Ceebees’ manager excited about new league
The manager of the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars senior men’s hockey team says he is exited about the launch of a new league this fall, and says fans in the region can expect a consistently high level of hockey.
Kenny Hunt says a new league comprised of teams based in Harbour Grace, Mount Pearl and Clarenville should be good for senior hockey.
“ Will it work? We won’t know unless we try,” Hunt said.
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador ( HNL) president Jack Lee announced recently that the application from the new East Coast Senior Hockey League was approved, and it will kick off its inaugural season this fall.
Lee said there will be a new provincial format.
“ There are many challenges facing senior hockey today and we feel that the sanctioning of this new league will improve hockey in the province. The implementation of this league is an innovated, proactive and responsible approach to addressing the needs of all stakeholders in the province,” said Lee.
The new league wi l l f e a ture the Clarenville Caribous, the CeeBees and Mount Pearl Blades. All three teams have had success in recent years, and have fea- tured high calibre lineups.
The West Coast League, meanwhile, will now have defendig Herder champs Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, Deer Lake Red Wings and Corner Brook Royals.
Lee said the Avalon East League is hoping to also have at least a three team league with the Northeast Eagles, Bell Island Wave, and a third team from that area.
It’s a major shakeup in senior hockey, with the CeeBees and Blades breaking away from the Avalon East league, leaving many to wonder if the Avalon league will survive. The Caribous have also bolted from the West Coast League.
The CeeBees have won the Avalon East League championship for the past seven years, and captured the Herder Memorial Trophy three times, with its most recent in 2008.
The new format is feasible for the teams and will address issues such as the diverse geography and cost to operate senior hockey in the province, Lee explained.
The teams, leagues and provincial governing body are now working on possible interlocking play that will enhance each league for the upcoming season, with final approvals completed by September, he added.
Bill Noseworthy, the senior chair for HNL, feels the shakeup is is the right decision.
“ This was the most important decision we were faced in some time and we feel that this will address the instability of senior hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Noseworthy said.
Hunt said there are many issues to be addressed in the coming weeks, including a salary cap for players and an import rule.
Hunt also hinted that if the Avalon East league folds, the Northeast team would be welcome to join the new East Coast Senior Hockey League.