Captain frustrated by Ceebees slide
Special teams need to improve, says Delaney
The Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars headed into a pair of weekend games with the Clarenville Carbibous following what can only be described as a tumultuous period for the celebrated franchise.
First, there was the release of highly touted import forward Mike Thomas, and then longtime tender Freddie Diamond (see related story) revealed he had requested a trade from the team.
Thomas was let go, explained team officials, because of the club’s dire need to bolster its defence, and not because of his performance on the ice. In eight games with the team, Thomas, who could not be reached for commnt, had one goal and two assists and played a consistent shift.
On top of this, the Stars dropped four straight games, including back- to-back losses to the visiting Western Royals on the team’s much-anticipated opening weekend at the S. W. Moores Memrial Stadium in Harbour Grace. And headed into the weekend by making several moves in the latest player draft.
It’s was a culmination of events that had many wondering if the team was on buckling under the weight of high expectations.
But team captain and veteran forward Keith Delaney said it was too early to panic.
“I’d be lying to you if I said we weren’t frustrated … but we have to remain positive,” said Delaney, one of the team’s most consistent performers so far this season.
After a promising start that saw the CeeBees post three wins in its first four games, the team has stumbled spectacularly, and was in dire need of better results this past weekend in Clarenville (results not avail- able as of press time).
Losing the first two home games of the season were a big blow to the team, added Delaney.
“We know the season can’t be won in the first six or eight games of the season. So, we’re working on things we set out at the start of the year and we’re making progress. Unfortunately, the wins aren’t there yet,” said the captain. “We’re looking at our longterm goals and we’re trying to fix this losing streak now.”
The C e e B e e s t rave l l e d to Clarenville sitting in fourth spot in the five-team provincial senior hockey league with six points (three wins and five losses).
Delaney said special teams have been a problem, with struggles on both the power play and penalty kill.
Heading into last season, Diamond felt like he had played some of his best hockey at the senior level.
“And, then it was, we lost to Grand Falls in the Herder final, you know, and then it was like, boom that’s it,” he said.
Diamond said he was not overly frustrated with the situation, just that he was “lost in direction with his role on the team.” “It’s a hard situation to be in,” he said. There are suitors out there for the three-time Herder trophy winner with one of those being the expansion Gander Flyers, who are looking for a veteran keeper after the Flyers failed to sign Roger Kennedy when they took him in the Mount Pearl player dispersal draft. Kennedy was later traded to Clarenville.
“They’ve called me a couple of times and asked me I would be willing to play there,” he said.
Diamond believes he would be a “good fit “with the young club.
“I think I could pass a long a little bit of experience,” he said.
CeeBees head coach Corey Crocker had been in contact with Diamond about a possible move to Gander, according to the tender, but no move was ever agreed upon.
The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts have also expressed interest in the veteran keeper, but Diamond does not see that being much of a possibility due to his work commitments before December.
Regardless, Diamond still believes he has a couple of good years left on the provincial senior circuit.
“Personally, I think I can still play,” he said. “It’s too early to retire yet.”
Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars’ captain Keith Delaney carries the puck into the Western Royals zone during Newfoundland Senior Hockey League action on Nov. 11 at the S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace. The CeeBees were scheduled for games in Clarenville this past weekend, and were attempting to break a four-game slide.
Veteran CeeBees goaltender Freddie Diamond has requested a trade from the club.