Home­grown hockey op­tions

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

When the cal­en­dar turns to Septem­ber, that means its time to turn one’s at­ten­tion to sports other than base­ball, soc­cer and Cana­dian football.

That means sports like bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball and hockey, the king of all sports in these parts, will start to draw the at­ten­tion of the pub­lic. Well, in the school ranks. On the pro­fes­sional side, vol­ley­ball would be dropped in favour of the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and Na­tional Hockey League.

How­ever, one of those two is in dan­ger of for­feit­ing its sea­son. That would be the NHL. Both sides are deal­ing with is­sues that were preva­lent in 2005 when the pro­fes­sional hockey league be­came the first North Amer­i­can pro league to lose a full sea­son to a work stop­page.

Things like rev­enue shar­ing and is­sues around guar­an­teed con­tracts are rear­ing their ugly heads once again. What does this mean? There is a good chance there may be an­other work stop­page and who knows for how long. Pos­si­bly an­other year will be lost.

You may ask why I am telling you some­thing you may al­ready know and is not ex­actly a lo­cal is­sue.

What I’m say­ing is for­get the pros.

If those well-paid fel­las — the league min­i­mum is $525,000 — are go­ing to squab­ble over the same garbage from six years ago, let them. There’s cer­tainly enough good hockey in the Bay to keep any hock­eystarved pa­tron oc­cu­pied. Most of it won’t break the bank, ei­ther.

For starters, there’s the Con­cep­tion Bay North CeeBee Stars, one of the re­gions se­nior hockey teams.

Af­ter an in­au­gu­ral sea­son in the New­found­land Se­nior Hockey League that saw the Cee­Bees scratch and claw its way to a play­off berth, the club is primed to re­turn to promi­nence in the provincewide league.

This year the Gan­der Fly­ers are the new kids on the block and are just one more rea­son to come out to S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace and en­joy some se­nior hockey ac­tion.

Up the bay, Bay Roberts is get­ting ready to ice a se­nior team in the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League.

Play­ing out of the Bay Arena, the as-yet-un­named team is just an­other op­tion for the hockey fan.

The team will be play­ing for both the AESHL ti­tle as well as the Herder Memo­rial Tro­phy as the prov­ince’s best se­nior team.

If that does not tickle your fancy, per­haps you’d be both­ered to check out some of the best play­ers out­side of se­nior hockey.

The Bay Roberts over-19 recre­ational league plays out of the Bay Arena and fea­tures for­mer se­nior hockey play­ers, for­mer ma­jor ju­nior play­ers and the best of the rest.

It is well worth your dime. Wait a minute, it’s free.

Don’t for­get about ju­nior hockey.

The area fea­tures two clubs, the CBN Ju­nior Stars and the Whit­bourne Ju­nior Fly­ers. The Ju­nior Stars are re­build­ing and will push for a play­off spot, while the Fly­ers will be re­turn­ing a strong club, mi­nus Dar­rin Wilkins, who signed with the Gan­der Fly­ers two weeks ago. An­other ex­cel­lent op­tion? Ma­jor midget also re­turns to the Bay Arena, as Rod Nose­wor­thy brings the troops from Pla­cen­tia, where they played their home games last sea­son. Here’s hop­ing he gets enough play­ers.

So, there are plenty of op­tions for the hockey fan who is faced with the pos­si­bil­ity of a work stop­page.

Of course, lock­out or not, you SHOULD try to get out to as many lo­cal games as pos­si­ble. It’s a good prod­uct and are made up of faces you see ev­ery­day in your community. Pro­fes­sion­als are just faces on a tele­vi­sion who play for them­selves.

Our hockey heroes play for community and the fans in the stands. Sup­port them.

A pro­vin­cial mock­ery

team and by ex­ten­sion the as­so­ci­a­tion, would be granted ac­cess to the league.

Why the as­so­ci­a­tion? Well, the atom A team beat all com­ers for the atom A division crown. I think that garn­ers at least an­other look at en­try, but from what I’ve been told, it’s not even on the ta­ble.

The de­ci­sion mak­ers in St. John’s, who are no doubt pe­rus­ing over their hockey land­scape from an ivory tower with blin­ders on rob­bing them of vi­sion out­side of the over­pass, are rob­bing these young ath­letes the right to test their skills against the best com­pe­ti­tion they can find in this prov­ince.

The fact that the team left the prov­ince and won one of the more pres­ti­gious pee­wee tour­na­ments in the coun­try, as well as dom­i­nated the St. John’s teams, should be enough to get the team in.

If you’ve proven your­self to be one of the top teams, if not the top team, then you get to play in the top league.

End of dis­cus­sion.

Ma­jor midget also re­turns to the Bay Arena, as Rod Nose­wor­thy brings the troops from Pla­cen­tia, where they played their home games last sea­son. Here’s hop­ing he gets enough

play­ers.

It’s a crime when the best pee­wee team in the prov­ince is un­able to play in the sup­posed top league.

It hap­pened last year when the Bay Arena pee­wee A team was de­nied ac­cess to the RBC League in St. John’s. Also, de­nied ac­cess were the atom and ban­tam teams.

What did that team do? Go out and cap­ture the A division ti­tle, dec­i­mat­ing all of those teams that par­tic­i­pated in the RBC league.

You would think that with this level of suc­cess, the Ni­cholas Mercr is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He re­sides in Bay Roberts and can be reached at the fol­low­ing email:

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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