Cheers to getting the forecast right, and then tackling the snow; Jeers to an unfortunate trend in local off-season youth hockey tournaments.
Cheers...to getting it right, then getting it gone
The days and hours leading up to Monday’s blizzard amounted to low-hanging fruit for those who love to criticize weather forecasters – the author of this editorial often among them.
First, the storm was being referred to as not just your run-of-the-mill blizzard, but an “extreme” blizzard. Travel wasn’t just going to be hazardous or dangerous, it was going to be “impossible.”
Then we woke up Monday morning, when the forecasters said we’d be greeted by up to 3 inches of new snow, just the start of a day that would be greeted by as much as 20 inches of new white stuff. But, instead, it was still around 35 degrees, and the first flakes didn’t start falling until 10 a.m.
The rest, as they say, is history. The blizzard was extreme for extended periods of time, and travel was essentially impossible in open areas and even in town if you tried to get around in a vehicle not equipped with four-wheel drive. At times, the snow fell at a heavier clip than it had in years around these parts.
Then, right on cue, local street crews got after it, and by Tuesday morning had cleared as many main roads as possible. They kept at it, until the neighborhoods were passable. Tuesday night, they started removing the newly piled snow from downtown, and they wrapped it up Wednesday.
So, good job forecasters, and good job snow-removal crews. Let’s hope you’re finished for a few months.
Jeers...to an unfortunate tradition
The official city youth hockey season wrapped up at the end of March, which means a series of weekend spring tournaments have commenced at Crookston Sports Center. They’ll likely fire up again in September in advance of the start of the official youth hockey season on Oct. 1.
There’s not a lot at stake in these age-specific tournaments. (For example, a 2000 birth-year tourney was held last weekend.) Sure, maybe there are trophies and medals to be awarded, but mostly it’s about getting the kids some extra ice time to hone their skills.
Too often, though, for too many Crookston youth players, these off-season tournaments mean they have to play against their friends and teammates from the regular season. You see, some Crookston coaches like to pick certain Crookston kids and put them on teams largely populated by players from other towns. Then, often, those teams rout the thin-rostered “Crookston” teams. Last weekend, a Crookston-only team lost a game 19-0, while three Crookston players who certainly could have given the local team a boost played on another team, coached by a Crookston coach.
How does this practice build unity or tradition, or any semblance of success in the Crookston youth hockey program? Why can’t these coaches simply get as many age-appropriate Crookston kids as possible to fill out a roster and play in these tournaments? Why isn’t anyone asking them to? Or advising them to?
The Crookston Youth Basketball Association last weekend hosted its annual gigantic and successful tournament here, and among the dozens and dozens of teams a whole bunch of Crookston kids competed on the hardcourt. Crookston kids had to play Crookston kids sometimes because that’s the way the brackets shook out, but it was full Crookston teams competing against full Crookston teams.
This unfortunate spring and fall tradition, especially when it takes place at our own showcase hockey facility, seems so unnecessary and so easy to avoid. And yet it just keeps taking place.