Realignment is coming, better get used to it
Admittedly, I often use this space to romanticize sports and those who play it. Whether it is through things I noticed as a kid or just what playing the games mean to those who play it, I don’t usually stick to the tough emotions that come to mind when you see ‘To The Point” on the header.
I’m going to try and change that this week. In the past seven days, it has come to light that HNL has eyes on addressing the issue of realignment in the very near future.
Get used to the idea. It could be done as early as the beginning of the 2016 minor hockey season.
It won’t involve every association altering its boundaries to encompass a neighbouring hockey body, but it will affect a lot of them.
If your association has less than 100 kids and is close enough to another association that it wouldn’t be considered a logistical problem to travel, chances are two will become one when the realignment happens.
And, it is going to happen. Whether some parents like it or not, this adjustment is going to take place.
It will be a good thing for the smaller associations who are continually sending their kids to other associations anyway.
At its heart, the decision to meld associations is about developing the game and pushing the Newfoundland athlete to a higher level.
It is about making sure the players are getting the best possible instruction they can instead of showing up to a rink in Glovertown on a snowy Saturday morning in January and wondering if there will be enough to practice.
Close to home, there are really only two associations in the running to become a single body — Bay Arena minor in Bay Roberts and CeeBees minor in Harbour Grace.
By all accounts, organizations in Placentia and Whitbourne may be left unscathed, as it is believed the logistics of combining those two won’t work.
Look, realignment is inevitable. The Bay Arena and CeeBees were never going to be separate entities forever. It just wasn’t going to happen.
As hockey in this province moves further towards favour- ing the AAA model, especially after this year, associations will need to combine to give themselves the best chance to win at the highest levels.
But, expecting everything to be in place by 2016 may be a stretch for HNL. There are plenty of questions to answer should Conception Bay North minor hockey, or whatever it would be called, roll out its new colours in a year-and-a-half. Who will run it? How will coaches be selected? What will be done about ice time?
Will players in Harbour Grace be expected to come to Bay Arena for bantam A practice and vice versa?
These are all legitimate questions that need to be addressed before any decisions are made. They are especially important questions to answer given the old adage of ‘up the bay vs. down the bay’ still very much exists amongst plenty.
Logistically, there are challenges there as well. The Bay Arena brings in players from Marysvale, while the CeeBees boundary extends to the tip of the Bay de Verde Peninsula.
That’s not exactly a fun drive for anyone, especially in the dead of winter.
My thoughts are that we’ll lose a number of kids because parents won’t be able to make the distances work. Unfortunately, that’s how it will go.
I’m not going to say it is a good idea or a bad idea. I think you better quickly become acclimated to the idea of not identifying yourself as a Rover or a CeeBee when the new CBN association comes into play. Fun fact: before they identified themselves as just CeeBees minor, it was CBN minor hockey and CeeBees was the team name.
It won’t be an easy transition, but it is one that you will have make, and get accustomed to, sooner rather than later.