and the Hawks, where Edwards wanted to return to play, lived with the decision.However, Jones thought the suspension should end 30 calendar days after Edwards went onto the inactive list and not from December 6 to January 6.Wanting Edwards back on the ice to play in two key home games last weekend — Saturday against Kimberley and Sunday versus Revelstoke — Jones went the Smokies coaching office to discuss the matter with Birks before the team was to leave Saturday for a game in Merritt against the Centennials.Both Jones and Birks got into a heated discussion to which the Trail bench boss said Edwards would come of the suspended list Sunday.Jones said he went out onto the street and saw his players, who just happened to be walking by during their team walk from Gyro Park. Jones and his players stood in front of the Smokies’ team bus outside the Cominco Arena in support of Edwards preventing it from leaving.The driver of the bus inched forward causing some of the players to stand aside. Birtks said Jones and a few other Hawk players continued to press  their backs and shoulders against the front of the bus for an additional 10 feet until the players stood aside.Jones continued for another 30 feet until finally allowing the Smokies to proceed.“Let’s look at what the real issue is here before we address the fact that the Smoke Eaters are trying to deflect from the main issue,” Jones explained.“The issue is suspending kids for not wanting to play for the Smoke Eaters.  Ryan served his 30-day suspension and deserved to be able to play on Saturday and Sunday.“For spite (Trail) refused to simply push a button on a computer and made this suspension go for two games longer.”Understandable, Birks sees this differently.“It was brutal,” Birks exclaimed, adding Edwards would be released from the suspended list in 24-hours.“Four of five locals on the (Smokies) know all these kids and go to school with them, grew up with them . . . it put them in a pretty awkward situation. They go to school and (Terry Jones) is a teacher (at J. Lloyd Crowe High School). . .. It’s not a good thing.”Jones said Edwards, who had three goals and six assists before leaving Trail, is now signed with the Hawks.The former 95-point center will be in the lineup when Beaver Valley travels to Spokane to meet the Braves Saturday.Birks said B.C. Hockey has been advised of the incident, however, at the time of interview Tuesday Jones told The Nelson Daily he had not been contacted by anyone.The Nelson Daily contacted KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen for comment regarding the incident but Ohlhausen said the matter was in the hands of BC Hockey.Regardless of how mediators handle the situation, Birks said he’s washed his hands of Jones and the Nitehawks.“As far as I’m concerned there’s no more contact between the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Trail Smoke Eaters,” he confessed.“I’ve got other guys in (KIJHL) Frank (Maida) in Nelson and Steve (Junker) in Castlegar that I ask for kids to come play when we’re banged up and there’s never a question.””That’s why they’re there and that’s why I’m here,” Birks added.”If a kid wants to move onto the WHL . . . Selkirk College, whatever that’s why we’re here to get kids on to the next level as quick as we could.”For Terry Jones, he honestly believes he’s righted a wrong.“A good defense is always a good attack,” he said in closing his statement.“Attacking my actions and that of the Nitehawks is simply a smokescreen deflecting from the reality.  Ryan Edwards was treated unfairly by the Smoke Eaters and I wanted to bring attention to that fact. . .. I have succeeded in this.”last_img

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