CeeBees lose rivals
Southern Shore team folds; thins competition
Conception Bay CeeBee Stars coach Ian Moores says the loss of the Southern Shore Breakers will be felt by fans that have enjoyed an intense rivalry between the two teams over the last few years, but he believes the Avalon East Senior Hockey League (AESHL) will remain competitive.
League president Kevin Dicks confirmed last week in a post made to the league’s website that the Breakers would not be playing this season. Team spokesperson Ken Carter told Newfoundland sports website The SportsPage that only eight players were on hand for a “commitment skate” on Oct. 10, which led to the Breakers executive’s decision to withdraw from the league.
“I think it’s terrible news for a number of reasons,” says Moores, who is also the league’s treasurer. Aside from the fact the team has been competing for the Herder Memorial Cup for decades, he says the Breakers are the CeeBee’s biggest rivals. The CeeBees and Breakers were Avalon East finalists for the last two years, with the CeeBees needing seven games each time to knock off their worthy opponents.
“It’s just not going to be the same. There’s no doubt about it,” says Moores, who did not foresee the Breakers’ exit from the league. “I think it hurts the league overall, but it’s going to hurt our team and our fans the most, just because the rivalry is so big now.”
The loss of the Breakers from the league puts into doubt the competitive balance amongst the four remaining teams. In the 2009-10 season, the CeeBees and Breakers were the only teams with winning records. They were also
An exhibition hockey game between the Conception Bay North CeeBees senior team and a group of retired NHLers in Harbour Grace on Oct. 11 was a little more intense than expected, with the talent-laden CeeBees showing no mercy on their aging opponents.
The CeeBees and the Montreal Canadiens Alumni played before a packed house of nearly 1,400 fans at the S. W. Moores Stadium. The Alumni roster included former Habs’ standouts Stephane Richer, Claude Lemieux and Chris Nilan.
It was Game 1 of a three-game exhibition, with games Oct. 12 in Torbay and Oct. 13 in Mount Pearl.
The CeeBees — a team intent on returning to the top of Newfoundland hockey supremacy this season — was firing on all cylinders in what was supposed to be a showcase for some of the game’s big names from the past.
The CeeBees put it to their older and short-handed opponents, with the scoresheet putting the end result at 9-3 for the home side.
Speaking with Transcontinental Media later in the week, Richer and Lemieux said the CeeBees took the game a little too seriously.
“ They are a good young team, and they are proud,” Lemieux said of the defending Avalon East champs. “ We were 12 guys to their 24 ... rather short-benched, but they were flying and gave it to us pretty good.”
Added Richer: “ They wanted to beat us so bad. That wasn’t fun.”
According to the scoresheet, however, the Alumni outshot the CeeBees 45-30
At one point near the end of the second period, Richer halted the game and invited novice players from the CeeBees minor hockey association to join the Alumni on the ice for a scrimmage. It was one of the only light moments of the evening.
The former Habs said the pace of the games played in Torbay and Mount Pearl later in the week was more in keeping with the spirit of the exhibition.
“(The Mount Pearl Blades) understand it’s a show and they respect that. People want to see us score goals and make a few plays,” Richer said, adding that he thought the Blades could have easily beaten the alumni by 10 goals or more if they wanted.
CeeBees coach Ian Moores said the team was not aware of how it was supposed to treat the match prior to the puck dropping in the first period.
“Before the game, we were just in the room having some fun, having a chat, and there was no game plan. It was just to go out and have some fun. It just ended up being we scored a lot more goals than they did, and continued to skate hard into the third period.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t have a chat with management for the (Canadiens) before the game. If we had known it was only supposed to be a one-goal game, or that they were supposed to beat us, then we would’ve certainly honoured that, but we had no idea going into the game what to expect or how we were supposed to play.”
Moores said in the first period the Canadiens alumni appeared to be trying their best, adding that the CeeBees were aware of their opponent’s short bench and offered them a full line of players to complement the Canadiens’ roster.
“ Hopefully, they’re not too upset with us, and hopefully one day they’ll come back again,” he said.
CeeBees’ captain Chris Thomey led all scorers with a hat trick; Brandon Roach, Chris Sparkes, Keith Delaney, Sean Wadden, Tommy Snow and Matthew French netted singles; and Chris Crosbie and Paul Brown each picked up two helpers.
Jocelyn Lemieux, Claude Lemieux and Chris Nilan scored for the Alumni.
Meanwhile, arena manager Lorne Tucker said it was a successful night at the gate, with only a handful of tickets left unsold.
Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Compass Conception Bay CeeBee Stars coach Ian Moores is disappointed the Southern Shore Breakers will not be playing this season in the Avalon East Senior Hockey League. But Moores still expects the 2010-11 season to be a competitive one for the CeeBees.
Claude Lemieux waits to enter the ice at the S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on Oct. 11.