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Brian Keller’s name popped up on social media recently. He’s the equipment manager for the Camrose Bruins of the senior North Central Hockey League. Brian has lots of experience, as he played a similar role for many seasons with the Slave Lake Winterhawks.

It’s funny it should come up now, because just a couple of weeks ago we were chatting with a young fellow at a hockey game in Slave Lake who turned out to be Brian’s nephew. ‘Nobody loves hockey more than Brian,’ he said.

Driving back from Kinuso on Jan. 27 after checking out the ladies’ bonspiel, we noticed a plume of smoke way up on the northeastern shore of Lesser Slave Lake. It seemed a bit mysterious, but now we think we have it figured out. Brush pile burning was going on in and around Marten Beach that day, part of the community’s ongoing FireSmart program. Many of these would have been collected during the annual Fire Smart Community Clean-up Day, that happened in August.

Usually, Forestry personnel come out during the winter and supervise the burning of the piles.

The program has been going on for several years, and as a result, there’s a lot less fuel for a wildfire, if one should happen to creep into the hamlet (or blow in).

Speaking of Marten Beach, that’s where the North Shore Trail begins, and the group that is improving and maintaining that section of the Trans Canada Trail has a winter trail clean-up day scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24. It goes from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It’ll be mostly clearing blowdown off the trail.

A lot of people are getting tensed right up on Oiler Game Days, and not enjoying watching the games as much as they might be if the team wasn’t in danger of ending their fabulous winning streak. That’s one weird outcome of all that success that probably nobody anticipated.

As this was written, the streak was at 16 games, and the all star break was interfering. Their next game was on the day this paper comes out, Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the streak continues. But if it doesn’t (or rather when it does end) Oilers’ fans can breathe a big sigh of relief and get back to enjoying the games in the normal way.

Mind you, any fan will take continued winning – despite the game day stress – over the 10 losses in their first dozen games debacle at the start of the season. Since then they’ve gone 27 – 6.

Someone called The Leader last week to ask for MLA Scott Sinclair’s constituency office. She wanted to thank him for being an advocate on making sure Hwy. 88 is redone properly. The number is 825-219-1000, in case anyone else needs it.

We forgot to mention in the article about food banks, that the one at the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre also helped wildfire evacuees in 2023. In May, Slave Lake hosted evacuees from Whitefish Lake First Nation. In late-June and early-July, some evacuees from Little Buffalo in Lubicon Lake came to Slave Lake. In August, the Friendship Centre also helped evacuees from the Northwest Territories who were staying in town.

Slave Lake Minor Baseball’s spring camp registration is open. The camp is one day a week from March 4 to April 24. The registration deadline is February 28. For the form email,

Chad Dupuis, from Slave Lake, has been published on CBC First Person. His article called ‘I’d become complacent about wildlife working in parks – until a predator stole my supper’ is on Dupuis is a member of the Slave Lake Writers’ Group. In the fall, CBC held two writing workshops in Slave Lake as part of a community engagement event at the Slave Lake Library.

The weather wizards at the coffee shop early on Jan. 30 were talking about 100 kph wind gusts on the way. Outside it was dead calm. Not long after…boom! The chinook arrived with a lot of noise and heavy rain, making believers out of the coffee shop skeptics.

Meanwhile, we hear there are 26 inches of ice on Lesser Slave Lake.

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