Osprey to soar again

Plans un­der­way to re­vive ma­jor midget team in the re­gion

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ma­jor midget hockey is com­ing back to the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion and be­yond.

Start­ing this sea­son, a team headed by man­ager Scott Ak­er­man and head coach By­ron Vatcher will look to give midget-aged play­ers from the Avalon, Bon­av­ista and Burin penin­su­las a game of top-end hockey.

“We just felt there was a need for a high level of hockey for th­ese play­ers to con­tinue,” Ak­er­man told The Com­pass.

Ma­jor midget hockey has had a rough go-around for the past two sea­sons. In 2011, a lack of player com­mit­ment played havoc with the team later on in the sea­son, while in 2012, the team folded a cou­ple of months into the sea­son for much of the same rea­sons.

How­ever, Ak­er­man be­lieves the ded­i­ca­tion will be there from play­ers this time around.

“I think for the next few years, that level and com­mit­ment is there from play­ers,” he noted.

This lat­est in­car­na­tion of the ma­jor midget pro­gram will take in play­ers from feeder as­so­ci­a­tions in Bay Roberts, Har­bour Grace, Whit­bourne, Pla­cen­tia, Clarenville, Bon­av­ista and Marys­town.

“We feel rea­son­ably se­cure that we can get it back on a pos­i­tive note,” said Ak­er­man.

The team, which for the past two sea­sons has been known as the Lions, has de­cided to fo­cus on the past.

This year’s in­car­na­tion of the squad will be known as the Tri-Pen Osprey. This was the name of the orig­i­nal ma­jor midget team, then known as AAA, in the re­gion.

“I spoke to some of the early play­ers that were pi­o­neers in this league, and they like the name, and we liked the name,” said Ak­er­man. “So, we stuck with that.”

The team colours and logo are still be­ing de­ter­mined.

Bay Arena

In the past, the ma­jor midget pro­gram has played the ma­jor­ity of its games in Pla­cen­tia. This year, save f or s ome games a t the Clarenvi l le Event Cen­tre, the Osprey will have the ma­jor­ity of its home games played at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.

“( Ma­jor midget) seems to be suc­cess­ful in this place,” said Ak­er­man.

Prac­tice time will be mainly at the Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia Sta­dium in Whit­bourne.

“We’ll also fit in hours here and there when we can,” said Ak­er­man.

Games usu­ally run on Satur­day nights and Sun­day morn­ings.

Big tal­ent

By­ron Vatcher will be the head coach. The team has held a num­ber of pre­lim­i­nary skates over the sum­mer, and the coach has been im­pressed by what he has seen.

“There’s a good core of kids there,” said Vatcher.

He pre­vi­ously worked with the Tri-Pen mi­nor midget team last sea­son and has ex­pe­ri­ence with most of the play­ers in the re­gion.

“There’s a real good nu­cleus of kids there, and not just this year, but also fall­ing in be­hind for years to come,” said Vatcher.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Man­ager Scott Ak­er­man (left) and head coach By­ron Vatcher are spear­head­ing the lat­est ma­jor midget team in the Tri-Pen area, the Osprey.

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