Blades win; Oates off the bench; and a senior hockey all-star game?
First of all, congratulations to the Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades on registering its first win of the season last Friday, beating the Torbay West Side Charlies Sharks 5-1. For a while, I wasnt sure it was going to happen. But I guess after very nearly defeating the defending Herder champs at home two days earlier the guys had a little wind in their sails to start the Torbay game. All five of their goals came in the first 11 minutes and 13 seconds. One thing Ive heard from sources is that Mark Abbott looks to be finding the form he once had during his senior days with the Flatrock Flyers. Who knows, maybe being benched in favour of junior affiliate call-up Devin OBrien a few games back put a little onion in his ointment. And sure, they might have lost again Sunday to the Bell Island Wave. But so what? They beat Torbay, know they can win, its just a matter of putting the same effort together each game. * * * * * In order to fill a void on the teams blueline this weekend, the C.B.N. CeeBee Stars head coach Eddie Oates swapped his clipboard for forward Keith Delaneys stick and dressed for Saturdays game against Bell Island. Delaney, whos out until after Christmas nursing a shoulder injury he suffered in a game against Torbay a few weeks ago, moved behind the bench to take up coaching duties. He says his coach performed quite well in his first senior games since the 2004-05 season. He didnt look out of place, Delaney said, You know Eddie, no matter what he does whether its coaching or his job he just goes at it 100 per cent. He knew he could help the team. In a senior hockey career that spanned from 1991 to 2005, Oates registered 129 goals and 225 assists for 354 points, second in league history. He was a member of the 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2003 with the various Flatrock clubs. The former Toronto St. Michael's Majors forward said he had no choice but to give Oates plenty of ice-time, lest he ride the pine when he returns to the lineup himself. As for stepping behind the bench, Delaney admits the only challenge was not earning the ire of his teammates. But it is different when youre there with your teammates and trying to say who goes on the ice. The last thing you want to do it piss someone off or make someone mad at you. I was just going with what we had in place all year. Delaney hopes to get into the coaching business like Oates once his playing days are behind him. I think I can speak for most CeeBees fans when I say they hope that Delaney keeps the skates sharp for another few years. * * * * * The ideas no doubt come up before, but why isnt there a mid-season provincial senior hockey all-star game? Five teams in the east, four teams in the west and thousands of hockey crazed fans in between. If the St. Johns junior league can play an all-star classic with a mere seven teams, theres no reason senior cant get one together too. I can see it now, Mile One or the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook full of fans from across the provinces hockey landscape eager to watch the Royals Terry Ryan try to undress Freddy Diamond in a shootout competition or see who has the fastest legs or hardest shot in senior hockey? Heck, you can make a weekend out of it, just like they do in the NHL. Why it hasnt happened up to now is anyones guess. If nothing else, an all-star weekend sometime after the Christmas holidays would be a fine way for the leagues, teams and players to give something special back to the fans who passionately support them.