Senior Hockey League revived
West coast hockey fans rejoice - senior league returning this month
Shannon Battiste has been working tirelessly to reinstate the senior hockey league on the west coast after a 17-year hiatus.
“I kept trying for the last three years to get the junior hockey back on the go, but I couldn’t get enough committed players for teams,” says Battiste, who is also the Port aux Basques Mariners president.
The Junior Mariners folded roughly four years ago and covered the 17-20 age group.
Opting to refocus his search on an older age group, Battiste began working to reform the local senior hockey league.
“Deer Lake, Corner Brook, Stephenville and us (Port aux Basques), we started the conversation of getting this up and running again,” he said.
Battiste has been working on this project since last autumn. At the time of writing, each of the four communities noted above had team rosters of about 25 people per team.
The teams are the Port Aux Basques Mariners, Stephenville Jets, Deer Lake Red Wings and Corner Brook Royals.
The return of the West Coast Senior Hockey League presents a great opportunity for the west coast communities, Battiste told the Gulf News.
“You’re bringing business into the town, bringing more people in,” he said. “It’s all about getting some good competitive hockey back on the go, for people to enjoy on the weekends, and especially for the younger crowd.”
Battiste said the time spent volunteering for this cause is well worth it.
“The biggest challenge for me was getting enough players in this area,” he said of Port Aux Basques, noting that the town has a population of 4,000. Deer Lake has about 5,000 residents, while Stephenville has approximately 7,000. Corner Brook boasts a population of about 20,000.
“About 70 per cent of the team is from here in Port Aux Basques and includes players who played with us in the junior league,” he said.
Pictured (from left) are Port aux Basques Mariners treasurer Jamie Young, president Shannon Battiste, head coach and general manager Mark Lawrence, trainer Steve Osmond, assistant coach Craig Carter and captain Bruce Billard.