Though it ended with a heartbreaker this week, we’d like to commend the Kenai River Brown Bears junior hockey team for a great season, on and off the ice.
On the ice, the Brown Bears finished with a 29-25-6 regular season record, finishing third in the North American Hockey League’s West Division. The Brown Bears capped the campaign with the organization’s first playoff game victories since its inception in 2007.
The Brown Bears played with skill, passion and pride all season, and have developed a loyal following among central Kenai Peninsula residents.
Off the ice, the Brown Bears continue to show the same community spirit that earned them praise as the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce’s volunteer organization of the year in 2009.
The Brown Bears are a program of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation, and when they’re not skating, players spend a large portion of their time helping out around the community. From mentoring and reading to students to helping with fundraisers to participating in parades and community events, the Brown Bears have been there to lend a hand.
All around, it was a winning season in our book.
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While we’re on the subject of bears, now is a good time to remind Peninsula residents that our local population of bears is waking up from its long winter’s nap. Right now, bears are ornery, hungry, and looking for an easy meal. Take a few minutes to check around the yard and secure anything that might attract a bear. It’s time to take down bird feeders and clean up any spilled seed. Trash should be kept in bear-proof containers, and taken to the landfill or transfer station frequently so that it doesn’t pile up. Animal feed should be stored in a secure spot. And outdoor freezers need to be secured with ratchet straps or locks to prevent a bear from snagging an easy meal.
On the Kenai Peninsula, bear country begins just outside our door. The best way to prevent negative human-bear interactions is to take steps to avoid them in the first place.