CORNER BROOK The Corner Brook Royals will no longer call Corner Brook home. Its new incarnation, the Western Royals, will be based in Deer Lake for the 2012-2013 season.
Ross Coates has had sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep the Royals afloat in the provincial senior hockey league. The club president watched his team lose money for a couple of years due to the cost of operating out of the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook, he says.
He said he was left with the option of folding the franchise or finding a less expensive venue to call home.
In the end, Coates has decided to write another chapter in senior hockey history by playing home games out of the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex. Coates struck a deal with the Town of Deer Lake for the 2012-2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League.
‚ÄúThe arena is just too big and too expensive to fund a senior hockey team there,‚ÄĚ Coates said Tuesday. ‚ÄúThis was a great building when we had it for the Canada Games, but the unfortunate part for any local senior sports team, or anything to survive here, is that the cost to operate that building for a night far exceeds any other building around.‚ÄĚ
Coates had a meeting with Pepsi Centre general manager Will Smith back in July to see if he could get a better deal to keep the team in Corner Brook, but things never worked out. Coates says Smith came back with a little bit of a better offer than the previous year, but it wasn‚Äôt enough for Coates to give it another whirl in the city.
We'll be following this story in Thursday's print edition.