Ceebees’ man­ager ex­cited about new league

The Compass - - ORTHTE -

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.

In­ter­lock­ing play

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.

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