CeeBees ready to feel right at home

Kenn Oliver
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Conception Bay North abuzz as team prepares for first games at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium

Keith Delaney (right) is once again the captain of the CeeBees, who sport a 3-3 record after opening the 2012-13 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League season with six straight road game. — Telegram file photo

After starting the 2012-13 season with three straight road trips, the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars (3-3) get their chance to play in front of a hometown crowd when they host the Western Royals at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace this weekend.

“We know there are people who are very excited with the way we started our season, so there are some very high expectations coming in,” says CeeBees’ captain Keith Delaney.

“We want to make sure we produce for the people in the community. They’re the ones supporting us and if they’re not happy with us, that’s not good for our hockey club.”

An uncharacteristically sluggish start to the team’s 2011-12 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) season led to a dip in attendance and overall fan support from the traditionally steadfast CeeBee fan base. The team dropped seven of its first eight games, most by one goal, and had only three wins at the Christmas break. While things improved in the new year and the CeeBees did make the playoffs, the accustomed level of fan support never really was achieved.

But with the squad already playing .500 hockey — following a sweep of the Gander Flyers, a split with the Caribous and back-to-back losses to the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts this past weekend — and a stable of new players in the mix, Delaney says there’s a different buzz around town.

“There’s been some big names brought in this year, and big names always attract a lot of attention,” says Delaney referring to new imports Mike Thomas and goalie Charles Lavigne, defenceman Doug O’Brien, acquired in a trade with the Royals, and Upper Island Cove native Robert Slaney.

“I could be wrong, but I’m thinking the last time (Slaney) played down at the rink was midget AAA, so he’s played a lot of hockey in between and a lot of people are looking forward to seeing him play.”

With Matthew Thomey living and working in western Canada, Delaney is once again the CeeBees captain, a role he hasn’t taken on since 2008-09. 

“I’m thrilled to be part of the tradition again,” says Delaney. “I don’t consider myself the most vocal guy all the time, but I do try to lead by example and be committed on and off the ice to make our team the best it can be.”

With the Royals coming to town on the heels of two wins over the defending champion Caribous, the CeeBees will need to be at their best in what Delaney figures will be an “emotional weekend.”

“Not only for them, but for us too. We’re going to see some guys who were on our team last year, guys we battled with and for, and now we’re battling against them,” Delaney says,  referring to Mark Tobin and goalie Doug Jewer.

Moreover, there’s a lot of history between CeeBees like Delaney and his brother Ryan, Mike Dyke and Daniel Sparkes and many of the Royals, including Mark Robinson, Darren Langdon, and Jake Easton. All played in the four straight Herder finals between C.B.N. and Deer Lake from 2005 to 2008.

As well, current CeeBee Ray Dalton was a member of the Red Wings for those four seasons.

“Hopefully, we can ride the wave of emotion and not get too high or too low and stick to our style of hockey.”

Delaney figures the Royals will play an “in-your-face style of hockey” in an effort to spoil the CeeBees’ home opener.

“We’re expecting a very tough, physical weekend of hockey from a well-rounded team, so we’ve got to use the energy from our home opener and our fans to match that because it’s going to be an extremely tough battle.”

The teams square off Saturday night at 7:30 with the rematch to follow Sunday afternoon at 1:30.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telykenn

Geographic location: S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Upper Island Cove, Canada Deer Lake

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Recent comments

  • Gossey
    November 13, 2012 - 09:46

    Yep, looked like they were glad to be home! What an effort they put in. stands will be empty next time they plays thats for sure. We all should have filled the ice with brooms after they was swept. Fellers out there general skating.

  • Andrew
    November 09, 2012 - 09:10

    First of all the ticket price is 12$ second, I would bet my last dollar that nobody from MP is getting paid to fill water bottles. We here in CBN are hard to please, we complained when ceebees were in the aeshl because the quality of hockey wasnt good. Now we are complaining because we have to pay quality hockey players to compete in a much better league. Also I can guarantee that there are no "locals" that can play in this league. I have watched some games in that over 19 REC league in Bay Roberts. It is desperate hockey, sure there are one or 2 decent skaters on a team. But thats all.

  • Breezy Bruin
    November 09, 2012 - 05:34

    I predict this league dies in two years or less. Coach of the ceebees ran the team in amherst in debt, wont take long for the same to happen in hr grace. $650/weekend per player to play hockey? Out of their minds. Who can afford $14/ticket?

  • Joey
    November 08, 2012 - 15:09

    We love All the Way Ray.

  • Skeet or Die
    November 08, 2012 - 15:07

    Excited about how the season started? You lost the last two against Grand Falls. Two of your wins were versus the league's worst team. What has there been to be excited about? You are all getting too much money and its about time the fans stood up and said enough is enough. $14 for a ticket to watch locals is outrageous for senior hockey when I can pay $18 and go and watch professionals at mile one. I won't be at the moores stadium either, i'd rather buy two $7 lotto max tickets than give them the money to pay the local players.

  • Slades Electronics
    November 08, 2012 - 08:37

    Ceebees are flying in coaches, paying waterboys........the $$$ these fellers are being paid is too much. I had season tickets the last couple years, I'll be damned if I am paying for a feller to be bussed out from mt. pearl to fill our water bottles. I bet the hockey will be okay, but I can't fathom paying to go and help pay for flights for players and coaches when there are locals here just as good or better that can do the same job.

  • Brad
    November 08, 2012 - 08:32

    Whoo Hoo! Way to go Corner Brook Cee Bees!