Se­nior Hockey League re­vived

West coast hockey fans re­joice - se­nior league re­turn­ing this month

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY WENDY ROSE

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.

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