New Senior Hockey Leage (Minus the CeeBees)

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Updated: October 10, 2018

Hockey NL recently announced the creation of a new senior hockey league, the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NSHL). In its recent press release, HNL indicated that this league grew out of the support given by existing senior teams across the province in an attempt to develop a “plan for sustainable, community-based hockey”.

The state of senior hockey in the province has been in a state of turmoil in recent years that started with the exit of the Corner Brook Royals from the Central West Senior Hockey League (CWSHL). The Avalon East Senior Hockey League (AESHL) threw a curve ball that saw it create reorganize to create the East Coast Senior Hockey League (ECSHL). The Corner Brook Royals resurfaced as one of four teams in the West Coast Senior Hockey League (WCSHL).

The Deer Lake Red Wings, Corner Brook Royals, Stephenville Jets, and Port Aux Basque Mariners will hit the ice in the WCSHL. The ECSHL will have the St. John’s Caps, Southern Shore Breakers, CBS Blues, Northeast Eagles and Clarenville Caribous compete. The expanded NSHL will see have the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts play in interlocking games with the other five (5) ECSHL teams and maintain its own schedule of games played between these two remaining CWSHL teams.

The Herder Memorial Championship will be converted to a round robin tournament where four (4) of the NSHL teams will qualify to compete, with the winner crowned as Herder champ over the 2019 Easter weekend.

The anomaly again this year is the CeeBee Stars are once again left on the sidelines searching for a game. Initially, the CeeBees were interested in reviving the AESHL but sources have indicated that this was rejected by HNL. Given that the ECSHL had previously rejected the entry of the CeeBees last season, it meant the only option was to join the CWSHL.

A deal to have the CeeBee Stars join the CWSHL was in place but disputes around scheduling and player drafts saw the deal fall apart, leaving the CeeBees without a game again this season.

Tracy Shute, a member of the CeeBee’s executive have indicated that there were some key players who were unwilling to travel the long distances associated with joining the CWSHL. The inability to secure a player deal to ensure the team was competitive and some issues around scheduling resulted in the deal falling apart.

Contrversy still looms over the reason the CeeBees were left from the newly formed NSHL. Chute has stated that there are personality conflicts at play and that members of HNL and the various leagues have shown bias towards some of the teams.

As with Newfoundland Senior Hockey, there is always happenings on and off the ice that makes things a little more interesting.  For more on this visit the Newfoundland Hockey Talk discussion forum.

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