Needs on ‘D’ prompted release of Thomas: Crocker

Kenn Oliver
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‘It wasn’t an easy phone call to make,’ says CeeBees’ coach

Mike Thomas (24) was captain of the Memorial Cup-winning Saint John Sea Dogs in 2011, but Thomas, a forward and one of two import players on the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars, has been released by the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League team in what CeeBees’ head coach Corey Crocker says was a ‘business’ decision. — Photo by Nick Mercer/Transcontinental Media/The Compass

On the eve of Newfoundland Senior Hockey League teams’ opportunity to bolster rosters in the league’s player draft, the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars were busy dropping a player.

Earlier this week, the CeeBees confirmed that import forward Mike Thomas had been released from their roster.

“It wasn’t an easy phone call to make. I’ve only known him for two months, but I felt like I’ve known him a lifetime,” says coach Corey Crocker.

“He’s disappointed, he liked Newfoundland and the guys, but he understands that it’s a business.”

Crocker says the decision to drop the gritty forward who won a Memorial Cup as the Saint John Sea Dogs’ captain last year had nothing to do with Thomas’s performance on the ice.

“Mike was true to our team, a great team player, but our need right now is another defenceman.”

Two of the CeeBees top four defenceman in Donnie Gosse and Doug O’Brien work in Long Harbour and have to work every second weekend. The duo were available for Saturday night’s game against the Western Royals, but not for Sunday afternoon’s rematch. As such, the CeeBees’ blueline in Sunday’s 7-4 loss consisted of just Mike Dyke, Tim Greene and Fred Earle, augmented Jamie Tobin, traditionally a foward.

“We can’t go into a place like Clarenville and Grand Falls-Windsor with three defenceman,” said Crocker.

Still, Crocker says the CeeBees are in no rush to fill the open import card, one of the two the team is permitted.

“We’ve got some time here, we’re not pushing the panic button by no means.

“We have three or four players we’re considering. We’ll make the best decision for our hockey team and what’s feasible with flights and things like that.”

While Crocker wouldn’t confirm it, one of those players could very well be rearguard Jared Tuton, one of the CeeBees’ three imports last season. Tuton played three seasons with the Univeristy of Alaska-Anchorage Sea Wolves in the NCAA’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association prior to moving to Newfoundland with his girlfriend last year and signing with the CeeBees.

Another name rumoured to be in consideration is former Mount Pearl Blades’ defenceman David Cornacchia.

Diamond asks for trade

In other CeeBees’ news, The Compass reported Wednesday that veteran backstop Freddie Diamond has requested a trade from the organization. Diamond has been with the CeeBees for nine seasons helping them  claimthree straight Herder Memorial Trophy titles (2005-2007).

The 29-year-old from Bonavista told Compass reporter Nick Mercer he was hurt by the lack of communication regarding the team’s plans between the pipes for the upcoming season. The CeeBees used their second import card on goaltender Charles Lavigne, a product of St. Thomas Tommies and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“A phone call throughout the summer... saying, ‘hey Freddie, we’re going to use an import goalie and he’s going to play most of the games and if you want to go somewhere else, thanks for the nine years here and it’s time to move on’... something like that would’ve been alright,” he told Mercer. “There was none of that.”

Diamond said he has been contacted by the Gander Flyers, a young team he feels could benefit from his experience at the senior level. What is clear is that Diamond wants to remain a starter and not play a backup role.

““Personally, I think I can still play,” he said. “It’s too early to retire yet.”


Organizations: Univeristy of Alaska-Anchorage Sea Wolves, NCAA, The Compass

Geographic location: Saint John, Long Harbour, Clarenville Mount Pearl Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Gander Fan
    November 15, 2012 - 14:04

    "Purple And Gold", either you haven't been to any of the 5 games in Gander or were perhaps having a few too many Cold ones in the Wet Section. O'Brien has been solid between the pipes. He's been solid in every game, even the 5-0 Loss (which I didnt see) I was told he was good and GFW scored a few on the PP. Diamond is a good goalie for sure, won some Herders on some very deep CeeBee teams. To call Patty a 'dufflebag' means you are either misinformed, ignorant, or worse.

  • Slades Electronics
    November 15, 2012 - 06:42

    Crocker is talking about flight feasibility, perhaps he should talk about his own flights to and from the island. Who needs to fly in a coach? They are 3-5 and letting fellas go, other fellas wants out, Freddy's been there 9 years. It goes without saying, the trouble starts at the top of the mountain.The money will kill this league, and this negative publicity following the ceebees is only going to hurt attendance down to the stadium. Who's going to pay for them to keep losing and flying fellas in that gives 50% and has their hands out for more money? Big story in the compass on the goalie, he wouldn't stop a bus. Big story in the telegram about how good Thomas was going to this.

    • Brad
      November 15, 2012 - 10:25

      Hilarious that a Mem Cup winner can`t hack it in NL senior hockey

  • Purple and Gold
    November 15, 2012 - 06:36

    Hopefully Gander can get Freddie from CBN so we can get rid of the duffle bag o'brien we have. I know Freddie has a few good years left in him.

  • Tone
    November 15, 2012 - 06:34

    Jamie Tobin is augmented, among other things. Best general skater in the league.