Team president says club couldnt find any appropriate ice time on the Avalon in August
The president of the St. Johns Fog Devils admits not holding training camp or playing any pre-season games in the capital city is going to hurt the clubs promotion heading into the 2007-08 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season, but theres nothing he can do about it.
Brad Dobbin confirmed to The Telegram Tuesday night that his team was unable to obtain ice time anywhere on the Avalon Peninsula for the Fog Devils, who will train instead in Summerside, P.E.I., and play its exhibition games in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Fog Devils players are scheduled to report Aug. 17, with the training camp opening a day later.
Without any pre-season matches in this province, local fans unless they travel to the mainland wont get to see the Fog Devils until Sept. 21, when they play their home opener against the P.E.I. Rocket at Mile One Centre.
Obviously, we would have loved to hold our camp in St. Johns, but the ice just wasnt available, said Dobbin. Im absolutely concerned the long delay will have a (negative) impact on the promotion of the club. I hope it doesnt, but unfortunately, its one of the realities we face in trying to find ice time here.
He said Mile One and the Glacier in Mount Pearl were not options because of bookings during August. He said the Glacier is an option next year. The new facility planned for Torbay is also a possibility.
Lisa Neville (Mile One Centre general manager) tried to help us out but, we couldnt put the pieces together, Dobbin said.
Unfortunately, we dont have the luxury of holding our camp here. Turns out its a challenge to get ice in August because of scheduling conflicts and having older facilities without the necessary refrigeration systems.
Its one of the many economic challenges weve run up against in our two years in St. Johns.
Dobbin said the Fog Devils will receive an appearance fee to train and play in Summerside.
Id like to get into a regular gig with someone here for our training camps, said Dobbin. However, part of the privilege of playing in a multi-purpose facility like Mile One is that you have to compete with other events. Its always unfortunate when the timing doesnt work out and we cant have the best of both worlds.
On a positive note, Dobbin said it will be cheaper to bring in training camp-bound players from Quebec to P.E.I. than to Newfoundland.
Dobbin did say local fans will get to see the Fog Devils in an inter-squad scrimmage prior to the start of QMJHL season. The date for that event has not been finalized.