CHbLog – Inside Edge

Spooky Spice

Back in Black

The New Mexico Scorpions played two exhibition games against Amarillo and lost both 4-3, the first of which had 40 penalties. The second, a shoot-out, included 32 penalties – not the highest tally that night, but high. (Tulsa vs. OKC had the highest, with 42). The Scorpions season-opener is at home vs. the Gorillas, and then they play each other for the fourth straight time, in Amarillo.

Bets? I predict the animosity festered in the exhibition games explodes for a barn-burner of a home opener in Rio Rancho Friday, with a lot of pressure on New Mexico to get the W. Unfortunately for the more rowdy fans in Amarillo, Saturday’s game will be tame because the players will have exhausted their aggressions and the rosters will be short from game misconducts. Maybe.

If so, you heard it here first.

State of the Union

Not that it was quite cause for panic, but in case you hadn’t heard, the Professional Hockey Players Association (that now represents CHL players) went on strike just before the start of training camp. No worries – things are resolved for now. But I’ve been perusing the training camp rosters to see if i agree with the last sentence of this quote (i don’t):

PHPA executive director Larry Landon sayz:

“In the end, this is going to be good for the league, it’s going to be good for the owners, it’s going to be good for the players and the fans will embrace the fact that we have worked hard to create somewhat of a parity situation, where there’s not always three or four teams running away with the crown.”

Of course, time will tell.

Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, CaliforniaStrange… Fermentation?

Way back when, i promised to talk about Canadian wine with new Scorpions President/GM Gary Gelinas, who claims British Columbia has similar growing conditions to Napa Valley.

IE: Are you pulling my leg? Do they really grow grapes and make wine in BC?

Gelinas: There’re two microclimates in North America. One in Napa Valley and one in the Okanagan Valley, where it’s very dry and hot in the summer and cooler in the winter. There’s very little wind compared to most of Canada and very little snow compared to the northern part of Canada. The conditions are good soil and good moisture because of the Okanagan lake, so it’s ideal growing conditions.

It’s partly that and partly that in the summer it’s considered high dessert, similar to New Mexico. The weather patterns are almost identical, except BC doesn’t get the wind and storms. It’s also a very wealthy, very heavily-influenced European community. A lot of Europeans have come over and reside there. There are probably 80-100 wineries in a 40-mile radius, so it means there’s some good drinking and good vineyards to visit.

IE:  What specific cities are we talking about?

Gelinas: The Okanagan Valley consists of three major cities: Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.  Kelowna is the major metropolis. But the Valley runs from the border of the US, at Osoyoos, to an hour north of Vernon. That’s the growing region and where you find the majority of wines.

IE: Do they export?

Gelinas: They export but I’m not sure where in the US, but you can definitely buy online. Summerhill Estate and Mission Hill wineries are a couple of the bigger, more popular ones. Most wines are sold during the tours in the summer and there’s a great wine festival going on right now. People from all over the world attend.

IE: Have they won awards?

Gelinas: Three or four wineries consistently win awards. Summerhill Wineries is world-renowned for ice wines, meaning when it gets below minus-10 Celsius [~14 Fahrenheit] they pick the grapes and crush them. It’s a very sugary, dessert wine. Mission Hill Wineries is world-renowned as well. There are a couple to the south i can’t remember the names of, that win year in and year out. The region is becoming very popular from a wine connoisseur’s perspective.

IE: Which are your favorites?

Gelinas: In that region, i like the white wines and the sparkling wine from Summerhill. There’re probably four wineries that i really, really like and a variety of different wines from all those areas. Summerhill Wineries is a very good wine for the sparkling and I love the Missionhill reds. Down south near Madeira, there are two wineries that continually produce very good wines.

IE: Did you celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving Day (October 13) with wine?

Gelinas: I totally forgot until my brother in Denver wrote to me and said, “Hey, It’s Canada Day!” Because we’re so close to the home-opener with the Scorpions, we’re always busy. Maybe I’ll make it up on the US Thanksgiving and i will certainly celebrate with some wine. If i can’t find Canadian wine, I’ve been over to St Clair’s four or five times and really like that establishment and a couple of their wines.

Keep it rollin’ 

Despite the near season end, it’s hard not to keep an ear to the cycling world, with the soap opera that professional cycling continues to be….

Gossip gossip: Contador made history by winning the Vuelta (winning all three Grand Tours in a span of 14 months); stating he was somewhat misquoted about being miffed at teammate Levi Leipheimer for challenging him (only finishing 46 seconds back); and being none too eager to work with Lance. But not riding with Lance isn’t a simple option. Someone has to pony-up Contador’s salary for him to switch teams, and only certain teams could afford him.

Can you blame him? Why the hell would Contador want to work with Lance, when he could very likely be the next “Lance?”

I say Contador and Basso team up on Liquigas (which, it’s fair to say,Ivan Basso has a history of hosting accused dopers including Beltran and Hamilton, now Basso) and work together for Basso to win the Giro (he’s Italian) and Contador to challenge for the top spot at the Tour de France.

My buddy William says Contador should go to US-based team Garmin-Chipotle, which could certainly benefit from a super-duper star on an already very strong team.

It would certainly make for a thrilling 2009 Tour de France (and Giro d’Italia, now that Lance says he’ll finally take a stab at something other than the TdF).



Ever heard of an athlete named Breaux Greer? Obviously, his parents are those type parents. If Breaux is pronounced anything like Geaux, as in “Geaux Cajuns!” then his name is Bro. As in yo Bro! Duuuuude! Like, duuuuude! Yo Bra!

Anyway, he’s a javelin thrower who failed to qualify in Beijing due to recent surgery. (Nice manicure, though.)