Blades may not skate this season

Robin Short
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Team reported to be seeking one-year leave of absence from provincial senior circuit

Mount Pearl Blades

The Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades are expected to ask the Newfoundland and Labrador senior hockey circuit today for a one-year leave of absence from league play, The Telegram has learned.

Speculation was rampant Thursday within local hockey circles the Blades were withdrawing from the provincial senior loop, which only came into being last season.

The Blades were charter members of the league, joining the C.B.N. Eastlink CeeBee Stars, Clarenville Caribous, Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Corner Brook Royals.

This past summer, the Royals announced they were relocating from Corner Brook to Deer Lake. And now Mount Pearl is out.

League president Neil Norcott of Clarenville said Thursday evening he, too, heard the rumours surrounding the Blades, but had not received any official word from club officials.

The Blades struggled at the gate last season — coincidentally the first year of the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps — averaging just over 400 fans a game. The Blades have said they needed 800 fans for every home game to make the team a viable operation.

At a recent workout, only 10 or 12 players turned out, apparently solidifying management’s resolve to seek a year’s leave.

An official announcement on the team’s future could come today.

The loss of the Blades leaves the CeeBee Stars, Caribous, Cataracts, Royals and expansion Gander Flyers as teams fighting for the Herder Memorial Trophy.

Organizations: Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, Deer Lake Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • HB Woot
    October 01, 2012 - 14:15

    Say it ain't so.. You mean I won't have the luxary of buying 50/50 tickets from Harry Bartlett at Canadian Tire anymore!! Sad when you see it comes down to having to do this to fund a team.. Almost as a sad as the team funsraiser last year when players didn;t even support it...

  • Lester the Lambchop
    October 01, 2012 - 08:23

    I went to one game last year and saw who was running things. My last trip to the glacier the year. Everyone knew this would fail, it was just a matter of time. They had too many local players. Fans would rather a winning team on the ice as opposed to locals who can't win. Just like that east team they have this year. There won't be enough in to the games to pull up a punt.

  • Stoyles
    October 01, 2012 - 08:19

    The town never supported them. If they had moved to torbay you would not have had to print this. None of the players wanted to play in mt. pearl . When the town pulled the sponsor it was time to go. They have a team in the avalon east this year, they will average 60-70 fans at best. The league is thriving, but the greed of some of the teams will unfortunately cause this league to eventually fold. The owners should've known three years ago when he tried this team with all locals. The local guys on the team had never won anything and could not compete with the other teams. That grey haired guy that seemed to pretend he was running things in there Haire I think his name is. He just wanted to show up to the rink with a blades hat on to say he was a part of a team. Some of the moves he made over the past couple years made everyone laugh. They brought Chaplin in to right the ship, he was playing, coaching, playing, coaching, nobody knew what he was doing. After seeing him play last year, it looked like it was time for him to hang them up for good. This team was doomed from the time it put on a blades jersey. Mt. Pearl has no fans for any sport, with the exception of the crowd that linger around st. davids field on weeknights to enjoy a pop and game of slo-pitch.

  • Glenn
    September 30, 2012 - 16:49

    I always viewed Mt. Pearl Senior Blades as a recreation team with a couple of good players. Kind off like their minor hockey allstar teams.

  • Jim
    September 28, 2012 - 21:20

    For a moment, I thought Gonzo Bennett was taking over the team! However, I agree with Dan, Mount Pearl (for its population) has absolutely brutal sports teams.

  • Jack
    September 28, 2012 - 19:14

    Perhaps now is the time for Newfoundland and Labrador to focus on bringing some Major Junior Hockey teams to this province instead of focusing on semi-pro Hockey. Suggested cities and towns for QMJHL franchises include Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander, and Greater St. John's area. That way, all Canadian provinces will have a CHL/Major Junior Hockey team.

    • Brad
      September 29, 2012 - 16:55

      Jack, nobody wants to watch a bunch of high-school kids play something similar to Eurotrash hockey.

    • Bronson
      September 30, 2012 - 09:14

      Jack, I totally agree with you. While i was living in Halifax and out West i saw alot of future stars play in the Q and the WHL(Crosby, Ryder,JS gigure) And alot of players who play for there respecive countries at the junior tournaments. As for Your comment Brad.. Junior Hockey in this country is far superior to the AHL. And is Certainly not anything close to Eurotrash Hockey. If you want to see a great hockey game with a true canadian grass roots rivialry. Fly to Halifax and watch the Mooseheads play Cape Breton. True CANADIAN STYLE HOCKEY. The fog devils never had a chance here becuase everyone wanted the AHL back. I would rather see some hungry players viing for a shot at the NHL then a bunch of has beens or players not good enough for the NHL. You dont know what your talking about. I would Drive to Corner brook from St. John's for a game if they had a team.

    • Brad
      October 01, 2012 - 07:00

      You're joking right Bronson? I used to watch the Mooseheads with regularity and the odd Sea Dogs game too. The latter especially has had a really good squad for the past 4/5 years and there has not been a single person who has had any regular playing time in the NHL. NONE! Maybe the OHL and WHL are good leagues, but I haven't seen very many what I could consider impact players come out of the Q in recent years (minus Crosby). Quite a few people would rather drive from Bathurst or Saint John to go watch UNB and university hockey. Much better value for money and the talent on offer compared to the Q is much better.

  • Jack
    September 28, 2012 - 19:10

    Because the NL Senior Hockey League season is about to start, the Mount Pearl H. J. Bartlett Electric Blades request to withdraw from the league should be rejected as it will not be fair to other teams, cause scheduling problems, and result in lost revenue. In the future, NL Senior Hockey League should implement a rule requiring teams to have a minimum two months notice if they intend to withdraw or one month's notice to relocate, and none are allowed to occur after the deadline as it will be rude to other teams. In light of a team withdrawing on short notice, they should be rejected to a $25,000 fine with proceeds going to the remaining five teams to cover withdrawal related costs. I think it will be in our best interest for NL Senior Hockey League to focus on bringing two QMJHL franchises to St. John's and Corner Brook respectfully. Major Junior Hockey will be more profitable.

  • Cherry Hill
    September 28, 2012 - 14:58

    SR Hockey in NFLD is a JOKE!!! The players and people who believe this is a semi pro league are in a fantasy land.... Paying some of these guys upwards of 750 bucks a game is ludicrous!! Flying guys in on the weekend from NS PEI ONT etc..... It's only a matter of time before this league folds again.... The Royals now in Deer Lake and the Blades with no team to ice is just the writing on the wall....

  • Political Watcher
    September 28, 2012 - 14:32

    The writing has been on the wall for the Blades for over a year. Sure last summer they held a fundraising auction and dance and only 15 people attended, they were team board members and the sponsors family. Not one single team member bothered to show. If the sponsor had any wits about him he wouldn't have put a team on the ice last year.

  • darrell
    September 28, 2012 - 14:27

    As someone once said, Mt. Pearl is a nice town for 'participation', not for competitive sport. Too much baby sitting and not enough interest in winning.

  • hockeyfan
    September 28, 2012 - 11:52

    Problem is hockey has become more of a business than for competition and sport. The players on senior hockey teams are overpaid (why are they even being paid?) As for the ice caps, tickets are next to impossible to get if your buying two or more seats together. So those hockey fans not getting to the game... And with the NHL lockout' what hockey will they watch if the blades opt out?

  • Dan
    September 28, 2012 - 09:52

    Too bad, but if the people don't support it its time to say good bye

  • Ger
    September 28, 2012 - 07:59

    Never good to see a team fold, even if it is the Blades, but they have no one to blame except themselves. Provincial hockey was doing O.K. until some teams got greedy and changed the league. Question is how long before other teams fall by the wayside. League not even started yet and we have 2 teams calling it quits.

  • Gerald
    September 28, 2012 - 07:16

    AHL product is much better to watch. With the amount of talent in the AHL this year and the product that Danny is icing, the Blades would of taken a larger hit again. Can't help but feel for the guys who played on the team.