A minor realignment
HNL exploring a revised map for associations
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
HNL president Jack Lee.