CeeBees pres­i­dent op­ti­mistic about AESHL

League ex­ec­u­tive an­nounced; await Hockey NL ap­proval for teams

The Compass - - Sports - BY AN­DREW ROBINSON editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The pres­i­dent of the CeeBee Stars hockey club is op­ti­mistic about the team’s chances of play­ing in a se­nior A league this sea­son.

“We’re still very pos­i­tive and we’re push­ing for­ward with our plan and deal­ing with the hand that’s been dealt to us,” Mary Reynolds told The Com­pass last Fri­day morn­ing, a day after the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League held its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Mount Pearl.

Reynolds is cur­rently one of three team gov­er­nors on the league’s new ex­ec­u­tive. There have been ru­mours of teams in Mount Pearl and Par­adise pos­si­bly join­ing the CeeBees in re­sum­ing AESHL ac­tion this sea­son. One of the gov­er­nors, Harry Bartlett, has pre­vi­ous in­volve­ment with the Mount Pearl Se­nior Blades.

Reynolds would not get into specifics about what teams are look­ing to join the CeeBees, but he did con­firm the league would be sub­mit­ting ros­ters to Hockey New­found­land and Labrador Fri­day with hopes of se­cur­ing its sta­tus as an A-level league for the up­com­ing sea­son.

“At that point in time, we’ll be an­nounc­ing teams, sched­ules and move for­ward,” he said, adding the league will likely in­clude three-to-four teams. No de­ci­sions have been made on how many games the teams will play.

Thurs­day’s AGM hap­pened the same day both the new East Coast Se­nior Hockey League and Cen­tral West Se­nior Hockey League an­nounced they will op­er­ate with an in­ter­lock­ing sched­ule. The CWSHL was on the verge of fold­ing with only three teams left. Now, that league is pre­pared to help off­set the cost of travel for ECSHL teams to play a few in­ter­lock­ing games.

Ac­cord­ing to a story pub­lished Thurs­day by The Tele­gram, the win­ners of the ECSHL and CWSHL ti­tles will meet to play for the Herder Memo­rial Tro­phy.

The Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises CeeBee Stars are the de­fend­ing Herder cham­pi­ons, and Reynolds con­firmed the AESHL would like to re­main in the mix for that tro­phy.

“We’re cer­tainly an A-sta­tus team, and we feel the other two teams and the league will be A sta­tus,” said Reynolds. “It’s up to (Hockey NL) to de­cide how all the teams will play for the Herder, but we want to be in the hunt for the Herder this year.”

Reynolds re­mains at a loss to un­der­stand how the other four teams who played with the CeeBees last year in­tend to play in­ter­lock­ing games with Cen­tral West teams.

“The Avalon East league was a league that pro­vided a lo­cal game of hockey to lo­cal guys who did not want to travel out over the roads,” he said. “So we don’t un­der­stand and we can’t com­pre­hend how th­ese peo­ple think that they’re all of a sud­den go­ing to play against semipro teams. That re­ally makes no sense.”

Ac­cord­ing to ap­proved min­utes for the May 10, 2017 meet­ing of the league’s ex­ec­u­tive, some of­fi­cials for teams now in the ECSHL had reser­va­tions about play­ing against Cen­tral West teams. Dur­ing a dis­cus­sion about the pos­si­bil­ity of the Clarenville Cari­bous ap­ply­ing to join the AESHL, Jack Casey from the St. John’s Cap­i­tals said travel was al­ready too much of an is­sue in the league, and Jonathan Ka­vanagh of the Bell Is­land Blues said com­pet­ing against paid play­ers would also be prob­lem­atic.

Reynolds is skep­ti­cal of the ESCHL’s com­pet­i­tive­ness play­ing against Cen­tral West teams, not­ing the CeeBees picked up six strength­en­ing play­ers to com­pete for the Herder last sea­son.

“They’re paid teams with big bud­gets. That’s not what the Avalon East league was or stood for in the past,” he said. “I think what’s go­ing on over there — good for them for try­ing it — but I’m not op­ti­mistic that’s go­ing to be the sav­ing grace. For us, we’re go­ing to stick to what the Avalon East stood for in the past. We’re go­ing to of­fer guys a lo­cal game of hockey on the Avalon, no play­ers be­ing paid and no play­ers be­ing asked to travel great amounts of dis­tance.”

We’re go­ing to of­fer guys a lo­cal game of hockey on the Avalon, no play­ers be­ing paid and no play­ers be­ing asked to travel great amounts of dis­tance.

— Mark Reynolds

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The new ex­ec­u­tive for the Avalon East Se­nior Hockey League was formed last Thurs­day at a meet­ing in Mount Pearl. Front row (l-r): sec­re­tary and pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Tracy Shute, pres­i­dent Rob Lea­man, vice-pres­i­dent Bill Nose­wor­thy and di­rec­tor at large Clarence Butt. Back row (l-r): di­rec­tor at large An­drew Tobin and team gov­er­nors Mark Reynolds, Rick Car­ri­gan and Harry Bartlett. Miss­ing from the photo is trea­surer Wanda Reid.

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