Royals unwilling to play ‘pointless’ game

Dave Kearsey
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The Western Royals’ Darren Langdon goes around Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars captain Mike Dyke (left) during the teams’ Newfoundland Senior Hockey League game last Saturday in Harbour Grace. Sunday’s rematch was called off after the first period when the ice resurfacing machine at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium malfunctioned and melted a large section of ice. Royals president Ross Coates says his team won’t be making the trip across the island to continue the teams’ second meeting unless the league mandates it and the costs of travel are covered.

Western not interested in making up game vs. C.B.N. unless points, playoff spot on the line

The Western Royals say the only way they will play another game in Harbour Grace this season is if it involves a showdown for the Herder provincial senior hockey championship.

The Royals were supposed to play their Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) 2013-13 regular-season series with the Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars Sunday at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace, but the game was only 20 minutes old when things went awry.

During the first intermission, with the CeeBees leading 1-0, a malfunction with the ice resurfacing machine’s propane tanks led to the jettisoning of slush and water into the slot area in front of one of the nets, creating a huge hole. Attempts were made to get the ice back in safe condition, but to no avail. League officials opted to err on the side of caution and cancel the contest.

Royals president Ross Coates says his team won’t be absorbing any extra cost because of the cancellation.

“We will not be returning to Harbour Grace, not from our point of view unless they’re willing to cover the costs,” Coates said. “We’re not driving back out to Harbour Grace to play two periods of hockey. It’s just not going to happen because it’s not economically feasible.”

Coates believes the league will take a wait-and-see attitude on the meltdown and that’s just fine with him.

“I think what’s going to happen is they’re going to just leave it until the end of the season because we got one weekend off before playoffs,” he said. “If points mean nothing, I don’t think anything will be done about it and it will be just wiped out.”

Last season, league officials dealt with a similar situation when a game between the Flyers and CeeBees was cancelled and ended up being scrapped when it was determined the outcome of the game would have no impact on the standings. This is reason enough for him to think the same will happen this time around.

The league’s playoff format was officially announced earlier this week and Coates believes a make-up game between the Royals and CeeBees will have little impact on the first-round matchups.

 The league is divided into two divisions, with Western Grand-Falls-Windsor and Gander in the West, and the CeeBees, Clarenville and Mount Pearl in the East. The first-place team in each division gets a bye through the first round, with Grand Falls-Windsor and Clarenville almost locks to claim those spots. The second- and third-place finishers in each division will play a best-of-five opening-round series. The winner of that series will then take on the division’s top team in a best-of-seven matchup.

The winners of those divisional finals advance to the Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy Championship Series.

“I don’t see it changing a whole lot unless we have a total meltdown ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to be playing Gander ...  and I think you’re going to see Harbour Grace and Mount Pearl play in the other series.”

The first round will start on the weekend of Feb. 15 with two games, with the remainder of each series to be played the weekend of Feb. 22.

The divisional finals will begin with two games on the weekend of March 1, with two more games on the weekend of March 8 and any remaining games, if necessary, on the weekend of March 15.

The Herder final, also a best-of-seven affair, would be played on the weekends of March 22, March 29 and April 5, the latter if necessary.

Caribous announce affiliated players for Allan Cup

The Clarenville Caribous have revealed the list of players from other NLSHL teams they will be allowed to use in the 2014 Allan Cup tournament.

Hockey Canada rules permit teams to have up to 10 such “affiliated” players — one goalie and nine skaters — from other teams within their league, and the Caribous have named a full complement, including netminder A.J. Whiffen (Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts), defencemen Mike Dyke (Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars), Rodi Short (Cataracts) and Luke Gallant (Cataracts); and forwards Matt Quinn (CeeBees), Peter Campbell (Gander Flyers), Rob Mignardi (Flyers), Rob Hennigar (Cataracts) and Cam Fergus (Cataracts).

The 2014 Allan Cup national senior hockey tournament will be held Apr 14-19 in Dundas, Ont.

Postponed games rescheduled

The league has announced the schedule of games to make up for those postponed during the storm and power outages earlier this month.

One of those make-up games is already in the books. That came Friday night at the Mount Pearl Glacier, where the Blades beat the visiting Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars 5-4.

The other make-up games are as follows:

Friday, Jan. 24, 8 p.m., Hodder Memorial Complex, Deer Lake — Gander at Western

Saturday, Feb. 8 7:30 p.m., S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Harbour Grace — Mount Pearl at CeeBees

Saturday, Feb. 8, 8 p.m., Clarenville Events Centre — Grand Falls at Clarenville

Sunday, Feb. 9, 1:30 p.m., Clarenville Events Centre — Grand Falls at Clarenville

Organizations: NLSHL, Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars, Flyers Newfoundland Senior Hockey League Trophy Championship Series

Geographic location: S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Clarenville, Mount Pearl Grand Falls Canada Dundas Deer Lake

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