The De­laney dilemma

Op­pos­ing teams get dou­ble dose from North River brothers

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY ANDREWROBINSON

When Keith and Ryan De­laney, along with younger brother Bradley, used to skate on a pond be­hind their home in North River, un­der the watch­ful eye of fa­ther and oc­ca­sional coach Ron De­laney, it was one of the few chances they had as kids to play hockey to­gether.

Sep­a­rated in age by three years, the pair played at dif­fer­ent lev­els through­out their mi­nor hockey ca­reers at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts. Keith even­tu­ally left the is­land to play ju­nior and later univer­sity hockey, while Ryan fol­lowed him to On­tario a few years later, play­ing one game with his brother’s Toronto St. Michael’s Ma­jors in the OHL. Ryan also spent two sea­sons play­ing in leagues just be­low the OHL.

But since the end of Keith’s univer­sity ca­reer, the De­laneys have been in­sep­a­ra­ble. They’ve been to­gether for parts of five sea­sons with the Con­cep­tion Bay North Cee­Bee Stars, and last year suited up for the Grand Fall­sWind­sor Cataracts in the West Coast Se­nior Hockey League.

“ It’s not some­thing we sat down and talked about, say­ing we were al­ways go­ing to play to­gether. Next year or the year af­ter, we could go our sep­a­rate ways, but for now, it’s just worked out that way,” says Ryan, who cen­tres a po­tent line for the CeeBees with wingers Matthew Thomey and Chris Sparkes.

Thus far, it has been a bless­ing for the CeeBees to have the De­laney brothers as a pair. They cen­tre the Stars’ top two lines, and both fin­ished — 28 — Cen­tre — six-feet, two inches — 190 pounds

— Detroit Red • • • • • Wings • • Herder win in 2006 • — Keith De­laney, Chris Sparkes, Matthew Thomey, Neil Cleary, Mitchell Oake, Sean Wad­den • North River and St. John’s • — Ron De­laney • — Fleet­wood Mac • Monte Cristo • • and down­hill ski­ing • en al­fredo • — bi­ogra­phies (cur­rently read­ing Theo Fleury’s “Play­ing With Fire”) —Pavel Dat­syuk

— first

— The Count of — Dex­ter

— golf

— chick- in the top-six for reg­u­lar sea­son points on the team.

Though they play the same for­ward po­si­tion, each De­laney has his own style of play. Ryan de­scribes him­self as more of a dump-and-chase player, while char­ac­ter­iz­ing Keith as the brother more likely to en­ter the of­fen­sive zone and han­dle de­fend­ers through shear strength.

Though each player is six-feet, two inches tall, Keith holds a size ad­van­tage. On the league web­site, his weight is listed as 212 pounds — 20 pounds heav­ier than Ryan.

“Keith’s a lot big­ger than me and stronger than me on the puck,” says Ryan. “I don’t think you’d call it a grind­ing roll as such, but I’m more of a get the puck in the cor­ner, cy­cle-cy­cle type of player, and set up some­one in the slot.”

Aside from play­ing se­nior hockey to­gether, the De­laney brothers also both have ed­u­ca­tional as­pi­ra­tions. Keith is a teacher at Amal­ga­mated Academy in Bay Roberts, and Ryan is tak­ing ed­u­ca­tion at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity af­ter hav­ing com­pleted a pe­tro­leum-en­gi­neer­ing di­ploma at Col­lege of the North At­lantic. He hopes to teach pri­mary-el­e­men­tary, and is work­ing on his French lan­guage skills to ex­pand his op­por­tu­ni­ties for em­ploy­ment.

They have won five Herder ti­tles be­tween them, and this year they will look to make it seven, as the Cee­Bee Stars con­tinue to make its way through the play­offs. Game four of its roundrobin se­ries against the Bell Is­land Blues is sched­uled to take place Feb. 23.

Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing in both the Avalon and west coast leagues, Ryan says there is stronger par­ity amongst the teams in Deer Lake, Cor­ner Brook, Grand Falls-Wind­sor and Clarenville.

That par­ity was ev­i­dent in the reg­u­lar sea­son records this year for those teams, as the first and fourth seeds were sep­a­rated by only six wins. In the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League, the dif- fer­ence was 18 from first to fourth and 11 from first to third.

“ The spread in the points was so close that all the reg­u­lar sea­son games were re­ally im­por­tant (in the west coast league),” says Ryan of last years ex­pe­ri­ence with the Cataracts.

“I think this year, though, the top teams in the east are just as com­pet­i­tive as the top teams in the west.”

Last year’s Cataracts team was a young, fast group, ac­cord­ing to Ryan. The team is the topseed this year in the west coast, and though he has not watched any games him­self, Ryan says he has heard from oth­ers that the Cataracts are small in stature but have added more speed to its lineup.

“I talked to a few play­ers from Cor­ner Brook and Deer Lake, and they said Grand Falls keeps com­ing at you and com­ing at you.”

Ryan is only now re­turn­ing to 100 per cent af­ter Mount Pearl Blades for­ward Colin Power came at him with a hard hit in the last reg­u­lar sea­son game be­tween the top two teams from the east.

“I was skat­ing this morn­ing (Feb. 17) at Twin Rinks (in St. John’s), and this is the first week I’m able to shoot the puck com­fort­ably with­out any pain.”

As­sum­ing the Cee­Bee Stars de­feat Bell Is­land, Ryan says the most im­por­tant thing for the team to have play­off suc­cess is to stay healthy. The CeeBees are still deal­ing with in­juries to Shane Gam­berg, Daniel Sparkes, Chad Parsons and Chris Bartlett.

“The key for us is to get ev­ery­one back healthy and in game shape.”

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