Goalie needed a change of scene

Kenn Oliver
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Mark Yetman splits Bell Island by mutual agreement

Goaltender Mark Yetman played three seasons with QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. — Submitted photo

Goaltender Mark Yetman played and won his first game for the West Coast senior hockey circuit’s Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts last weekend, days after he secured his unconditional release from the Avalon East league’s Bell Island Blues.

“It came to a point, losing that many games in a row, hockey wasn’t fun anymore. I needed the change,” contends Yetman, who says he knew little of the local senior leagues prior to this season, except for the West Coast league’s strength and the Conception Bay CeeBees’ dominance in the east.

Before joining the Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Yetman spoke with representatives of two clubs — Northeast and the Southern Shore. He settled on the Shore, but a week before the season was to get underway, the Breakers folded and Yetman found himself in the team’s dispersal draft where the Blues picked him up.

Nine games and a whopping 418 shots in, the union wasn’t meeting his expectations.

“One win and eight losses, I don’t think that would meet anyone’s expectations,” he stated.

“I was told Bell Island would have a pretty good team, that they would be better than they were last year and that they would be bringing some players in, which never happened.”

The split, according to Family Drug Mart Blues’ general manager David Brazil, didn’t go over well within the organization.

“We had invested in him being part of our team,” says Brazil.

“But at the end of the day, we didn’t need the distraction from a guy who didn’t want to play with us.

“It wasn’t worth keeping a goalie around who didn’t want to be there, and players didn’t want him around at the end of it.”

Yetman, a Mount Pearl native, played three years with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, and joined the Brock University Badgers in 2009.

His collegiate career has been on hold since last February when he was charged with three counts of sexual assault involving three female victims, along with other charges relating to the incidents. As part of his bail conditions, Yetman was sent home to Newfoundland.

His next court date is set for March 30 in St. Catharines, Ont.

Yetman says he originally sought his release from the Blues in late November, but his request was left unanswered by the organization.

Yetman says he was then told by Brazil of the Avalon East league rule that no player shall be released to play in the West Coast league unless the player could prove it was for work, school or extenuating circumstances.

An appeal was denied by Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador’s Senior Council, which supported the Blues and ruled Yetman ineligible for release just because he wanted to join the Cats.

HNL, however, was quick to follow with a letter to both the Avalon East and West Coast leagues indicating that only teams had the right to withhold player releases.

The leagues, in other words, did not have authority to direct that releases be withheld if the player wished to play in the rival circuit.

Yetman was released the next day.

“When going through the process of appeals to HNL and all these things, and players pick up on it, it’s not a good atmosphere in the dressing room,” Brazil said.

Enough challenges

“We have enough challenges as it is as the last-place team. After spending too much time to appease one individual or deal with certain issues relevant to him, it was better if we parted ways.”

From his perspective, Yetman says the split was amicable.

Likes challenge

“It was nothing against anyone who is part of the Bell Island organization. What it came down to was that I wanted to play at a higher level of hockey in the West.

“I’m sure (the Blues) will be a good team next year or the year after, but right now it’s not the organization I want to be part of.”

In Grand Fall-Windsor, Yetman rejoins former St. John’s AAA Maple Leafs teammates Paul Roebothan, Wes Welcher and Andrew Brennan. Along with Yetman, the Cats also have Doug Jewer (another former major midget Leaf) tending their blue ice, giving them one of the best puck stopping tandem in either senior league.

For his part, Yetman is looking forward to the challenge for the No. 1 starter’s job.

“You get more complacent when you have no one behind you to push. I’m sure it’ll be a healthy competition.”

The second-place Cataracts host to the third-place Deer Lake Red Wings for a two-game set this weekend at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium.

koliver@thetelegram.com

twitter.com/KOTelySports

Organizations: Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Brock University Badgers Senior Council Bell Island organization

Geographic location: West Coast, Avalon East, Bell Island Brazil Conception Bay Mount Pearl Newfoundland

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • George
    January 24, 2011 - 11:13

    It's funny how people put Hockey before the safety of the community. It's seems that people are so happy to have a good hockey player it doesn't matter what he is being charged with. Well I have three daugthers in there late teens and I would definitely want to know if someone who was charged with sexual assualt lived in the area! I thank The Telegram for informing the community of this. It seems some of the posters here are saying hockey players are above the law!

  • Rob Canning
    January 22, 2011 - 11:10

    I am a cats fan and I am glad he joined our team and the Telegram should be ashame of themselves for mentioning his outstanding charges because the topic should only be about hockey.

    • Kerri
      March 29, 2011 - 17:04

      I'm also a Cats fan and I agree with Rob 100%

  • Reader
    January 21, 2011 - 23:16

    How is bringing up the charges anything to do with the title of the story?? Goalie in need of a change goes hand in hand with legal charges... I think not. Some people I guess will look for any chance to exploit some other peoples dark moments and make it public. Can only feel bad for him as again he is innocent until proven guilty and having this brought out into the public again must be tough on him. Saw him play and thought he was pretty good, too bad this kinda stuff happened to him.

  • richard
    January 21, 2011 - 18:13

    To ken oliver ! I would like an explanation from you to where you found it neccesary to drag this young mans personal life into this column. It's a game of hockey , thats it. Total trash and bullcrap on your part. anything for a news print right?????????

  • Steve
    January 20, 2011 - 10:21

    How is mentioning his charges not part of why he is playing Senior hockey in NL? If it was not for the charges laid, he would still be in Ontario playing College hockey. He should have considered himself lucky he is playing hockey at all. he should stop whining about being on a losing team, and be thankful he is not playing ball hockey against inmates.

    • Joe Delveckio
      January 20, 2011 - 15:39

      He is innocent until proven guilty. Why would it matter why he is back playing senior? Could have missed being home. Right now he is innocent, so it should have no bearing on where he should play or shouldn't. Until he is proven guilty he should live his life... and not worry about people critizing things he may or may not have done.

  • Ed Smith
    January 16, 2011 - 22:05

    Don't mention the charges??? The guy is charged with sexually assaulting and choking three different women before he is 20 years of age! I think the young women of Grand-Falls deserve the knowledge that this goalie with 3 years experience in the "Q" is coming... I hope Halifax police were notified of his "talents"...

  • frances slaney
    January 15, 2011 - 15:23

    Really what purpose was served in mentioning o/s legal issues other than to accentuate malice. Does THE TELEGRAM need to stoop that low ?????????

  • garry burt
    January 15, 2011 - 12:37

    i dont it was necessary to mention the charges against him as it had nothing to do with him playing with Grand Falls.

    • Patricia Perry
      January 18, 2011 - 21:13

      I think it's ridiculous that the Telegram, once again, feels it necessary to create news, rather than just tell the story of Mark Yetman moving to a new team. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty. I can't wait to read all about the positives he will bring to the Grand Falls team.