Provincial association to look at realignment of metro area

Robin
Robin Short
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But Southland minor players will remain in Mount Pearl system this season

Fifty or so kids from the Southlands section of St. John's will continue playing their minor hockey in Mount Pearl this season.

That was the decision at Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) fall meeting over the weekend, but the governing body for hockey within the province will be striking an independent committee to investigate realigning the eight minor hockey associations on the northeast Avalon Peninsula.

Fifty or so kids from the Southlands section of St. John's will continue playing their minor hockey in Mount Pearl this season.

That was the decision at Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) fall meeting over the weekend, but the governing body for hockey within the province will be striking an independent committee to investigate realigning the eight minor hockey associations on the northeast Avalon Peninsula.

The issue involving the Southlands' players was one of the more interesting sidebars coming out of the HNL meeting in Gander.

The St. John's and Mount Pearl minor hockey associations are locking horns over the players, or more to the point, which city's association owns their rights.

Southlands is a relatively new housing development wedged between Mount Pearl and Goulds, but one that falls within the boundaries of St. John's. A large majority of the area's children, however, attend school and play their sports in Mount Pearl.

St. John's insists the players sign with St. John's minor; Mount Pearl contends the players should continue playing in its minor hockey association.

Mount Pearl president Paul Fifield said Sunday night St. John's minor's wish goes against an agreement signed in 2000 by the two associations allowing the Southlands players to play their minor hockey in the Blades' system.

"It's not even a little bit fair," Fifield said. "These kids attend school in Mount Pearl, their friends are in Mount Pearl, everything they do is in Mount Pearl.

"To force them to drive past two rinks (Glacier and Smallwood Drive Arena) to play in St. John's against their friends is one of the most uncaring things St. John's (minor hockey) could do," added Fifield.

According to Jack Casey, president of the St. John's Minor Hockey Association, the largest of its kind in the province, that 2000 agreement, "is not worth the paper its written on.

"Mr. Fifield was told that by Mr. Gerry Evans (Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador president)," Casey said. "It was never filed with the HNL office.

"These kids played hockey in Mount Pearl at the grace of St. John's."

Casey has argued there were but a dozen players five or six years ago in Southlands playing in the Mount Pearl system. Since then, the number has climbed to 50 or more, which would be 10 per cent of the 500-member St. John's association.

"Mr. Fifield has not been very professional about this," Casey said. "He's making it way too personal... it's not my intention to make it personal.

"I mean, how many kids from Paradise go to school in Mount Pearl, but have to go all the way to Kelligrews for a game of hockey? There are all kinds of disparities, the result of minor hockey systems that were formed in the 1960s and 70s. Now the reality is we have more rinks and more players playing.

"So I think it's a great idea that HNL is looking at realigning the minor hockey system... the best outcome in all of this."

Currently, there are eight minor hockey associations on the northeast Avalon - St. John's, Mount Pearl, Avalon-Celtics, Conception Bay Regional, Goulds, Northeast, Southern Shore and Bell Island.

Regardless of any outcome that may come as a result of the committee's findings, Fifield said the message he's received from parents of the Southlands' parents is loud and clear.

"When we let parents know what was going on, about 90 per cent of them sent emails indicating they would absolutely refuse to have their kids play in St. John's minor," he said.

"They'd sell their house if they had to."

rshort@thetelegram.com




OTHER POINTS PONDERED AT HNL FALL MEETING

Other points dealt with at the fall meeting of Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador adopted a policy that there will be no select teams, tournaments or leagues for players at the novice division, which is seven- and eight-year-olds.
The 2009 Veitch Memorial Championship for the provincial junior title will run from March 26-29 in Grand Falls-Windsor. The tournament will be a four team round robin.
It's confirmed: the Labatt Avalon East Senior Hockey League will expand to five teams with the additions of Bell Island and Mount Pearl. They join C.B.N., Southern Shore and Torbay. The West Coast League will continue with a four-team league - Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Grand Falls-Windsor and Clarenville.
The minor hockey associations participated in a workshop on the new Ice Time Allocation policy to discuss possible amendments. The policy was created to ensure that all players regardless of skill level were getting equal opportunities to play.

Organizations: Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, Minor Hockey Association, Labatt Avalon East Senior Hockey League West Coast League

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, St. John's, Southlands Avalon Goulds Gander Bell Island Kelligrews Grand Falls-Windsor Torbay Corner Brook Deer Lake Grand Falls Clarenville

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Recent comments

  • Kids First..
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I have no child involved in Minor Hockey but I must voice my opinion.

    The MP arguement seems more than reasonable to me. Why make these children travel such distance to participate in our great game. Shame on SJ Minor Hockey!! If Paradise players have to travel to Kelligrews then that is wrong as well.

    If the decision is in favor of SJ, I assume the players will be directed to the Goulds rink as it is the next closest..

    I see more than 'kids best interest' at work here. With the price of gas and increased demands on our time, I would be outraged if I was a hockey parent in Southlands. Time for Mr Casey to put himself in this situtaion and see what makes more sense..

    Kids First...

  • Kids First..
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I have no child involved in Minor Hockey but I must voice my opinion.

    The MP arguement seems more than reasonable to me. Why make these children travel such distance to participate in our great game. Shame on SJ Minor Hockey!! If Paradise players have to travel to Kelligrews then that is wrong as well.

    If the decision is in favor of SJ, I assume the players will be directed to the Goulds rink as it is the next closest..

    I see more than 'kids best interest' at work here. With the price of gas and increased demands on our time, I would be outraged if I was a hockey parent in Southlands. Time for Mr Casey to put himself in this situtaion and see what makes more sense..

    Kids First...