Hodge: Interior Awards judging job is music to this columnist’s ears

Oh man, do I have a lot of hard choices ahead of me. Great fun, but tough choices.

Oh man, do I have a lot of hard choices ahead of me. Great fun, but tough choices.

I’m honoured to once again be a judge for the B.C. Interior Music Awards.

The recent nomination process by music fans resulted in 428 nominations in 25 categories from across the Interior. A panel of industry professionals will now choose the top three artists in each category. We have until March 19.

On my desk, I have 46 CDs to listen to and so far, the stack of songs has been superb. (Apparently, there are more on the way.)

I am constantly amazed at the amount, and variety, of musical talent our province has.

The winner in each category will be chosen by a second panel of judges and announced at the awards show on April 23 at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

It’s going to be a tremendous night, so mark it on your calendar. (Do it now or you will forget later).

Among the ten categories I’m judging are: Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Video, Producer, and Engineers of the Year, Country/Bluegrass Recording of the Year, Folk/Traditional Recording of the Year, Gospel/Christian Recording of the Year, Roots/World recording of the Year, and Album Design.

I just had my first glance at the lengthy and talented lists of nominees in each category and it’s somewhat boggling. Top three? Yikes.

Stay tuned.

•••

Speaking of local musical talent, one of the talented acts up for awards are Chloe and Kyle Davidson.

This dynamic duo is holding a CD release concert on Monday night, March 14, at 7 p.m. in the Minstrel Cafe.

These kids are tremendous players and fine people.

I suggest you call ahead and make a reservation if you can.

Around the World in 60 Minutes is a good CD featuring some fine global fiddle fusion, from Celtic to Cajun.

Check them out.

•••

I’m dangerously pushing the border on getting tagged a sports writer again.

But I must comment on the latest furor out of the NHL this week—the controversial hit by Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara on Montreal Canadien Max Pacioretty.

The towering (6’7”) Boston player hit Pacioretty into the boards at the exact point where the player’s bench ends and the glass barricade separating fans and the ice begins.

Pacioretty’s head violently struck the divider, or turnbuckle, resulting in a broken vertebrae in his neck or back and a concussion.

It was a difficult hit to watch and I can only imagine the pain it caused the Montreal forward.

He is out of the hospital now and expected to be able to play again in the future.

I’m totally surprised such a serious injury has not taken place before.

But the real issue here is the design of arenas.

Due to the absence of glass located at the players benches the potential for such an impact is obvious—and has often been debated.

If adequate foam padding or some other protective material were in place, the injury potential to players would be substantially reduced.

It seems everyone is calling for Chara’s head, including Quebec police who are even considering charges over the incident. Get a grip, folks.

The NHL itself did not see the hit as dirty or an intentional attempt to injure and no suspension was given to Chara.

I’ve watched the hit a number of times and do not believe it was intentional either, or a reckless hit.

It was a very quick hit and not calculated to drive Pacioretty into the turnbuckle.

Chara is one of the largest men in the game and does not need to play dirty to be effective.

He’s not known for taking cheap shots.

Clearly the NHL has major issues to deal with regarding shots to the head and have finally started to crack down on such hits.

This year a total of 17 suspensions have been handed to players resulting in 65 game suspends.

In the case of this hit, however, I do not believe the intent to injure was there.

What the NHL needs to do immediately is make changes to the turnbuckle areas of all rinks, and then consider, during the offseason, options on changes to the design or player-change rules.

There is a lot of anger regarding head shots – and rightfully so.

But Zdeno Chara should not pay the price of bad NHL planning and safety issues long ignored by the league.

Charlie Hodge is Kelowna freelance writer.

hodgepodge2 @shaw.ca