Mount Pearl and Conception Bay North are welcome to make application to the Avalon East Senior Hockey League for next season, but if they are accepted it will be on the league’s terms.
“It’s not a question of turning them down,” said Avalon East Senior Hockey League vice president Joe Maynard. “It’s a case of if they fit our criteria or not.”
The two teams were left out in the cold when a new Central West Senior Hockey League was given the official go-ahead at last weekend’s Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) annual general meeting in Gander.
In any case, Maynard said neither the Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades nor the C.B.N. Eastlink CeeBee Stars have indicated they are interested in re-joining the league they left behind to join the now defunct Newfoundland Senior Hockey League when it debuted in the fall of 2011.
Following their departures, both teams took the AESHL to small claims court over their share of profits from the 2010-11 season, the bulk of which was generated by Herder final games held at Mile One Centre in St. John's. The two teams had received $10,000 payouts at the end of both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
Despite the AESHL’s argument that the money was meant to be used to defray the costs associated with the next season, assuming the teams stayed within the circuit, and since both left for the NLSHL, the league contended they were not entitled to any payout, provincial court judge David Orr sided with the CeeBees and the Blades. A subsequent appeal on the part of the AESHL was denied.
Maynard went on to point out that there were no representatives from either organization at the recent HNL meeting, “so there was nothing was done about those two teams. There was no discussion at all.”
Maynard said his league would consider an application from anybody but it would have to fit the league’s criteria which, among other things, does not include paying players.
“Ours is a competitive, fun league,” said Maynard. “There are no imports or paid players. Players play for the love of the game. That’s the way we like it and it isn’t going to change. We had a really good hockey league last year,” noted Maynard. “Our playoffs were very competitive and the players enjoyed it.”
The Avalon league VP noted it says in the constitution the league exists to promote hockey.
“The most we gave our players last year was a hockey stick. They probably went through four or five but we gave them one free one. That’s all we could afford. That was their Christmas gift.”
Maynard said individual players from Mount Pearl and Conception Bay North are welcome in the league, should their respective clubs opt not to rejoin, but they have to go through the league draft in mid-October.
“The way we have it set up is the teams in our league take players from their minor hockey system and junior teams. Other than that, players from this province or out of province, go into the draft.
“Mount Pearl has more players that fit our criteria in that they have a minor program and a junior team. I don’t know how many players the CeeBees might have that would fit that criteria,” said Maynard. “I mean if Keith and Ryan Delaney wanted to play in our league they’d fit in because they are from that (North River, Bay Roberts) area.”
The current Avalon league setup includes the Northeast Eagles, St. John’s Toyota Plaza Caps, Southern Shore Pugliesvich Breakers and Bell Island Family Drug Mart Blues.
In the meantime, Maynard confirmed Trinity-Placentia has applied to enter the league this season and their application will be looked when the executive meets in the coming weeks.
The new Central West Senior Hockey League includes the Western Royals, Grand Fall-Windsor Cataracts, Gander Flyers and Clarenville Caribous, who are playing host to the Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey championship next spring.