CeeBees get the cut by rest of AESHL

League, Herder champs told they are no longer wanted by cir­cuit’s other four teams

The Compass - - Sports - BY BREN­DAN MCCARTHY bmcc@thetele­gram.com

We’ve been com­pletely blind­sided, to be hon­est with you. Of­fi­cially, (there were) no rea­sons given, just ‘Nice know­ing you. So long.’

— Mark Reynolds

Lo­cal se­nior hockey won’t start for an­other eight weeks or so, but it looks like the games have already be­gun.

The other four teams in the AESHL have told the league and provin­cial se­nior cham­pion Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBee Stars to pack their hockey bags, and leave.

The CeeBees say they don’t want to go and are will­ing to take their case all the way to Hockey Canada to do so ... maybe even to court.

On Thursday, the CeeBees posted a mes­sage on their Face­book site stat­ing the team had re­ceived word - in the form of an Aug. 28 let­ter - that the CBN club would no longer be wel­come in the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League.

That let­ter, signed by of­fi­cials from the South­ern Shore Break­ers, North­east Ea­gles, Con­cep­tion Bay (Bell Is­land) Blues and St. John’s Cap­i­tals, said those teams want to op­er­ate us­ing a four-team for­mat for the up­com­ing sea­son.

“Our four or­ga­ni­za­tions have de­cided that it is in our best in­ter­est to pro­ceed with the four metro teams in a league that ex­cludes the CeeBee Stars,” the let­ter stated. “We are ad­vis­ing you now of our de­ci­sion to al­low your or­ga­ni­za­tion suf­fi­cient time to find an­other league for the up­com­ing sea­son.”

Cap­i­tals pres­i­dent Jack Casey was one of those who signed Joe May­nard (Ea­gles), Ian Sul­li­van (Break­ers) and Pat Rose (Blues) were the oth­ers - and on Thursday, Casey was act­ing as a spokesman for the group.

“Ev­ery­body signed so they could see there was no point of (the CeeBees) try­ing to di­vide and con­quer,” said Casey. “The four teams in here have just de­cided that things work bet­ter for us to be here lo­cally with our­selves.

“We feel strongly about that.” CeeBees pres­i­dent Mark Reynolds said ru­mours about “some in­di­vid­u­als want­ing us out of the league” have been around since the win­ter, but that “never in a mil­lion years did I think that it was go­ing to a pos­si­bil­ity.

“We’ve been com­pletely blind­sided, to be hon­est with you. Of­fi­cially, (there were) no rea­sons given, just ‘Nice know­ing you. So long.’”

There have been ru­mours of dis­plea­sure over the CeeBees al­legedly pay­ing some play­ers - which would be con­trary to league guide­lines - and of dis­putes over rev­enue from Herder Tro­phy provin­cial fi­nal games be­tween the CeeBees and the rest of the league, but Casey said “it would be sim­pli­fy­ing mat­ters” to say this was the crux of their move to oust the de­fend­ing league champs.

“From our per­spec­tive, I think it’s ob­vi­ous to ev­ery­body there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween the CeeBees and the other four teams in the Avalon East league,” said Casey.

“There isn’t a sin­gle big smok­ing-gun kind of rea­son we need to do this. There is just a long list of small rea­sons.

“And we feel pretty strongly about our case, that we have the right to just play lo­cally. “

Reynolds says the CeeBees feel just as firm in their stance.

“We never paid any play­ers,” he said, adding that the mat­ter of Herder rev­enues “was done on a con­trac­tual ba­sis, doc­u­mented in the min­utes of the league.

“Ev­ery­thing is on pa­per. We paid the league trea­surer our mon­eys in full.

“If we had a me­di­a­tor come in to look at th­ese is­sues, I can guar­an­tee they would find no wrong­do­ing, if that is what’s be­ing said.”

The move comes as the AESHL goes through an­other shakeup, what with the mass res­ig­na­tion of the league ex­ec­u­tive, led by pres­i­dent Paddy Daly. Casey says the Cap­i­tals, Ea­gles, Break­ers and Blues are look­ing at a board setup, with two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from each team and an elected chair­per­son and trea­surer.

“I think that in­di­vid­u­als in the league didn’t like where the league was go­ing ... a lot of old school minds didn’t want to re­lin­quish con­trol,” said Reynolds when asked about the de­par­ture of the ex­ec­u­tive. “I think they were the first ca­su­alty and we were the sec­ond ca­su­alty.”

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