Senior hockey meltdown in Harbour Grace

Royals-CeeBees game called after ice-cleaning machine malfunctions, melts swath of ice

Telegram Sports
Published on January 20, 2014

The Western Royals’ Darren Langdon backhands a puck on C.B.N. CeeBee Stars goaltender Roger Kennedy as CeeBees defenceman Donnie Gosse looks on during the team’s Newfoundland Senior Hockey League game Saturday night in Harbour Grace. The CeeBees won 4-3. Sunday’s rematch was called after the first period when the ice cleaning machine malfunctioned, melting ice.

©— Photo by Nick Mercer/The Compass

Game called on account of mechanical failure.
That was the story in Harbour Grace Sunday afternoon after a problems with the Zamboni at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium led to the cancellation of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NLSHL) game between the visiting Western Royals and Conception Bay North Eastlink CeeBee Stars.

The CeeBees were leading 1-0 after 20 minutes, but propane tanks malfunctioned on the ice-cleaning machine while it was doing its work during the first intermission. Hot water spilled onto the ice in front of one of the goals, creating a large hole that could not be fully repaired, despite the best efforts of arena staff.

There had been discussion between the two teams about the possibility of holding a shootout at the other end of the ice to decide the game, and players had prepared for just that, but the shootout never went ahead.

“After contacting HNL (Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador), it was informed that would not be the correct thing to do under the protocol of HNL and Hockey Canada rules,” CeeBees’ president Nick Saunders told The Compass.

Saunders said a meeting is being arranged, one that will involve the CeeBees’ executive, town officials and the facilities manager to discuss the situation and what can be done about it.

“The meeting will go over the best way to rectify it with regards to is there make up games to be had here? There a portion of the game to be made up,” he said. “If not, what’s the protocol for refunds?

“We just need to take our time, not be hasty in making decisions, find out what the protocol is in this situation and carry it out.”

Saunders also said the club will be seeking advice of the NLSHL executive, as well as that of HNL.

“This will be in an effort to determine what happens immediately on the remaining two periods,” he said. “Do we wait until season end to see if the outcome of the game will have any effect any standings of the two teams?

“Again, there are a lot of questions that we have … that fans have and eventually they will all be answered, but unfortunately, in this short time frame on Sunday afternoon, we can’t get them all answered.”

Western coach Ed Kearsey wasn’t sure of what would happen as a result of the incident, but did tell The Western Star that he believes the Royals should be awarded the points because the home team has to take responsibility for what happened.

The game was the second of two between the teams at Harbour Grace. On Saturday night, the CeeBees won 4-3.

In other results Sunday, the last-place Gander Flyers upset the Clarenville Caribous 4-3 in a shootout at the Clarenville Events Centre, while at the Glacier in Mount Pearl, the league-leading Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts edged the H.J. Bartlett Electric Mount Pearl Blades 4-3.


Flyers 4, Caribous 3 (Sunday)

In the shootout, Sean Wadden and Peter Campbell scored for Gander, while Andrew Sweetland was the only Caribou to beat Flyers’ goalie Patrick O’Brien.

Campbell, Chad Locke and James Keough, with his first-ever NLSHL goal, scored in regulation for Gander less than 24 hours after the Flyers had been walloped 8-1 by the ‘Bous. Sweetland, Kenny Mahoney and Chad Earle replied for Clarenville.


Cataracts 5, Blades 3 (Sunday)

A.J. Whiffen stopped 40 shots, while league-leading scorer Rob Hennigar had two goals and two assists to lead Grand Falls-Windsor at the Glacier.

Michael Brent, Andrew Brennan and Cam Fergus also scored for the first-place Cats, while Ryan Graham, Chris Mooney and Spencer Jezegou replied for Mount Pearl, which was playing its third game in less than three days, but did outshoot the visitors 43-30.

The result leaves Grand Falls-Windsor two points up on the second-place Caribous in the league’s overall standings.


CeeBees 4, Royals 3 (Saturday)

Matt Bragg scored the game-winner for the home team at 3:57 of third period just five seconds after Zach Firlotte tied the game with a power-play goal for the Royals.

Colin Feehan, who also had two assists, Matt Quinn and Ray Dalton had the other goals for the CeeBees, while Chris Peach and Michael Hynes also tallied for the Royals.


Caribous 8, Flyers 1 (Saturday)

At Clarenville, Terry Ryan, with two goals and an assist, and Earle, with a goal and two helpers and Ryan Desrosiers, with three assists all had three-point games to lead the way offensively for the winners

Mahoney, Sweetland, Mitchell Oake, Nick Croft and Stephen Oates also tallied for the Caribous, while Locke, with the game’s first goal, was the only Gander player to score.


Cataracts 7, Blades 3 (Saturday)

Brandon Bussey and Brennan both had two goals for Grand Falls-Windsor in the game played at the Glacier.

Fergus, Gill and Andrew Pearcey also had markers for the visitors, who chased Blades starting goalie Doug Jewer midway through the contest after Jewer had given up six goals.

Steve Bailey, Steve Tilley and Paul Roebothan scored for Mount Pearl.


Blades 5, CeeBees 4 (Friday)

At the Glacier, in a make-up game for one cancelled earlier this month during the power outages, the CeeBees led 3-2 early in the third period, but Mount Pearl got three goals in just over four minutes from Mooney, Jezegou and Jeremy Nicholas to secure the win.

Steve Yetman and Paul Hutchings also scored for the Blades, who got 47 saves from goalie Ryan Mior.

Jordan Escott, Ben Duffy, Tyler Gale and Quinn scored for the CeeBees. Amazingly, all four of the goals came shorthanded.


With files from The Compass and The Western Star