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President says West Coast Senior Hockey League future uncertain in Newfoundland

Dave Bruce
Dave Bruce
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Despite some rough patches and an uncertain future, the West Coast Senior Hockey League is hoping to have a great finale to this season.

The three-team league has finished its regular season, even though not all the teams have played the same number of games.

There is also some concern about the league's autonomy, particularly when it comes to handling disciplinary action.

Dave Bruce of Corner Brook, who has assumed the league presidency from Ziggy Snook, said the league’s future will clearly be in doubt if its board of directors does not have autonomy over the league's operation.

Bruce was referring to a recent incident where Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador overruled a three-game suspension given to a Deer Lake Red Wing player and reduced it to one game.

“When that was done, it was a dark day for our league,” Bruce said.


“The West Coast Senior Hockey League feels its autonomy was squashed.”


He said the league has a memorandum of association, which is its constitution, giving the league powers for such things as setting up a discipline committee, issuing suspensions, establishing an appeals committee and others.

“Basically, the league did what it felt it had the authority to do and, when HNL got involved, the league felt HNL was clearly out of line,” Bruce said. “The West Coast Senior Hockey League feels its autonomy was squashed.”

Craig Tulk, executive director of HNL, said the organization recognizes the West Coast Senior Hockey League has jurisdiction to make suspensions, but any player on any hockey team that falls under the HNL umbrella has a right to appeal to the provincial body on a particular incident.

That is what happened in this case, said Tulk, and the HNL appeals board made a ruling.

Bruce feels the league should have been given the authority to deal with the appeal first, rather than HNL.

"HNL should have said that appeal has to be heard by the league, not by them; and that’s where the wrong was,” he said.

Perry Compton, general manager for the Deer Lake Red Wings, said Ryan Penney has served his suspension and he didn’t want to make any further comment on that issue.

“We have a full contingent, everyone’s healthy despite some injuries during the year and now we can’t wait for the playoffs to start,” he said.


"We can’t wait for the playoffs to start."


Meanwhile, the league has decided to conclude its regular season without playing three games, all of which involve the Port aux Basques Mariners.

Two makeup games between the Corner Brook Royals and the Port aux Basques Mariners have been cancelled due to injuries. The Royals couldn’t ice the required roster for these two games, so they’ll go into the books as victories for Port aux Basques.

A make-up game between Port aux Basques at Deer Lake also slated to be held this weekend could not be played as no ice time was available. Neither team will be credited for a win or loss.

The games won't be made up because the results will not affect the final standings, nor the playoff format.

A double round-robin playoff will start Feb. 21 and run until March 7, with each team hosting the other teams on their home ice for one game apiece. The top two teams after those six games will then square off in a best-of-seven final series.

frank.gale@thewesternstar.com

@western_star

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