No IcePak this sea­son

Lack of play­ers forces team to fold

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­[email protected]­cen­

After two years with the Cen­tral IcePak, Jef­fery Fewer was hop­ing he’d get to fin­ish his last year in the Ma­jor Midget league with his home team.

How­ever, the team has folded due to lack of play­ers, leav­ing Fewer won­der­ing where he will play hockey.

“It would have been nice to get that third year,” says the 17-yearold. “It’s su­per dis­ap­point­ing, but it’s all you can do.”

The player from Grand Fall­sWind­sor can un­der­stand why it hap­pened. The team didn’t have the best run last year with three wins, 25 losses, one shootout loss and three over­time losses.

Given the level of com­mit­ment re­quired of high school stu­dents – two prac­tices per week in Lewisporte and a 32-game sea­son – the travel in­volved, he says, likely dis­suaded play­ers from re­turn­ing for an­other sea­son. The team’s re­cruit­ment area ranges from Baie Verte to Glover­town.

“It’s hard to com­mit so much to it,” he says.

Fewer has the op­tion try out for an­other Ma­jor Midget team, but it would re­quire four hours of travel, adding it’s a sim­i­lar predica­ment for his team­mates.

If he de­cides against Ma­jor Midget hockey this year, how­ever, Jef­fery says he’ll still play high school hockey, and can still play mi­nor midget.

“I’m not sure what I’m go­ing to be do­ing this year, I guess it de­pends on when the time comes,” he says.

IcePak coach Shane Luk­inchuk says low turnouts for try­outs was the tell­tale sign there would be no Ma­jor Midget hockey in cen­tral New­found­land this sea­son. There just weren’t enough play­ers for a 20-player ros­ter.

While sea­soned play­ers such as Jef­fery were com­mit­ted to re­turn­ing to play, he says, first-year re­cruits were low. Th­ese play­ers were needed to re­place those who had com­pleted the pro­gram the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

Luk­inchuk says each player and their par­ents have their in­di­vid­ual rea­sons for not en­ter­ing or com­ing back to the league, such as travel or the com­mit­ment re­quired. Ul­ti­mately, he says, “It just boiled down to not enough play­ers to pro­ceed with the camp.

“After try­ing to re­cruit and source out new play­ers, it just seemed like the in­ter­est level wasn’t there.”

What it means for the Cen­tral IcePak mov­ing for­ward, Luk­inchuk couldn’t say.

“I just hope the in­ter­est level is there within the next cou­ple of years and cen­tral will be able house a ma­jor midget team again,” he says. “Be­cause it is im­por­tant to a lot of peo­ple; hope­fully it can cor­rect it­self.”

But the show must go on, and the Ma­jor Midget league will move for­ward with four teams – the Western Kings from Cor­ner Brook, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, the East Coast Bl­iz­zard of St. John’s and the Tri Pen Os­prey in Con­cep­tion Bay North.

Glenn Lit­tle­john, pres­i­dent of the New­found­land and Labrador Ma­jor Midget Hockey League, told The Cen­tral Voice in an Aug. 21 in­ter­view, it was un­for­tu­nate to pro­ceed with­out the IcePak this sea­son, but the league couldn’t wait any longer.

“We’re re­vis­ing our sched­ule as we speak, it’s a four-team league now so that takes some ad­just­ment,” he says. “All teams will be im­pacted travel wise and we are go­ing through that process as we speak.”

“It’s su­per dis­ap­point­ing, but it’s all you can do.”

— Jef­fery Fewer, for­mer Cen­tral IcePak player


Jef­fery Fewer was look­ing to play his third and fi­nal year of AAA Ma­jor Midget with the Cen­tral IcePak How­ever the team has folded due to a lack of play­ers Now, the Grand Falls-Wind­sor teen is ex­plor­ing his op­tions

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