Fog Devils turned away by St. John's junior league

Kenn Oliver
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Major midget team sought entry in regular-season competition

Scratch Plan A. For now, at least. The St. John's Fog Devils, exploring options to ensure a competitive team is iced at next year's Telus Cup national major midget hockey championship, suffered a setback last week when the Kent St. John's Junior Hockey League delegates refused the team of 15- and 16-year-old players entry into the eight-team operation.

The Fog Devils won the bronze medal at this year's midget nationals in Levis, Que., only the second time a Newfoundland midget squad has medalled at Hockey Canada's premier minor hockey event.

Hockey -

Scratch Plan A. For now, at least. The St. John's Fog Devils, exploring options to ensure a competitive team is iced at next year's Telus Cup national major midget hockey championship, suffered a setback last week when the Kent St. John's Junior Hockey League delegates refused the team of 15- and 16-year-old players entry into the eight-team operation.

The Fog Devils won the bronze medal at this year's midget nationals in Levis, Que., only the second time a Newfoundland midget squad has medalled at Hockey Canada's premier minor hockey event.

Next spring, the St. John's Minor Hockey Association is staging the Telus Cup on Mile One Centre ice, and the hope is to have the Fog Devils well-prepared - or as prepared as any team can be that's losing 11 players off this year's roster.

Part of that planned preparation involved play in the local junior circuit.

But a motion to include the Foggies was defeated 9-2 by the league executive and team delegates.

Why that was is anyone's guess. Junior league president Bern Tobin isn't talking, and neither were at least two general managers - Avalon's Derrick Hutchens and Southern Shore's Mike O'Brien - when contacted by The Telegram.

Jack Casey, president of the St. John's Minor Hockey Association, the Fog Devils' host association, is also in the dark. But Casey has indicated he will be appealing to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador and depending on that outcome, might even take the case as high as Hockey Canada's appeals division.

Add Jack Lee to the list of individuals disappointed in the junior league's refusal to allow the Fog Devils into their club. Lee is Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador's Minor Council chairman, with an obvious interest in how the Fog Devils perform next year at the nationals.

"The junior league has to understand this team, in the past, has played in the league and were quite successful. I don't understand why they would reject it," Lee says.

"It would have been a good team building experience for playing at a high level in the Telus Cup next year."

In its proposal, the St. John's minor suggests that, "without consideration from the (junior league), the future for the major midget team and the 2011 Telus Cup for that matter, is in doubt."

It goes on to suggest, "the loss of the Fog Devils program will hinder the development of midget players in the region, and ultimately lower the calibre of players that participates in the St. John's junior league in future seasons."

A large part of the St. John's minor/Fog Devils proposal is based on the absence of major midget hockey next season, stating, "as it stands today, it appears that there will be no major midget hockey league in the province next season."

Lee counters there will "surely" be a major midget league next season, but not in its current format. This past season the league was limited to three teams; the Fog Devils, Central Ice Pak and the Tri Pen Frost. The Northern Huskies have been absent for two years, and the Western Subways opted out this season, leaving many to wonder how long the league could continue to exist.

"I don't think midget hockey can exist in this province the way it has in the past. It has to change," Lee says.

"Change is hard at times, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians don't accept change openly. It takes time for us to adjust to it."

He says plans, while in their infancy, are in place to restructure the league such that, "you'll see team in locations that will make it more beneficial an easier for the kids to get to."

In the meantime, the Fog Devils' junior hockey future rests with HNL's appeals committee.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Telus, Minor Hockey Association, Junior Hockey League Jack Lee Minor Council

Geographic location: St. John's, Levis, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Sick of Foggies
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    They should not be allowed to play in the Junior B league.....yes I have to say they have accomplished alot this past year and good on the boys.........I am so sick of hearing about the Fog Devils. why is there not going to be any Major Midget hockey in NL.....the fog devils....I am surprised that the Central and Tripen teams hung on this past year for as long as they did. There should be a major midget team from Mt. Pearl/CBR, a team from St. John's and then the other AAA teams from the province could compete. Pick a top team from all the AAA teams then to represent the province. All players would then get to develop as they should and the province would be represented as well. Hockey NL should handle this and get it done. Have two teams from the St. John's area and move on.

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Fog Devils are dissappointed that they never got their own way again. Typical arrogance again. Then you add the ARROGANCE of Jack Casey to the mix. Im surprised he gets any where with his attitude. Most people have a negative experience when dealing with him. The reaction we are getting from him shows his true colors.
    This is the same man who several years ago said he would see a provincial tournament in Glovertown cancelled because he could not find accomodations when they left booking it too late instead of travelling from Gambo or Gander.
    He also would not shake hands with some players during the handshake after loosing in a championship final.
    I feel bad for the kids but sometimes in life we have to be accountable for the way in which we conduct ourselves with other people. Clearly Jack is being held to task !

  • Major Midget
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    To the Executive of the St.John's Junior League, Thank You. You may have done more to help in the development of midget aged hockey players across the province in this one decision than Hockey NL has done in years.

    Everybody agrees the Major Midget league has to change, having one team dominate for so long, helps no one.

    Hopefully Hockey NL will get involved and starts looking at ways to make the league better, not just shutting it down There is no reason St.John's Metro area couldn't support at least 2 Major Midget teams. It would level out the play in the Major Midget League, to the point were teams outside of Metro could compete.

    If you look at the Halifax Metro Area there are currently 3 major midget teams.

    Its either that or the other teams across the province start there own Major Midget league. The Fog Devils can practice, go off and play in the mainland tournaments.
    The winner of the league could play the Fog Devils to see who would represent the Province in the Atlantics. I would like to know if Hockey NL would allow that......

  • Junior Hockey Fan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    To me, it makes complete sense why the Fog Devils would be rejected from the St.John's Junior League. For starters, you would have teens playing against young men. Majority of the players in the league are between the ages of 19-21. I don't know about anyone else, but I know I would have a hard time going into the corners with someone who is probably not even close to the same physical level.
    Secondly, Jack Lee states that the AAA team has played in the league before, why not again? Well the team that played previouslly in the league was based on an exhibition status only. They played each team once. They were not actually members of the league, and did not compete for a championship.
    Thirdly, the St.John's league, who play their games on the weekends would have to accommodate the scheduling around the Fog Devils as they travel around to tournaments on a regular basis.
    My last point is based on competition. There is not Major midget league this year, which was done basically so the Fog Devils could stack up this year while hosting the nationals. While this will be good for the Fog Devil's chances, this would not be good for the Junior League. There would be the best midget aged players (most who will go on to play Major Jr. or Jr A) playing in a Junior B hockey league.
    The St.John's Junior Hockey League representatives have the obligation to ensure that the league is competitive. In the last few years, the league has been extremely competitive. If you bring in a team this year, made up of the best midget players in the province, that will not improve the league. While it may improve the Fog Devils, it will not improve the quality of league play. And of those reasons, that is why I think the League rejected the proposal.

  • AAAfan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Good job SJ JR League to have enough good sense to nix this idiotic plan. Wake up Jack and get Major Midget fixed. It is easy.....2 teams from the Avalon. It's not rocket science.

    Who cares about Telus.....Jake Casey thinks he will sell out Mile One for midget hockey....dream on.

    Mainland scouts have turned their back on NL players because of the joke that HNL has allowed to happen here. Its time to fix it so there will be a future for midget hockey here.

    In Bantam in SJ there are a lot of excellent players.....several really good. Show some vision for the sake of these players. Get it done.

  • Ed.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Junior hockey fan and sick of foggies said it all. case closed.

  • Sick of Foggies
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    They should not be allowed to play in the Junior B league.....yes I have to say they have accomplished alot this past year and good on the boys.........I am so sick of hearing about the Fog Devils. why is there not going to be any Major Midget hockey in NL.....the fog devils....I am surprised that the Central and Tripen teams hung on this past year for as long as they did. There should be a major midget team from Mt. Pearl/CBR, a team from St. John's and then the other AAA teams from the province could compete. Pick a top team from all the AAA teams then to represent the province. All players would then get to develop as they should and the province would be represented as well. Hockey NL should handle this and get it done. Have two teams from the St. John's area and move on.

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Fog Devils are dissappointed that they never got their own way again. Typical arrogance again. Then you add the ARROGANCE of Jack Casey to the mix. Im surprised he gets any where with his attitude. Most people have a negative experience when dealing with him. The reaction we are getting from him shows his true colors.
    This is the same man who several years ago said he would see a provincial tournament in Glovertown cancelled because he could not find accomodations when they left booking it too late instead of travelling from Gambo or Gander.
    He also would not shake hands with some players during the handshake after loosing in a championship final.
    I feel bad for the kids but sometimes in life we have to be accountable for the way in which we conduct ourselves with other people. Clearly Jack is being held to task !

  • Major Midget
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    To the Executive of the St.John's Junior League, Thank You. You may have done more to help in the development of midget aged hockey players across the province in this one decision than Hockey NL has done in years.

    Everybody agrees the Major Midget league has to change, having one team dominate for so long, helps no one.

    Hopefully Hockey NL will get involved and starts looking at ways to make the league better, not just shutting it down There is no reason St.John's Metro area couldn't support at least 2 Major Midget teams. It would level out the play in the Major Midget League, to the point were teams outside of Metro could compete.

    If you look at the Halifax Metro Area there are currently 3 major midget teams.

    Its either that or the other teams across the province start there own Major Midget league. The Fog Devils can practice, go off and play in the mainland tournaments.
    The winner of the league could play the Fog Devils to see who would represent the Province in the Atlantics. I would like to know if Hockey NL would allow that......

  • Junior Hockey Fan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    To me, it makes complete sense why the Fog Devils would be rejected from the St.John's Junior League. For starters, you would have teens playing against young men. Majority of the players in the league are between the ages of 19-21. I don't know about anyone else, but I know I would have a hard time going into the corners with someone who is probably not even close to the same physical level.
    Secondly, Jack Lee states that the AAA team has played in the league before, why not again? Well the team that played previouslly in the league was based on an exhibition status only. They played each team once. They were not actually members of the league, and did not compete for a championship.
    Thirdly, the St.John's league, who play their games on the weekends would have to accommodate the scheduling around the Fog Devils as they travel around to tournaments on a regular basis.
    My last point is based on competition. There is not Major midget league this year, which was done basically so the Fog Devils could stack up this year while hosting the nationals. While this will be good for the Fog Devil's chances, this would not be good for the Junior League. There would be the best midget aged players (most who will go on to play Major Jr. or Jr A) playing in a Junior B hockey league.
    The St.John's Junior Hockey League representatives have the obligation to ensure that the league is competitive. In the last few years, the league has been extremely competitive. If you bring in a team this year, made up of the best midget players in the province, that will not improve the league. While it may improve the Fog Devils, it will not improve the quality of league play. And of those reasons, that is why I think the League rejected the proposal.

  • AAAfan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Good job SJ JR League to have enough good sense to nix this idiotic plan. Wake up Jack and get Major Midget fixed. It is easy.....2 teams from the Avalon. It's not rocket science.

    Who cares about Telus.....Jake Casey thinks he will sell out Mile One for midget hockey....dream on.

    Mainland scouts have turned their back on NL players because of the joke that HNL has allowed to happen here. Its time to fix it so there will be a future for midget hockey here.

    In Bantam in SJ there are a lot of excellent players.....several really good. Show some vision for the sake of these players. Get it done.

  • Ed.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Junior hockey fan and sick of foggies said it all. case closed.