Archive for February, 2010
The 2009-2010 WCSHL final has been set as both the Grand Falls Windsor Cataracts and Clarenville Caribous advance, sweeping their opponents in 4 straight games in the opening round of the playoffs.
The final is shaping up to be a battle of 2 fast skating and talented teams that were seperated by mere points after battling for first place in the regular season.
Stay tuned for some great hockey on the road to the Herder Memorial Championship.
The Corner Brook Royals and the Deer Lake Red Wings were both swept in their playoff series in the 2009-2010 edition of the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
The Corner Brook Royals exit in 4-straight comes as no surprise after they finished last in the regular season and failed to live up to expectations throughout the entire season. After some early season successes, many critics and fans alike thought that this would be the year the Corner Brook Royals returned to the top of their game. It was however, never meant to be.
Stars such as Morgan Warren and Terry Ryan did very little throughout the season, leaving the Royals struggling offensively. While other players tried to pick up the slack, the Royals were unable to get any momentum going throughout the season and into the playoffs.
Topping it off, the Royals lost their coach Juan Strickland for the last 2 games of the season after he was suspended by HNL for comments made in The Western Star, questioning the treatment of Royals toughman Roger Maxwell.
The exit of the Deer Lake Red Wings came as a surprise to many fans but not to others. The Deer Lake Red Wings struggled the entire year with their lineup often playing short-benched throughout the regular season. Their defense was also recognized as one of the weakest in the league.
Questions surrounding these two organizations are surfacing in the wake of their early exit from the playoffs. Will this be the last year for the Royals? Will Deer Lake fold if the Royals are not in the league.
Time will tell.
Rumours abound that Juan Strickland, coach of the Corner Brook Royals has received a one-year suspension for his recent comments in The Western Star. Not only has HNL supposedly handed down a suspension but they have also removed him as the technical directory of the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association.
Other sources are indicating that the suspension has nothing to do with the statements in The Western Star but deals with abuse of officials and conduct at the Clarenville Events Centre during their series with the Bous.
Coming from multiple sources there is obviously something happening with Juan Strickland.
If the rumours are true Juan Strickland has received on of the harshest suspensions handed down in recent hockey history here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland Hockey Talk has to ask does the punishment fit the “crime”?
Juan Strickland should be ashamed for making those comments or even suggesting his player is receiving unfair treatment because of his skin color. In making such accusations, Strickland has crossed a line.
The outrage expressed by many Royals fans and many hockey fans in general has supposedly caused HNL to step up and deal with the issue.
And while the issue of racism is appalling and disgusting but this doesn’t seem to make sense that HNL would hand down a one-year suspension for that. While hinted at in the story, there’s no outright accusation of racism, just questions posed by Strickland wondering why there appears to be unfair treatment of his player.
The more likely scenario any suspension would have more to do with the alleged abuse of officials and conduct at the CEC. It would make more sense, especially if the HNL has stepped in and removed Strickland from his post with the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association.
Even if this is the case, one would have to question HNL’s right to do this.
Both the HNL and Corner Brook Royals have been contacted to provide details on this supposed suspension. No response has yet been received.
Until any official comment is made, this is still all rumour and speculation.
Dave Kearsey of The Western Star continually amazes me. Here is the sports editor of our beloved newspaper asking “What’s wrong with the Corner Brook Royals?” in his most recent article and his conclusion – “There is nothing wrong with the Corner Brook Royals”.
His thoughts that the regular season means nothing reminds me of a statement made about the Titanic before she set sail – “She’s unsinkable” – but I guess we know how that story ended right?
Dave Kearsey should know better. Here is a gentleman that has played competitive sports all his life and he wants the readers to believe that the Corner Brook Royals players don’t “try” each regular season game because the games mean nothing?
Anyone who has played sports at any level will tell you that they go out to win. They give it their all and they want to walk away with the victory. It isn’t about how you played the game, as Dave apparently wants us to believe. It is about winning and the Corner Brook Royals go out game after game trying to win.
There is no “conspiracy” in how the league is setup; there is no half-hearted attempt to go through the motions during regular season and then turning it on for the playoffs.
Obviously, that isn’t the case is it now Mr. Keasey? The Royals got dominated by the Clarenville Caribous during the first two games of their playoff series. The Royals’ players obviously weren’t going through the motions. They played and were beaten by a better team who had concentrated on improving their game throughout the regular season!
Strangely enough, Dave Kearsey wants us to believe that there was nothing wrong with the Corner Brook Royals but suggests that Terry Ryan and Morgan Warren don’t show more than they had in the regular season “this series would be over in a hurry”. Obviously if these two star players on the Corner Brook Royals were not performing there is something wrong with the Corner Brook Royals!
Does anyone honestly believe that the Corner Brook Royals will beat the Clarenville Caribous?
Yes, I do agree that the “unexpected” could be the Corner Brook Royals stunning the Caribous as Dave so colourfully puts it in his article. It could also mean the Toronto Maple Leafs is going to win the Stanley Cup this season.
It just isn’t happening Dave.
As we know, the Titanic did sink and to be perfectly honest, most fans around town do expect the Corner Brook Royals to be swept this weekend.
After weekend one of the West Coast Senior Hockey League playoffs it’s evident both the Corner Brook Royals and Deer Lake Red Wings are feeling the pressure falling 2-0 in their best of 7 series during their opening round battle.
Reports coming from Clarenville indicates the Royals looked ragged in their first game, trying to be physical but ended up making mistakes, taking dumb penalties and eventually losing 8-3 in game one. One fan from Corner Brook sent an email to Newfoundland Hockey Talk stating “It was embarrassing to watch. Our guys didn’t even show up to play.”
Game two was a different story. The Royals jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and appeared to have a different plan of attack. Several stupid penalties later (while some fans will say several questionable calls later), the Caribous were in the lead and never looked back.
The same can be said for the Wings / Cataracts series. The once mighty Wings lost 4-1 in the opening game and could get nothing going offensively. They had some chances but looked disorganized at times. Their defense struggled throughout the game and leaving many scratching their head.
In game two, the Cataracts dominated with a 9-2 victory. It was evident early on that the Wings were in trouble.
If things keep going this way, it is very evident the West will be won through speed and skill. The Royals and the Wings have built their team around size and aggression but it doesn’t appear to be working in the new era that has come into the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
The Caribous and the Cataracts have definitely changed the face of the league combining speed and skill throughout their lineups and acquiring just enough grit to protect some of their top players. Both organizations have held true to their commitments given to fans to have winning ways.
The Caribous set the bar when they entered the league. They ushered in this new era that we are seeing. Their players came with one thing in mind – winning! This organization built a solid team on the ice with young up-and-coming players, strong goaltending, experienced coaching and community support.
The Cataracts followed suit, cleaned house of the “old guard” and dumped those that didn’t buy into the new program. Despite outcries from fans, the management and coaching staff held true to what they felt was required to build a quality organization.
This season’s success is proof that it worked and the Cataracts are now poised to probably sweep the Wings.
Weekend two of the playoffs is just a few days away. It will be interesting to see how Deer Lake and Corner Brook regroup on home ice.
The Wings and the Royals need to get their heads into the game and play smart hockey. They can ill afford to take stupid penalties or blame their losses on the refs.
While the Wings have struggled all season with icing a full lineup and a struggling defense, there is still hope as they head back to Deer Lake next weekend – its haven when it comes to fan support and success. There’s no doubting the heart that this organization has shown throughout their successful history.
The Royals are a different story. This organization has struggled for several seasons. They have what appears to be a pretty solid team on paper but have made what many fans have deemed as “mistakes” when it comes to their import cards. Plus, the back-office disarray and behind the scenes squabbles continue to plague this organization.
For success, the Royals are going to have to keep their imports on the ice, not in the penalty box. Even the die-hard fans of this organization are talking about how their imports are spending more time off the ice than on. It just isn’t working.
While the Wings do have what it takes to turn it around, the verdict is still out on the Royals. One thing is for sure, both teams had better come with their heads in the game or they will be watching the games from the sidelines!
Darren Colbourne has been a hockey player nearly all his life. He’s dedicated many hours to the game we all love and watching him play throughout his career in the West Coast Senior Hockey League was a treat.
Last season Darren’s career seemed to be all but over as he left the Corner Brook Royals and hung up his skates – marking the end to a very colorful and successful career as a hockey player.
A leader both on and office the ice, Darren gave it his all and his passion for the game showed through. Unfortunately, in his last year as a Corner Brook Royal, the organization tossed him into a role that was not fitting for the leader that Darren Colbourne is.
Today I had a brief opportunity to chat with Darren while he was sitting at lunch with his son. I’ve known Darren for some time and it’s always a pleasure to talk with him and to hear the passion for the game come out in his voice.
I asked him about him signing with the Clarenville Caribous in their quest for the Allan Cup. I told him that I had heard rumblings through the rumor mill that he was taking to the ice again but wasn’t sure in what capacity. I told him that I thought I’d see him with another organization this year in the West Coast Senior Hockey League, prodding him for some information and laughing as we joked back and forth.
Darren’s response “I could never play against the Royals. They are in my blood and I could never go there!”
I asked him about what’s going on with the Corner Brook Royals this year. He smiled and said “We’ve chatted about this before. You know how I feel about it and there’s gotta be some changes. We all know that.”
Still, Darren was a professional! He never criticized his former organization and kept very positive. That’s what always made me admire Darren as a leader. He simply acknowledged my comments, smiled and laughed, especially when I told him I would be writing something for Newfoundland Hockey Talk.
We chatted for a bit about Newfoundland Hockey Talk and he congratulated me on its success. He said “It’s how I keep up on what’s going on in the league.” and knowing that he was a reader made me smile and wonder how many other players are on the site. He introduced me to his son (whom Darren coaches in Pee Wee) and I got to meet one the next rising stars in Newfoundland Hockey.
We talked about the announcement of his signing with the Clarenville Caribous and the Allan Cup. I told him that this was the missing element from what I thought would be a very successful run at the Allan Cup and said “I hoped that the rumor was true and that the Bous were going to pick you up. You’ll fill the role of leader that was missing from the team!”
Darren smiled, thanked me and we chatted a bit more. I could see the fire in his eyes and hear the passion in his voice. He’s pumped to be a part of this Newfoundland contingent and is focused on preparing for the Allan Cup run. “I have 6 weeks to prepare,” he said, “It’s going to be a great ride and we have a great shot.”
With the grit from the Wings, the speed from the Caribous, the coaching expertise brought by Pearcey and the leadership brought by Darren Colbourne, look out Allan Cup.
Unfortunately, it was time for me to leave and I wished Darren all the best.
Darren Colbourne has the fire and passion back for hockey! It’s going to be a pleasure in the upcoming weeks!