CeeBees an Al­lan key

Ten play­ers suit up to help Cari­bous claim Al­lan Cup

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON

Last year, op­pos­ing teams dom­i­nated the Clarenville Cari­bous at the Al­lan Cup, Canada’s na­tional ama­teur cham­pi­onship for se­nior hockey. Three games, three losses, and none of them close.

This year, 10 re­in­force­ments from the 2010-11 Con­cep­tion Bay North East­link Cee­Bee Stars were added to the lineup, and the re­sult was a his­tory mak­ing per­for­mance.

For the first time in 25 years, a team from New­found­land and Labrador has claimed the Al­lan Cup. The last team to ac­com­plish that feat was the Cor­ner Brook Roy­als in 1986. It’s the sec­ond win ever for a team from this prov­ince in the Al­lan Cup’s 103-year his­tory.

“ When­ever you get to rep­re­sent your prov­ince and come back with a cham­pi­onship, it’s al­ways spe­cial,” said Bran­don Roach of Bay Roberts, one of the Cee­Bee Stars who made the trip to Kenora, Ont. “ The feel­ing is un­be­liev­able.”

The Cari­bous — also re­ferred to as the Car­iBees or CeeBous by lo­cal hockey en­thu­si­asts — de­feated the Bent­ley Gen­er­als 5-3 on April 16 to claim the ti­tle. Brian Sut­ter, a for­mer NHL player and coach who’s a mem­ber of the famed Sut­ter clan in hockey, coached the Gen­er­als. His lineup in­cluded some ex-NH­Lers, such as Dar­ren Van Impe, Kevin Smyth, and Dar­ren LaPlante.

It’s now two years in a row with a na­tional cham­pi­onship for Cee­Bee Stars cen­tre­man Scott Bro­phy, who fin­ished his Cana­dian in­ter­col­le­giate ca­reer in 2010 by help­ing the St. Mary’s Huskies win a na­tional ti­tle in hockey.

“ This is pretty spe­cial,” Bro­phy told The Tele­gram’s Robin Short. “It ranks right up there with the CIS cham­pi­onship, def­i­nitely, be­cause this is the high­est level of hockey I can com­pete in at this point of my ca­reer.”

Roach was deal­ing with back trou­bles through­out the pro­vin­cial se­nior hockey play­offs. He com­mit­ted to join­ing the Cari­bous for the Al­lan Cup ear­lier this year, and for­tu­nately for them, his back held up just fine through the team’s four games.

The Clarenville team looked good on pa­per, but with forces from the CeeBees and Cari­bous com­ing to­gether so quickly, Roach said it was hard to know what to ex­pect at the tour­na­ment.

But af­ter round-robin play, the Cari­bous quickly built up its con­fi­dence, earn­ing wins in each of its two games.

“Guys just clicked right from Day 1,” said Roach. “Ev­ery­one is a pretty level-headed guy, which makes ev­ery­thing a lot eas­ier.”

Roach had fa­mil­iar part­ners to play with on de­fence through­out the tour­na­ment. He was paired with fel­low Cee­Bee Matthew French for the first game, and he spent the rest of the Al­lan Cup matched with David Vic­tor, a for­mer team­mate of Roach’s at Aca­dia Univer­sity. Vic­tor was un­able to play in the Cari­bous’ first game be­cause his equip­ment bag had yet to ar­rive.

Ev­ery team was built to com­pete from the first line to the fourth, ac­cord­ing to Roach, but the Cari­bous never felt over­matched.

The cham­pi­ons never fell be­hind in the fi­nal against Bent­ley, but the Gen­er­als did man­age to out­shoot the Cari­bous 42-23. The shot count in the sec­ond pe­riod alone was 25-8 in favour of the Gen­er­als.

“I guess we have to take our hats off for (goalie) Ja­son Churchill,” said Roach. “He’s a big goalie, and I’ve played with him from atom right on up. He’s al­ways been a star goalie.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, Roach said the team man­aged to block a lot of shots and pre­vent the Gen­er­als from hav­ing in-close scor­ing chances.

The op­por­tu­nity for so many Cee­Bee Stars to suit up for the Cari­bous may be viewed as a po­ten­tial test drive for play­ers look­ing to jump to an­other team next sea­son. But Roach said the play­ers were look­ing at it as a one-off pro­posal.

“ The guys weren’t look­ing to jump teams or jump ship — noth­ing like that.”

That said, Roach is still con­sid­er­ing his op­tions for next sea­son. The rookie of the year for the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League said he’s un­de­cided about his own plans for the fall.

“I’d say once Au­gust roles around and (the sea­son) gets closer, I’ll talk to some peo­ple. Maybe there’ll be some of­fers on the ta­ble that could change things. Maybe I’ll still be around with the CeeBees. That’s not some­thing I’m too wor­ried about right now. I’ll just en­joy the sum­mer and look for­ward to what­ever next sea­son may bring. I could be any­where, I guess.”

Photo by Rob Cran­dall/Al­lan Cup

The Clarenville Cari­bous won the Al­lan Cup by de­feat­ing the Bent­ley Gen­er­als 5-3 on April 16. The Cari­bous were aided by 10 Con­cep­tion Bay North Cee­Bee Stars play­ers who joined the Clarenville team at the na­tional se­nior hockey tour­na­ment.

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