Hockey season is well and truly underway with a new year meaning the mid-season madness is setting in. For all teams across the two conferences, this will mean deciding
to either readjust their tactics, experiment with new ones or continue tried and tested plays in order to see success come June.
The Vancouver Canucks, a team who face this very dilemma, sit fourth in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the NHL, having won 25 of their 47 games so far.
Going into 2020, the stakes for the postseason picks and who will make the playoffs will begin to heat up. Outlets like William Hill’s Hockey betting will be offering exciting odds for teams like the Canucks who, given their run of form, might just be a dark horse pick for anyone willing to back them.
Necessary changes made
After a poor start to the season, the Canucks found their form just before Christmas and are hoping they can continue that way in order to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. They’ve spent a significant portion of their available money to add quality and experience to the side, resulting in a notable step up in character where it matters and besting some top teams so far this season.
While the Canucks are the highest scorers in their division with 155 goals overall, it’s the individuals making the assists that are really powering the team forward and up the Pacific Division.
Quinn Hughes, who signed a contract with Vancouver in March of last year, has been an astounding surprise for NHL fans everywhere. The 20-year-old defenseman has bagged himself 27 assists in the 44 games he’s appeared in and will surely be a standout rookie to watching heading into this new decade.
Towards the end of the season, whether the Canucks make the playoffs or not, there will be important decisions to be made by manager Jim Benning. With the February trade window just around the corner, there is the question of whether older heads like Christopher Tanev, who achieved his 100th career NHL point back in October, will be traded for younger players to maximise potential in the ever-tightening cap space.
Both Canucks fans and NHL punters will be sure to keep in mind that, with almost half of the season to go, anything can happen. Vancouver is sitting pretty at the top of the West Conference Wildcard Division and despite their improved form, they may just need to rely on the wildcard opportunity for a chance at postseason.
Jim Benning has made significant progress with his time since his appointment in 2014, but the Canucks remain an unpredictable force. In the first half of the season, they won 3 out of 4 possible points against the St. Louis Blues and beat the Vegas Golden Knights, but were blitzed by the Chicago Blackhawks and blew a three-goal lead to lose to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
It’s safe to say that the Vancouver Canucks aren’t safe from faltering but given their excellent roster of players both young and experienced, they have all of the capability to continue their Christmas form and aim high for the rest of the season.
Celebrity Sledge Hockey Game at Surrey’s newest arena
Featuring Hayley Wickenheiser and the Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki
Surrey, BC – Today, over 500 fans gathered at the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex today for a celebrity sledge hockey game, hosted by Hayley Wickenheiser and Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, during Canadian Tire WickFest. Prior to the puck drop, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) announced that the new facility has achieved RHF Certified Gold, being the first arena in Canada to receive this designation.
“This certification illustrates our commitment to investing in facilities and programs that are accessible for everyone,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Today’s celebrity sledge hockey game was a great example of how sport brings people together, regardless of ability. It was fantastic to see the community come together to celebrate this significant achievement during WickFest. I want to personally thank the Rick Hansen Foundation for recognizing that Surrey is working diligently to continually improve universal access across our city.”
This year’s tournament marked WickFest’s second year in Surrey, which expanded from 800 young female athletes to 1500, as a result of the increased capacity for ice and meeting space at the new North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. The crowds cheered as Wickenheiser and local celebrities faced off in a friendly game of sledge hockey with Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, who is training to make Canada’s Para-ice hockey team for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
“WickFest is more than a hockey tournament,” said Hayley Wickenheiser. “Our vision is to develop our players for their lives on and off the ice, through workshops and unique experiences, like this celebrity sledge hockey game. I know that our young players left with a better understanding of why inclusion and accessibility in sport is so important, which will inspire more understanding throughout our communities. Surrey is certainly leading the way in accessibility, and I congratulate them in this significant achievement with the Rick Hansen Foundation.”
Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) rates sites on several criteria which look at the various needs of individuals with disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. The City of Surrey has 43 rated civic facilities, including 29 that have been RHF Accessibility Certified, and five that have achieved RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.
“Congratulations to the City of Surrey on achieving Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified Gold for the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. Sport is a mirror to how we view ourselves. Regardless of physical ability, everyone should have an opportunity to participate in sport. This is the fifth site in the City of Surrey to achieve Gold certification, and I hope it will inspire communities across the country to continue to set the bar higher!” Rick Hansen, Founder, Rick Hansen Foundation.
The City of Surrey offers a variety of adapted programs and services. Para Ice Hockey sleds and equipment are available at both the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex and North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, allowing everyone to participate in public skates and programs. The para ice hockey program is just one of the programs and services that the City of Surrey offers to make the community inclusive and accessible for everyone.
For more information on Surrey’s adapted programs, click here.
For a special video message from Rick Hansen, click here.
Nav Bhatia Visits to Promote FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Tickets
TICKETS ON SALE FOR VICTORIA FIBA OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
Team Canada to face #7 ranked Greece in opening matchup
Canada Basketball has announced that ticket packages for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2020 hosted in Victoria, B.C. that went on sale on Friday, January 31st. The tournament runs June 23 – June 28 and the winner of the tournament will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Nav Bhatia, Canada Basketball Community Ambassador and Official Toronto Raptors Superfan was in Vancouver promoting these nine- ticket packages that can be purchased online through https://selectyourtickets.com/event-pro/fiba-olympic-qualifying-tournament-2020/ or in-person at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre box office (1925 Blanshard Street, Victoria B.C).
Single game tickets will be available at a later date.
Canada will face Greece and China in Group A, while Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey have been drawn into Group B.
Each team will play the other two teams in its own group (two games for each team). The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners will advance to the winner-takes-all final for the remaining Olympic spot.
All games will be played at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre – tip-off times will be announced soon.
Nine-game ticket packages range from $270.00 CAD ($30.00 CAD per game) plus service charges to $1,350.00 CAD ($150.00 CAD per game) plus service charges. Two dollars CAD from each ticket is dedicated to the tournament’s not-for-profit legacy fund to be reinvested in the promotion of sport development, social, cultural, economic and community development enhancements in Victoria and across the Capital Region.
Canada is looking to return to the Olympics for the first time since 2000.
Detailed event information, including game times, community celebrations, and volunteer information will be announced in the coming weeks. To stay up to date with event news and information, please follow @canadabasketball on Facebook and @CanBball on Twitter.
Group A – Game 1: Greece versus Canada
Group B – Game 2: Uruguay versus Turkey
Group A – Game 3: Canada versus China
Group B – Game 4: Turkey versus Czech Republic
Group A – Game 5: China versus Greece
Group B – Game 6: Czech Republic versus Uruguay
Game 7: Semifinal game #1 (1st A versus 2nd B)
Game 8: Semifinal game #2 (1st B versus 2nd A)
Final: (Winner Game 7 versus Winner Game 8) with winner advancing to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (July 24 – August 9, 2020)
In addition to Canada (Victoria), the National Federations of Croatia (Split), Lithuania (Kaunas) and Serbia (Belgrade) will also host FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex Hosts Official Grand Opening
Surrey, BC – The North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex marked its official grand opening today, with a community event attracting over 500 guests to the state-of-the-art facility in the Bridgeview community. The celebration included free skating and rentals, access to the fitness centre, family entertainment and an artist talk with Katzie Nation artist Trenton Pierre.
“The North Surrey area of our city has long been underserved when it comes to having recreational facilities and programs close at hand,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “With the opening of this new complex, that all changes and I invite everyone to take the opportunity to visit and make full use of this state-of-the-art facility. This new complex is also an illustration of how Surrey is combining thoughtful and advanced design to ensure that our spaces provide accessibility for all ages and ability levels. The City of Surrey is continually pressing forward as one of Canada’s most accessible and livable cities, offering recreational opportunities for everyone.”
The North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex features three sheets of ice, spectatorship opportunities for large-scale events, a state-of-the-art fitness studio and weight room, outdoor activity areas, multi-purpose room programming, rentals and food services. First Nation artist Trenton Pierre’s public artwork, Guardian Spirits, wraps the building exterior, which is mirrored inside the facility from the windows of the modern fitness studio.
Accessibility features include:
- Level access to the ice from dry surface, built to para ice hockey standards
- Players boxes and penalty boxes made of clear lexan, instead of regular puck board, allowing para ice hockey players a clear view from their sledges
- Removable benches in the players boxes, allowing for para ice hockey players to remain in their sledges when off the ice
- Universal hook heights and depths of benches in dressing rooms
- Fully accessible change rooms, referee rooms, sound room, multi-purpose and fitness studios
- Fully accessible washrooms
- Vehicle drop-off area accommodates side-loading vans
Utilizing the three sheets of ice, large-scale spectatorship seating capacity and meeting rooms at the new facility, Surrey will host Olympic Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser’s WickFest Tournament from January 30 to February 2, 2020. This is the tournament’s second year in Surrey, which has now expanded from hosting 800 young female athletes to 1500, as a result of North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex’s increased capacity for ice and meeting space.
Click here for a message from Hayley Wickenheiser about WickFest 2020 at the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex.
For more information, visit surrey.ca/arenas
5 Reasons behind the Incredible Growth of the Online Casino Industry in Canada
Are you planning a visit to Canada any time soon? Maybe you have plans to relocate and settle in one of the country’s beautiful cities? If this is the case and you are an avid casino player, one of the things that come to mind is the state of online casino Canada.
The country boasts a thriving and regulated online gambling industry. The online casino industry continues growing for some reasons. This guide looks at the industry and explores the reasons behind this incredible growth.
1. Relaxed Gambling Laws
This is an important consideration now that some countries have stringent online gambling laws that make it tough for players to enjoy their favourite games. Luckily, the country has an open-minded approach to online casinos which have seen top casino brands such as LeoVegas set up shop.
Drastic changes to the gambling laws in the 1970s made it easier for casino brands to acquire approval and licensing. Players in Ontario, Alberta, British Colombia and Quebec have a diverse range of casino options such as live dealer games, online casino slots, cryptocurrency casinos, mobile casinos, among others.
2. High Internet Penetration
Close to 95% of the population in Canada has access to the internet. This is one of the highest penetration levels and has made it easy for online services such as casinos to prosper. Live casinos such as LeoVegas can offer the latest casino games, including mobile casino online versions to this large market.
This internet penetration rate has also attracted international brands to the country. The most popular online casinos now accept Canadian dollars making it easier for players to join the live casino revolution.
3. Mobile Casinos
The rise of mobile casinos has revolutionized online gambling. Most Canadians now connect to the internet using mobiles and hence mobile casinos are more convenient for them. It is easier to connect on the go and get alerts on the newest casino online games from top online casinos such as LeoVegas.
4. Live Dealer Games
One of the major technologies in the online casino industry is the advent of live dealer games. Players can now enjoy a true feel of the casino atmosphere by playing these live dealer games. Using real dealers for table games such as blackjack and roulette has converted more players to the online casinos.
Live dealer games offer a more authentic touch to the playing experience and also increase transparency. The best live casinos, including LeoVegas leverage cutting-edge technology to offer the best experience to players.
5. Innovative Casino Technology
The leading casino software developers including Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech and Real Time Gaming already provide their products to top online casinos in Canada. Players in the country have access to some of the latest game releases by these developers which have boosted interest in the industry. Players in the country can now enjoy their favorite casino activity from online casino slots, card games, video poker, live dealer games, keno to roulette, among others.
The online casino industry in Canada will continue growing in the backdrop of high internet penetration, fair and relaxed gambling laws, growing mobile technology, entry of international casino brands and software developers. This is good news for casino players in the country as they can enjoy the best live dealer games even on the go.
Golf, Gym, or Gaming? Members Clubs in Langley Explored
Being active can take many forms, from physical exercise to mental, or a combination of the two. We are fortunate in Surrey to have access to a wide range of these activities, for both beginners and experts. With that in mind, we want to cover a few of the popular choices in specialized members clubs to help residents and visitors get just a small taste of what our region has to offer.
As professional-level establishments, the clubs we’re going to cover today might be intimidating for newcomers, but don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of ways to practice for these first, to ensure you know what you’re doing before you head out.
Cascades Casino’s Players Club
Langley’s Cascades Casino’s Players Club is extremely popular for gaming enthusiasts, covering classics such as slots, poker, bingo, and table games. Before we get into the specifics, however, let’s talk about what the place has to offer.
From dining to inhouse entertainment, the Players Club offers everything you might expect from a high-end establishment. Cascade boasts some of the best entertainment in the area and also a fantastic atmosphere to enjoy some classic tabletop games and spin a few slots. Even if you’re further afield, you can still get a taste of some of the action in-between visits, with many online casino sites being easily accessible from anywhere across Canada.
As for the club itself, this can be found in the heart of downtown Langley. Boasting 70,000 square feet of gaming space, this club also features a hotel and spa, and a quality selection of dining experiences.
Members of their Encore club can expect benefits such as discounts, free brunch promotions, and other assorted bonuses across many of their establishments.
Those interested in golf should look no further than the Newlands Golf & Country Club. Located on 48th Avenue between 208th and 210th, this establishment has been offering first-class experiences since 1961. Available for dining, wedding bookings and, yes, golf, Newlands is host to both standard and tournament play.
With an Executive and Tournament course to choose from, players in this area have a fantastic place to practice their game. Just be sure to check their online tee time availability first. As a popular course, it can be necessary to book your rounds a little while in advance.
In their downtime, golfers can enjoy the Bar & Grill for dancing and live entertainment, as well as Mr A’s Patio restaurant for lunch and dinner. Dinner here includes a seafood buffet every Thursday and prime rib buffets on Fridays and Saturdays, so don’t miss out!
Newer players to the world of golf can rest easy, as Surrey also offers some prime opportunities to expand your short and long game. For a slightly more relaxed experience, we’ve had a lot of luck and fun at Hi-Knoll Driving Range & Mini-Golf.
This location at 4955 192 St boasts the biggest driving range in British Columbia and an 18-hole mini-golf course set among verdant farmlands. Great for an afternoon or much longer if you seek serious improvement, this is not an opportunity to miss.
Found at 20501 Logan Ave, Fitness Unlimited stands as one of Langley’s premier fitness gyms. Included within their premises are the newest state-of-the-art equipment and all the personal training that you could need to get started.
Even better, Fitness Unlimited offers free trials for newcomers, meaning those interested have nothing to lose. You can start here, and you’ll have everything you need to get into the best shape of your life.
This isn’t only a gym, either, as their facilities run much wider than just exercise equipment. Group fitness classes including yoga, Zumba, Bootcamp, and more come at great prices for both groups and individuals, and squash and racquetball courts are ready for active sportspeople.
The first step
The biggest leap for getting into better shape can be the most intimidating, but remember, it’s almost always smaller than you think. Once you get your foot in the door, or on the course, you’ll find staying active, both mentally and physically, to be an increasingly easy pursuit.
Of course, these are just a few examples of the activities and entertainment available around the Surrey area. Check around online or go for a drive, and your body and mind will thank you.
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