Meeting could help bring an end to major midget turf war

Bradley Bouzane
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HOCKEY

Measures were taken at a meeting of major midget hockey teams this past weekend to avoid a controversy like the one that surrounded the provincial final this past season.

With the 2007 championship final between the St. John's Maple Leafs and Tri-Pen Frost cut short after just two games because of disagreement over Tri-Pen's home venue, Saturday's meeting in Gander dealt with the rules surrounding that issue, among other items on the docket.

Measures were taken at a meeting of major midget hockey teams this past weekend to avoid a controversy like the one that surrounded the provincial final this past season.

With the 2007 championship final between the St. John's Maple Leafs and Tri-Pen Frost cut short after just two games because of disagreement over Tri-Pen's home venue, Saturday's meeting in Gander dealt with the rules surrounding that issue, among other items on the docket.

"One of the biggest issues is that each team has to declare its host association," said Ed Beaton, central director for Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador's (HNL) minor council. "The host will be responsible for the team at the end of the day and right now, Tri-Pen is looking at a couple of associations and people had no problems with (a change from Harbour Grace as Tri-Pen's home association).

After St. John's won the first two games of the best-of-five final, Tri-Pen wanted to play its home games in Bonavista, but because its home association was based in Conception Bay North, the Leafs protested. HNL ruled the games had to be played closer to that region.

Instead, the remainder of the series was never played and St. John's was declared league champion.

This year, however, Beaton said action is being taken to avoid future venue confusion.

Travel wasn't so much of a concern for the other three teams in the league - the Western Kings, Central IcePak and Northern Huskies from Labrador - but to clear things for next season, the Frost are trying to make a switch before the new campaign starts on Sept. 14.

"(Tri-Pen) is trying to get Bonavista designated as their host association, but they need a letter to the league stating which association is their host," Beaton said. "Then, they can play games anywhere in their region as long as it's agreeable to the teams involved. It basically goes back to the way it was last year.

"(Tri-Pen) said they wouldn't take Labrador into Bonavista. They would play the Huskies in Bay Roberts, but all the other teams would play at least one series in Bonavista, if that's their home association."

Representatives from each of the five teams were at Saturday's meeting, in addition to Beaton and minor council chair Marilyn Dawe.

Beaton said disciplinary action could still be taken before next season by HNL against the Frost for not playing in the final after HNL ruled the games be played closer to C.B.N.

"I don't know if minor council is going to deal with that or not because refusing to play a game is the same as refusing to start play," he said. "I don't know if there will be suspensions or not.

"(The cancellation of the final) was an embarrassment because all this was publicized. Other than that, I don't think it will have a detrimental effect on the league."

bbouzane@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, Maple Leafs

Geographic location: St. John's, Bonavista, Gander Labrador Conception Bay North Bay Roberts

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