CeeBees president optimistic about AESHL
League executive announced; await Hockey NL approval for teams
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
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.