HOPING FOR THE BEST
Glace Bay Panthers appealing for school hockey to resume
Panthers players not giving up on season.
Devastated high school hockey players have one goal, to get the game back on the ice.
“As soon as we found out last year that we were going to be hosting the provincials this year we’ve all been looking forward to it,” said Logan Bresowar, a Grade 12 student at Glace Bay High School and a member of the Panthers hockey team.
Bresowar said when the teachers’ work-to-rule job action began across the province Dec. 5 the players panicked.
The job action resulted in the cancellation of all school sports. And although a contract has been imposed on the teachers, on Wednesday the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation officially cancelled regional and provincial championships in six school sports including hockey.
In a story in the Cape Breton Post Thursday, the federation’s executive director Stephen Gallant said the decision was made because as winter sports wind down other sports start up creating an overlap among athletes, coaches, volunteers and school administrators.
As well he said many coaches and players became involved in the Hockey Nova Scotia Midget X League that was established for high school players.
Bresowar said although the players enjoy the X league it’s not the same as high school hockey.
“It didn’t mean as much as high school means to all of us.”
He said the players are crushed and are appealing to the NSSAF and school administration to reverse the decision.
“A chance to host and possibly win (the championship in) our last year would be amazing.”
The Panthers were scheduled to host the provincials at the Bayplex March 30-April 2, for the first time in the 16-year history of the school.
On Friday, members of the Panthers took letters appealing for reconsideration of the decision to school administration and the NSSAF.
Vice-principal Stephen MacNeil said the doors are always open to the students and he praised the passion of the team members.
“I think that’s great initiative on their part.”
Team goalie Kaine Drake is upset that they had the Panthers Classic tournament cancelled and now the provincials.
“I feel it’s taken away from us and the community.’
In his letter, Drake asked officials to rethink the 2017 provincial hockey tournament.
“I along with my teammates and our fans beg you to reconsider,” he wrote. “I wear my Panther jersey with pride and I feel a great personal loss since it has been taken from me.
“I stand by the teachers and appreciate that you are fighting for a better future for all students. But please don’t take away any more of my grad experiences.”
Panthers captain Conner Campbell said cancellation of the provincials was a devastating blow to the team.
“It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow,” he said. “Everybody was looking forward to it.”
Campbell said he joined the Panthers in Grade 10.
“I became close to the coach and since then we talked about building the team for this year to host and hopefully win provincials,” he said.
“The midget league is still fun and we’re still playing but it doesn’t mean as much as a high school team would. “
Forward Nathan Livingston said the provincials are important to him because it brings not only the school together but also the community.
“We have a town that always supports our local sports and there has been a lot of talk of how Glace Bay High was hosting this year. This is something our team has been waiting for to represent our school and host the province’s top high school hockey players.”
The Post contacted the NSSAF on Friday to see if the decision could be reversed but no response was received.
Members of the Glace Bay High School Panthers, from left, Kaine Drake, Logan Bresowar and Connor Campbell stand by the entrance to the high school on Reserve Street, Friday. The hockey players are holding letters they have written to school administration and the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation, appealing for high school hockey to be reinstated.