Archive for January, 2011
St. John’s native Donnie Gosse has been one of the premier defensive players in Newfoundland senior hockey for the last ten years. He’s shown what it takes to compete at the highest level here in Newfoundland but there’s many fans wondering if Gosse still can compete.
Gosse has crossed into the West Coast Senior Hockey league this season after his previous team – the Southern Shore Breakers – dropped out of the East league. After signing with the Royals, there were many with high expectations that his addition to the red, white and blue would give the Royals and edge on the blue line and perhaps be enough to push the Royals back to the top of their game.
Fans in Corner Brook are familiar with Gosse who quickly garnished the nickname “Turtle” for his on ice antics and antagonistic ways that saw him covering up if the threat of a fight arrived.
However, this is a new league, with new rules and even though Gosse came out of the gate with a bit of rust, he has showed he can still rise to the occasion and compete. He still has the soft hands, great passing skills and can skate with the best of him. He’s both an offensive threat leading the charge and can rush back to cover up defensively.
Critics may think that Gosse is overrated and not worth what the Royals are alleged to be paying this player. However, any coach and the majority of the true hockey fans recognize what an asset he is to any team.
The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts are in a unique situation. With their signing of their new goalie Mark Yetman and the return of last years #1 goalie, Doug Jewer, the Cats have two solid goalies ready to tackle whatever the other teams throw their way.
This was quite evident recently when the Cataracts made the trip down the Trans Canada Highway to Corner Brook and squared off against the Corner Brook Royals in a two game series.
Yetman started the opener and looked stellar, making several amazing saves while facing shot after shot from the Royals. It was evident from the fans the Cats goalie stole the game and was the difference at the end of the day, picking up a “W” with a 5-4 win over the Royals.
In Sunday’s game, Jewer wasn’t going to be outdone by Yetman’s strong performance after returning from having surgery in the off-season.
While he didn’t face as many shots and was not tested as much as Yetman, Jewer came up with a solid 2-0 shutout win.
Some are questioning how the team is going to deal with these two goalies. There are many who feel there is only enough room on the team for one of these players and friction is bound to develop. Some feel the friction is good and these goalies can feed off one another, forcing each to perform at the top of their game when they are called upon to play.
Yet sources have indicated to Newfoundland Hockey Talk that Jewer is not happy with the signing of Yetman and has made it clear to the Cats’ executive he wants the starting position.
The Cataracts have built a solid organization and dealing with issues off the ice is one of their strengths. Newfoundland Hockey Talk is very confident the Cataracts can accommodate both goalies and offer them enough duty to satisfy them especially with the playoffs just around the corner and the Herder Championship clearly in the Cats’ sight this season.
The question on everyone’s mind this morning is simple. Is the Corner Brook Royals leaving the city to play elsewhere? Royals President Ross Coates has indicated fan attendance is not what he wants and has made it clear the hockey fans in Corner Brook has to make a decision about the future of hockey in the city.
In an unprecedented move, both the Corner Brook Royals and the Deer Lake Red Wings put an end to the CFCB radio broadcasts in an attempt to put more bums in the seats at both the Pepsi Centre and the Hodder Memorial Arena. What is even more drastic is the rumour floating around that should the attendance be poor for the Royals latest home games, the team would finish the season at other arenas – namely Stephenville and Gander.
Sources close to Royals President have indicated the Royals will be heading to Stephenville for their series against the Clarenville Caribous the weekend January 15-16.
Fan support has been anything but stellar this season as the Corner Brook Royals rebuild their team. Fans are growing impatient with many of the highly praised talent such as Morgan Warren and Mark Tobin to begin producing and are calling on the team’s executive to either send these players packing or bench them.
Ross Coates understands the frustrations that fans are feeling. In a recent interview on CBC Radio, Coates has indicated he is not pleased with the teams performance.
Newfoundland Hockey Talk has to give credit, Mr. Coates and his organization has provided every opportunity to put a winning team on the ice. They have attracted key players such as Donnie Gosse and the highly touted Mark Tobin, hoping this players could spark the likes of Morgan Warren, Scott Doody and Andrew White into having banner seasons. On paper, the team has a defensive squad second to none. Up front, they have as much fire power as anyone in the league.
Hockey isn’t played on paper. It’s played on the ice. This edition of the Corner Brook Royals has not met expectations of Coates or his executive team. It has also not lived up to the expectations of the fans. Right now, the Corner Brook Royals are sitting in the basement and losing both fan and community support after dropping their latest series at home against the Cataracts and stopping the radio broadcasts.
Sources have indicated “there will be definite lineup changes next weekend” and with the deadline looming for protecting players, it will be interesting to see what the Corner Brook Royals does with some of its underachievers.
One thing is clear. After this weekend with only a little over 1000 fans on Saturday and 500 fans on Sunday, there is no way the Corner Brook Royals can continue to bleed money. It doesn’t make business sense and moving the team to a smaller, more fan friendly venue is definitely an understandable business move.
With Coates and his group working diligently behind the scenes to ice a quality product, to see the lack of fan support is terrible. Corner Brook has a long standing history of supporting winners and being finicky about the events they attend. Is it that hockey has just fallen out of favour with the community or is it something else? Coates and his team deserves credit for trying to keep hockey here in the city. They definitely deserve better support than they are getting and if it takes moving the team to have them survive then that’s what it takes!
Places such as Stephenville, Gander and Port Aux Basques are foaming at the opportunity to have a team and a businessman such as Mr. Coates bring hockey back to those areas.
Are the Royals headed out of Corner Brook? Stay tuned – things are always interesting around the West Coast Senior Hockey League.
For more discussions and insight as to what is going on check out the Newfoundland Hockey Talk Discussion Forum.