Bay Arena minor, Ceebees minor merging midget house leagues
The Bay Arena and CeeBees minor hockey association have reached an agreement to form a midget house league comprised of players from both associations.
The agreement comes after the two associations spent the summer reaching an understanding.
The two parties were forced to take a look at their oldest house league divisions after Hockey NL made the decision to not allow players in both bantam and midget to share a house league.
“We would’ve been down to two teams in midget,” said Bay Arena minor president Brian Drover.
CeeBees minor president Wendy Penney shared similar sentiment.
“Traditionally, the midget division has had lower numbers,” she said. “They don’t want to play against each other constantly, they’ll get sick of that.”
The new house league will be made up of four teams, comprised of players from each association.
It will not be a house league team from the Bay Arena versus a house league team from Harbour Grace. Each player will be thrown into a pool and selected to a team by coaches with A , B and C players being distributed evenly among the four teams.
“A team could be half-and-half from either association or three-quarters CeeBees and the rest Bay Arena,” said Penney.
Starting Oct. 25, there will be 40 games played, evenly divided between the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts and the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
The two associations have struck up a committee made up of three executives — president, vice president and house league director from each association — to handle disciplinary actions should they arise.
The league is a revival of a similar move made in 2007, when both associations operated a house league. That time the working relationship extended through all divisions, atom to midget.
Prior to that the midget divisions were combined in the both the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons for house league and all-star. In 2001, a combined midget all-star team under the Bay Arena banner captured the midget A title, which was a first for both associations at the time.
Penney, who’s two sons played house league at the Bay Arena, was on the CeeBees board at the time of the merger in 2007.
At the time, there was no clear-cut reason as to why it was stopped after just one season.
“Boards change, ideas drop and for some reason the house league dwindled away. So, we’re going to start it up again,” said Penney.
Both associations are looking at the new league as a pilot project for future endeavours. If this year is deemed to be a success, the program could expand to the lower divisions.
Drover has hopes the project could turn into something even greater than just a league between the two associations.
“Once we get some of the bugs straightened out, it could lead to other associations joining,” he said. “I’m 100 per cent confident it can work.”
It might not happen this year, or even five years down the road, but the merger could spark talk of one minor hockey association in Conception Bay North.
Neither president would call it a certainty, but it may be in the realm of possibility later down the road.
When both presidents brought the memorandum of understanding back to their respective boards, it was met with unanimous approval.
“One of the comments at the table, was that when midgets practice, they skate for five minutes and then they want to have a game,” said Penney. “We’re going to give them that game.”
One major concern for the merger is the amount of travel players from both associations, especially in Harbour Grace where the boundaries include players from as far away from as Heart’s Conent.
“It’s a challenge for the CeeBees, but we’re hoping the parents will support it … and give it a fair try,” she said. “I’m confident it will work.” Drover said the move is a welcomed one for hockey in CBN. “I think it’s positive for minor hockey and for the bay,” he said
Bay Arena minor president Brian Drover. CeeBees minor president Wendy Penney.