A mi­nor re­align­ment

HNL ex­plor­ing a re­vised map for as­so­ci­a­tions

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

In a cou­ple of years, or­ga­ni­za­tional bound­aries for mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tions in this prov­ince could dras­ti­cally change.

Hockey New­found­land and Labrador (HNL) is in the midst of ex­am­in­ing the prospect of re­align­ing cer­tain as­so­ci­a­tions across the prov­ince, tak­ing into ac­count the num­ber of rinks in an area, ac­cess to ice time, the num­ber of play­ers en­rolled and the devel­op­ment of the game. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ing body for the sport re­cently con­tracted a con­sult­ing firm to gen­er­ate a re­port and of­fer some re­align­ment rec­om­men­da­tions.

“We have the re­port back and there are some rec­om­men­da­tions to it,” said HNL pres­i­dent Jack Lee. “The one that we would like to see as an or­ga­ni­za­tion will be the one that best suits our mem­bers in five and 10 years time. Not to say that it will work for ev­ery­one to­day, but we have to look to the fu­ture. We have as­so­ci­a­tions that are grow­ing and we have as­so­ci­a­tions that are de­creas­ing a lot.”

Lee noted that small as­so­ci­a­tions are con­stantly re­quest­ing that play­ers join ex­ist­ing rosters in other as­so­ci­a­tions.

Mean­while in the Trinity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia, as­so­ci­a­tions in Bay Roberts, Har­bour Grace, Pla­cen­tia and Whit­bourne have seen their num­bers plateau to an ex­tent.

The Bay Arena (Bay Roberts) and CeeBees (Har­bour Grace) add a small num­ber of play­ers ev­ery year but still hover around the 300 mark, while Trinity-Pla­cen­tia (Whit­bourne) and Pla­cen­tia In­ter­town main­tain an en­roll­ment some­where in the range of 100 ath­letes.

“For ex­am­ple, the CeeBees and the Bay Arena are pretty stag­nant,” said Lee. “They may be grow­ing a lit­tle bit, but who do they play?

“They’re not big enough as one to play against teams in the St. John’s area be­cause as­so­ci­a­tions are big in here now, so the com­pe­ti­tion they would get for their mem­bers is very limited. Then you go to Glover­town whose as­so­ci­a­tion at 60-some­thing play­ers and they’re ask­ing us if they can go to Gan­der or Clarenville.

“We have to be more proac­tive than re­ac­tive and that’s the route we’re tak­ing.”

Lee said the plan “is not even close” to be­ing fin­ished and is very much still in its early stages.

He said HNL would meet with any of the af­fected as­so­ci­a­tions over the next cou­ple of months be­fore any­thing is acted upon.

HNL does not want to “crum­ble as­so­ci­a­tions” and is look­ing at a vi­able so­lu­tion be­fore im­ple­ment­ing any changes, ac­cord­ing to Lee. The hope is to have this com­pleted by the start of the 2016-2017 sea­son.

“We have to look to the fu­ture,” said Lee. “We want to see the pro­gram get bet­ter. We have to pre­pare. It’s a tough one.

“We don’t want to force any­thing.”

The one that we would like to see as an or­ga­ni­za­tion will be the one that best suits our mem­bers in five and 10 years time.

HNL pres­i­dent Jack Lee

COMPASS FILE PHOTO

HNL pres­i­dent Jack Lee.

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