Blades drop out of senior hockey

Darcy MacRae
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SENIOR HOCKEY

The Avalon East Senior Hockey League will have just three teams this season, creating a situation league president Joe Maynard says is less than ideal.

In fact, Maynard comes close to admitting the Avalon East must add a fourth team by next season if it wants to survive.

The Avalon East Senior Hockey League will have just three teams this season, creating a situation league president Joe Maynard says is less than ideal.

In fact, Maynard comes close to admitting the Avalon East must add a fourth team by next season if it wants to survive.

"As a league, we can't afford to operate with three teams. Four is bad enough, but three is ridiculous," said Maynard. "There is a concern (about the long-term health of the Avalon East league). It's a major thing, we have to get it done (adding a fourth team)."

The Mount Pearl Senior Blades told the Avalon East late last week they would not ice a team this year due to a shortage of players. The club tried to round up enough bodies to put a team together, but in the end was barely able to get a dozen players to commit to a winter of senior hockey. The news is surprising to some since Mount Pearl annually produces quality teams for the St. John's Junior Hockey League, often getting more than 35 players out to tryouts before ultimately picking the best 23 to start the season with.

No one seems to know exactly where these players go once they graduate from junior, but it seems clear they don't go on to play senior hockey in Mount Pearl.

Move away

Maynard said some of the players move to the mainland for school or work, while others end up playing for clubs in the West Coast Senior Hockey League. Others, Maynard said, simply drop the game all together once their junior days come to an end.

"With the best rink (the Glacier) in the area besides Mile One, it's shocking there won't be any senior hockey in Mount Pearl," said Maynard.

The Avalon East president added it's a shame the senior Blades aren't back this year since they appeared to make strides as an organization last season.

Lost stars

For much of the 2006-07 campaign Mount Pearl battled for second place with Southern Shore, ultimately finishing just one point back in third. The Blades also appeared to have a good nucleus of players, including league scoring champ Terry Ryan, left winger Jason Hedges, rugged forward Todd Gillingham and goalie Graham Cook.

However, Maynard said most of Mount Pearl's top players weren't available this year for various reasons, leaving the Blades permanently short handed.

"The team was built around those guys but they've either moved away or retired. And (Mount Pearl) isn't getting the graduating junior players to come out," Maynard explained.

According to the league president, there is hope Mount Pearl could rejoin the Avalon East next season and even if it doesn't, he's confident the league will have a fourth team playing somewhere on the Avalon by the fall of 2008.

"We're hoping maybe new management will take over (the Blades), maybe someone who was involved with the junior program, and try to get it started again next year," said Maynard.

"I'm going to say we'll have a fourth team next year. If it doesn't work out with Mount Pearl, if they don't come back ... I don't want to say too much, but we have a couple of irons in the fire."

The league's remaining three teams, the Southern Shore Breakers, C.B.N. Stars and Torbay Steelers, will play a 20-game schedule, beginning Oct. 27 in Harbour Grace when Southern Shore visits C.B.N. The players Mount Pearl did have signed for this season will go into a dispersal draft soon, although only five or six may end up playing in the Avalon East this year, according to Maynard

dmacrae@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Junior Hockey League, West Coast Senior Hockey League

Geographic location: Avalon East, Mount Pearl, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Are you really foolish enough to think that teams don't pay players in the East? Haha. That's a good one. Money is not supposed to be exchanged in amateur sport, but here in Sr. hockey, it is. Not all players are being paid in the East but I know for a fact that there are a number of guys getting paid. Look at three quarters of the CBN roster.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Honestly this is the Cee Bees fault, if all those players that were with Flatrock when they folded were dispersed fairly in a draft instead of most of them jumping ship to Harbor Grace, we would of had a lot more parity in the league and probably could have 3, if not 4 strong teams with all round better more competitive hockey today, so its funny that the best team is going to cause the demise of the league. And maybe if the Cee Bees stopped paying most of their players, some of these players would be with other teams in the East and could have some parity and more fans for all the teams.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Some times people get what they deserve nl does not end inside of the over pass. come on clarenville

  • Darren
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    It was only a matter of time that another team folded in the Avalon East. Who really wants to play on teams that can not compete for the title....CBN are a stacked team and everyone in the league knows it which is why they all try and go there or not play at all. As for Clarenville playing in the east...things would have to change. For one they wouldnt be able to pay players directly like they do in the West Coast League as there is a rule in the east against paying players but as we all know it isnt enforced. If they cant pay there players like they do in the west then they to will lose players. It all comes back to players getting paid to play local hockey and not all teams being able to do it. Team are not on the same level to start with so how can you have a competitive league. Everyone knows right now that the CBees will be in the Herder. The only question with them is will they lose a game this year.

  • Paul R
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    They could of had 5 last year but sent Clarenville to the west coast, its there own fault cause teams would not travel to Clarenville, and from what I hear, they even hate going as far as Harbour Grace. Gotta get over the mind set that NL ends outside St. John's.

  • jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    as a former coach in the avalon east and avalon west leagues it doesn't surprise me at all. In the last 11 or 12 yrs. there has been no parity between teams and not enough guts from executive to try and ensure that that is what needs to be focused on in order to have a continued successful league. When players refuse to play on teams which hold their rights,as harsh as it sounds they should not be allowed to play for other teams. Until that is enforced there will never be solid competition in each game. When Flatrock folded and they allowed all those players to join harbour grace it was a joke. The concern for league parity or for other struggling teams was obviously not a priority and this is just one example of many. This league will fold without some tough strong leadership who will not bend for the local stars that really call the shots.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I guess the executive should of thought about that when they sent The Caribous packing to the west coast. Time for some new blood at the top who can see beyond the overpass!

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I think Bell Island would be a great choice to be added to the league. For the past 11-12 years they have had decent Junior teams with great leadership in management and in the early years they were always able to ice competitive Senior teams. Would be nice to travel to the Island for a Senior game next year.

  • Darren
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It was only a matter of time that another team folded in the Avalon East. Who really wants to play on teams that can not compete for the title....CBN are a stacked team and everyone in the league knows it which is why they all try and go there or not play at all. As for Clarenville playing in the east...things would have to change. For one they wouldnt be able to pay players directly like they do in the West Coast League as there is a rule in the east against paying players but as we all know it isnt enforced. If they cant pay there players like they do in the west then they to will lose players. It all comes back to players getting paid to play local hockey and not all teams being able to do it. Team are not on the same level to start with so how can you have a competitive league. Everyone knows right now that the CBees will be in the Herder. The only question with them is will they lose a game this year.

  • Wilson
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    It's too bad that the Avalon East Coast League is down to 3 teams. They made a bad decision by not letting Clarenville in the league last year. The same bad decision that the West Coast League made a couple of years ago, when they wouldn't let Stephenville in the league. I think there's a good possibility that Stephenville would still be in today. As for paid players, yes the west may be paying players, but you see, on the west coast, they don't have the population to produce competitive senior hockey teams to compete for the herder. Why do you think the Herder was played for on the east coast only for 10 years or so. Look at the Deer Lake Red Wings. Playing in a town of 4400. As long as they can keep doing what their doing to put a competitive team on the ice for their fans ( best hockey fans in the province ) they'll do it. It's time for those in charge of the east coast league to wake up and get with the times. The days of local pond hockey is over, the fans just won't come out & support it.

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Are you really foolish enough to think that teams don't pay players in the East? Haha. That's a good one. Money is not supposed to be exchanged in amateur sport, but here in Sr. hockey, it is. Not all players are being paid in the East but I know for a fact that there are a number of guys getting paid. Look at three quarters of the CBN roster.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Honestly this is the Cee Bees fault, if all those players that were with Flatrock when they folded were dispersed fairly in a draft instead of most of them jumping ship to Harbor Grace, we would of had a lot more parity in the league and probably could have 3, if not 4 strong teams with all round better more competitive hockey today, so its funny that the best team is going to cause the demise of the league. And maybe if the Cee Bees stopped paying most of their players, some of these players would be with other teams in the East and could have some parity and more fans for all the teams.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Some times people get what they deserve nl does not end inside of the over pass. come on clarenville

  • Darren
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    It was only a matter of time that another team folded in the Avalon East. Who really wants to play on teams that can not compete for the title....CBN are a stacked team and everyone in the league knows it which is why they all try and go there or not play at all. As for Clarenville playing in the east...things would have to change. For one they wouldnt be able to pay players directly like they do in the West Coast League as there is a rule in the east against paying players but as we all know it isnt enforced. If they cant pay there players like they do in the west then they to will lose players. It all comes back to players getting paid to play local hockey and not all teams being able to do it. Team are not on the same level to start with so how can you have a competitive league. Everyone knows right now that the CBees will be in the Herder. The only question with them is will they lose a game this year.

  • Paul R
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    They could of had 5 last year but sent Clarenville to the west coast, its there own fault cause teams would not travel to Clarenville, and from what I hear, they even hate going as far as Harbour Grace. Gotta get over the mind set that NL ends outside St. John's.

  • jim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    as a former coach in the avalon east and avalon west leagues it doesn't surprise me at all. In the last 11 or 12 yrs. there has been no parity between teams and not enough guts from executive to try and ensure that that is what needs to be focused on in order to have a continued successful league. When players refuse to play on teams which hold their rights,as harsh as it sounds they should not be allowed to play for other teams. Until that is enforced there will never be solid competition in each game. When Flatrock folded and they allowed all those players to join harbour grace it was a joke. The concern for league parity or for other struggling teams was obviously not a priority and this is just one example of many. This league will fold without some tough strong leadership who will not bend for the local stars that really call the shots.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I guess the executive should of thought about that when they sent The Caribous packing to the west coast. Time for some new blood at the top who can see beyond the overpass!

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I think Bell Island would be a great choice to be added to the league. For the past 11-12 years they have had decent Junior teams with great leadership in management and in the early years they were always able to ice competitive Senior teams. Would be nice to travel to the Island for a Senior game next year.

  • Darren
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    It was only a matter of time that another team folded in the Avalon East. Who really wants to play on teams that can not compete for the title....CBN are a stacked team and everyone in the league knows it which is why they all try and go there or not play at all. As for Clarenville playing in the east...things would have to change. For one they wouldnt be able to pay players directly like they do in the West Coast League as there is a rule in the east against paying players but as we all know it isnt enforced. If they cant pay there players like they do in the west then they to will lose players. It all comes back to players getting paid to play local hockey and not all teams being able to do it. Team are not on the same level to start with so how can you have a competitive league. Everyone knows right now that the CBees will be in the Herder. The only question with them is will they lose a game this year.

  • Wilson
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    It's too bad that the Avalon East Coast League is down to 3 teams. They made a bad decision by not letting Clarenville in the league last year. The same bad decision that the West Coast League made a couple of years ago, when they wouldn't let Stephenville in the league. I think there's a good possibility that Stephenville would still be in today. As for paid players, yes the west may be paying players, but you see, on the west coast, they don't have the population to produce competitive senior hockey teams to compete for the herder. Why do you think the Herder was played for on the east coast only for 10 years or so. Look at the Deer Lake Red Wings. Playing in a town of 4400. As long as they can keep doing what their doing to put a competitive team on the ice for their fans ( best hockey fans in the province ) they'll do it. It's time for those in charge of the east coast league to wake up and get with the times. The days of local pond hockey is over, the fans just won't come out & support it.