‘The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less’

The Compass - - OR­THTE -

Th­ese “days of hockey,” as Ben­nett puts it, will hap­pen twice in each of the as­so­ci­a­tions.

The sea­son is sched­uled to start Nov. 18 at the Bay Arena, to be fol­lowed by a date in Corner Brook in De­cem­ber.

Gan­der Fly­ers coach Todd Bald­win called the move a “great step up in the right di­rec­tion for these kids.”

“We could only get games with three teams last year. So we went from play­ing 50 all-star games the pre­vi­ous year to 15 last year,” he said. “So, hope­fully, with this new league we are able to have more games which will keep us on par with the Tri Com league (St. John’s metro area) to bet­ter pre­pare us for the pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments in April.”

All in same boat

Imag­ine hav­ing some of the top pee­wee hockey tal­ent in the prov­ince of New­found­land and Labrador. Now, imag­ine not be­ing able to have them play the other top tal­ent reg­u­larly.

This is the sit­u­a­tion each of the as­so­ci­a­tions found them­selves in. Clarenville, Corner Brook and Gan­der be­cause of ge­og­ra­phy, and the Bay Arena due to a de­ci­sion last year to re­move the as­so­ci­a­tion from the RBC ( for­merly-Tri-Con) League in the metro area.

“We are all in the same boat,” said Ben­nett.

Last sea­son, teams got games through week­end sets. Either Gan­der would travel to the Bay Arena, or the Bay Arena would travel to the Clarenville Event Cen­tre.

This lim­ited the num­ber of games play­ers had against high-level com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s a huge step for­ward to what we had last year,” Ben­nett stated. “We’re re­ally ex­cited.”

Bring­ing peo­ple to­gether

Be­fore last win­ter, Sun­days at the Bay Arena were re­served for all­star games in all di­vi­sions. There would be no less than five games run­ning con­sec­u­tively on the ice.

“Peo­ple met at the rink,” said Ben­nett. “On Sun­days, the Bay Arena was the place to be in Bay Roberts.”

Now, Sun­days are re­served for prac­tices. No longer are there buses in the park­ing lot, peo­ple in the stands or line­ups at the can­teen.

Ben­nett is hop­ing this new league will help change that cul­ture.

“We think it’s go­ing to be great for the com­mu­nity,” he said. “Right off the bat, it’s go­ing to bring peo­ple back into our rinks. It’s go­ing to fill our restau­rants and fill our ho­tels for that mat­ter.”

Fur­ther ex­pan­sion

There are hopes that the new league could fil­ter down into the di­vi­sions above and be­low pee­wee.

Given that each di­vi­sion has been miss­ing reg­u­lar hockey since Bay Arena was evicted from the RBC League, cou­pled with the re­cent shut­down of the Tri-Pen Lions ma­jor midget team, an os­mo­sis of the new league would mean big things for all play­ers at the Bay Arena.

“The pos­si­bil­i­ties said Ben­nett.

Prior to the pieces fall­ing place for the new league, the Bay Arena con­tin­gent was pre­par­ing to par­tic­i­pate in tour­na­ments out­side of New­found­land.

Now, that num­ber has been cut, which means less time trav­el­ling dur­ing the win­ter months.

“It’s a huge re­lief,” said Ben­nett. “It’s great know­ing that we have hockey go­ing for­ward.”

are

end­less,”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Sub­mit­ted photo

ROCK­ETS WIN GOLD — The Holy Redeemer Rock­ets of Spa­niard’s Bay cap­tured the girls’ zone cham­pi­onship in slo-pitch soft­ball on Oct. 19. The tour­na­ment took place at the Spa­niard’s Bay Re­cre­ation Com­plex with four teams par­tic­i­pat­ing, in­clud­ing Amal­ga­mated Academy, Bay Roberts; St. Peter’s School, Up­per Is­land Cove; St. Fran­cis, Har­bour Grace; and the host team. The Rock­ets had a 3-1 record go­ing into the cham­pi­onship, and came out on top by de­feat­ing St. Peter’s 12-9. Mem­bers of the win­ning team in­clude: Front (l-r) — Brit­tany McCabe, Macken­zie Chip­man, Cheyenne Ryan, Mor­gan Shep­pard and Alyssa Clarke; back — Bai­ley Roberts, Jor­dyn Davis, Terri Gosse, Emily Earle, Kelsey Par­sons, Kirstin His­cock and coach Har­ring­ton.

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