GM Garry White ‘very op­ti­mistic’ about Gan­der Fly­ers re­turn

The Beacon (Gander) - - Sports - BY ADAM RANDELL Adam.randell@gan­der­bea­con

If you asked Garry White two weeks ago whether or not the Gan­der Fly­ers would be back for an­other sea­son in the Cen­tral West Se­nior Hockey Leauge (CWSHL), the an­swer would have been an “over­whelm­ing no”.

How­ever, a num­ber of things have since hap­pened that has the club’s gen­eral man­ager feel­ing “very op­ti­mistic” about the team’s re­turn.

The big­gest dif­fer­ence maker is the Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBee Stars be­ing re­moved from the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League (AESHL), as that league re­turns to a four-team for­mat.

While the Stars have reached out to Hockey NL to in­ter­vene with the Avalon East league, White says should the or­ga­ni­za­tion not be suc­cess­ful in re­join­ing that league, the CWSHL would wel­come the CeeBee Stars.

If a fourth team doesn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize, how­ever, all teams in the CWSHL– Gan­der, Grand Falls-Wind­sor and Clarenville – have agreed there wouldn’t be a three-team sea­son.

How­ever, White said, “We are con­fi­dent that they will be join­ing our league.”

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of a fourth team join­ing, the Fly­ers are pre­par­ing, and have even put out a call for vol­un­teers.

Seven to eight new peo­ple have al­ready stepped for­ward to serve on the ex­ec­u­tive, and some of the pre­vi­ous mem­bers will be re­turn­ing.

This time around things are look­ing to be dif­fer­ent, as the pre­vi­ous sea­son had a num­ber of fi­nan­cial is­sues.

To keep teams in the black, White said im­port play­ers are be­ing re­moved and salary caps will be im­ple­mented.

“Our bud­gets def­i­nitely had to come down quite dras­ti­cally,” he said. “Not bring­ing in im­ports is go­ing to cut way down on our trans­porta­tion costs.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is also lis­ten­ing to the fans.

Based on feed­back re­ceived, White said, while im­ports brought about a higher cal­iber of hockey, the fly-in, fans couldn’t rally around the “fly­out” play­ers.

He too feels lo­cals’ play­ing for their com­mu­nity in­stead of the pay­cheque is go­ing to add to the game.

“It be­comes about home­town pride,” he said. “We have three or four guys com­ing out of the ju­nior ranks look­ing to play with the team, and I think it will add to the way we play hockey and the way fans sup­port it.”

Fi­nal word

Meet­ings will be held next week to fi­nal­ize the ex­ec­u­tive for the team.

White ex­pects a de­ci­sion to be made on the fourth team within the next week to 10 days.

“If we can’t come up with a yes or no (by then), we’ll have to con­sider it a no,” he said.

FILE PHOTO

While noth­ing has been fi­nal­ized, gen­eral man­ager Garry White is op­ti­mistic the Gan­der Fly­ers will re­turn for an­other sea­son.

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