Captain of the Revelstoke Grizzlies, the best defenceman in his division last year and KIJHL All Star. Now Reid Blinkhorn can add linesman to his resume.
Blinkhorn, the Grizzlies star 20-year-old defenceman, was pressed into service on Saturday when no referees were assigned to the game against the Sicamous Eagles. Local ref Jon Dandie was called up and Blinkhorn and Eagles’ captain Brad Robinson acted as linesmen.
According to coach Randy Quakenbush, the move isn’t unprecedented. In fact, it happened to him once when he was captain of his junior team many years ago.
He said it’s an old hockey rule that goes back ages and when the teams realized there were no refs, they consulted with the league and found out that the two captains would indeed be asked to officiate.
“They expected our captain to both oblige and perform those roles,” said Quakenbush. “It’s not unheard of but it’s extremely rare. It’s been 40 years since I’ve seen it invoked.
“I thought it was as fair a situation as could happen.”
Revelstoke won both of its games on the weekend, defeating the lowly Columbia Valley Rockies 8-2 in Invermere on Friday and Sicamous 7-1 at home on Saturday.
Friday’s game saw Revelstoke roar out of the gate, with a goal by Jordan Bledsoe less than two minutes in. He scored again about four minutes later and Darnel St. Pierre made it 3-0 before the period was half-way over.
After that, the team cruised to an 8-2 victory but Quakenbush said he still wasn’t entirely with the team’s play.
“We didn’t play up to our potential,” he said. “We played down to their level although we scored some goals – we were a little bit disorganized.”
On Saturday, the team held a meeting before its game against division rivals Sicamous. Quakenbush said he wanted to get the message across that the team “battled consistently regardless of what the score was or regardless of where the opposition is in the standings.”
The team responded by scoring four goals in the first period and outshooting the Eagles 49-38 for a 7-1 win.
The offence was led this weekend by the new line of Michael Roberts, Jordan Bledsoe and Marc Letourneau, who combined for seven goals and 10 assists over the weekend. Roberts had a hat-trick in Saturday’s game.
“They just seemed to have some great chemistry right away, moved the puck well and played at the same speed, which seemed to create a lot of openings for them,” Quakenbush said.
Saturday’s game also saw Braden Seyl play his first game with the team this season. The 6’3” Revelstoke native provided the defence with some additional size and picked up an assist in his home debut.
“He’s a physical presence and he moves the puck well, he contributed at both ends of the ice. It’s going to be a definite step forward for us,” said Quakenbush.
The team also resolved its goalie situation over the weekend, going with Conrad Macmillan on Friday and Ethan Wood on Saturday. The third goalie Robert Kennedy was sent to a Junior A team.
This weekend Revelstoke Grizzlies host the Penticton Lakers on Friday before heading to Chase to take on the winless Heat on Saturday.
“Penticton is definitely a formidable foe,” Quakenbush said. “They’ve improved and they’re well coached and it should be a very good game.”