Re­align­ment is com­ing, bet­ter get used to it

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

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.

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