ECSHL Playing a Waiting Game

Updated: October 18, 2019
Newfoundland Hockey Drama

With the start of the East Coast Senior Hockey league scheduled for just a little more than a week away, there are still many questions as to what is happening with the league. Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador is at the root of the delay.

HNL has refused to sanction the five-team league over their decision not to allow the CBN CeeBee Stars back into the league this season. The CeeBees were removed from the league three years ago and has been trying to rejoin the league unsuccessfully since.

While HNL and the ECSHL has declined to comment, NL Hockey Talk has learned that the league has appealed the decision to Hockey Canada and a decision is due to be brought down either October 18 or October 21.

Sources have indicated there are several issues related to the CeeBees rejoining the league. Sources have indicated one of the issues is outstanding monies owed to the league. The ECSHL is allegedly demanding payment in full before play commences in the 2019-20 season. The league is also insisting on a full roster being in place with players holding cards in other leagues or teams are no longer property of the CeeBees and cannot hold a position on the roster submitted to the ECSHL. Another stipulation from the league is that the schedule will be the schedule, with no concessions made in the schedule.

Sources from within the league have also indicated there is still concern that the CeeBees are paying players, something that the CeeBees have viamantly denied. This rumour has been tossed around for several seasons but in this case, nobody involved with the ECSHL has ever produced evidence.
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Drama such as this is par for the course within senior hockey ranks here in Newfoundland. This has some teams concerned but indicate they are ready to roll once things with Hockey Canada are ironed out.
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As it sits right now, league action is scheduled to start on October 25 with the Clarenville Caribous scheduled to take on the Conception Bay Blues, followed by the Caribous home opener in Clarenville on October 26.

According to the ECSHL website, the league draft is open but with the HNL / Hockey Canada hangup, the draft has yet to occur. Teams are anticipating a crazy week befor the scheduled start of the season.

Meanwhile, in the other senior leagues, there is little information flowing from the Central West league. The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and the Gander Flyers are tight-lipped with what is happening.

In the West Coast Senior Hockey League, sources from inside the league have indicated it is a 50-50 shot that there will be hockey on the west coast this year. The Deer Lake Wings have not committed to resuming play this season and the Stephenville Jets are struggling with player recruitment.

Another senior hockey league season in Newfoundland means the same old each year – drama, politics and uncertainty.

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