No Hockey in Central

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Updated: February 10, 2020

After a long drawn out effort, it’s now official. There will be no senior hockey in central Newfoundland this season.

The Gander Flyers made the announcement just minutes ago that the proposed 12-game schedule with Grand Falls was officially over. Speculation was running wild in recent days after the start of the proposed season was delayed with teams citing “circumstances beyond their control”.

Newfoundland Hockey Talk had reached out to countless contacts in an attempt to find out why the delay but no one was prepared to speak up as to what was happening. There were rumours about player availability but there was nothing concrete.

The latest in Newfoundland Senior Hockey drama began when the CeeBee Stars indicated they wanted to play in the East Coast Senior Hockey League. This caused a considerable delay in that league starting play and the fallout now has apparently reached the CWSHL.

In a release on Facebook, the Gander Flyers have cited that league play was impacted when the CeeBees were accepted into the ECSHL with the condition of “No Interlocking Hockey with Central”. According to the statement posted “That action immediately meant we could not move forward as a league” but the Flyers thanked the CeeBees in their efforts to keep hockey alive but understood the situation.

Sources had told Newfoundland Hockey Talk that without a third team in Central, there were issues with Hockey NL sanctioning a two team league, which in turn would have allegedly impacted player insurance. There was initial hope that a third team would come forward but that did not happen and still, both the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts were willing to go ahead with a 2-team league despite all the challenges.

At the end of the day, the Flyers indicated:

… we also recognize the position they found themselves in trying for hockey survival themselves. Shortly after the announcement of the CeeBees returning we found ourselves in a position where players wanted releases to play both out East and West. Gander Flyers lost 9 players that are still active in both leagues from our roster however the releases were granted in good faith realizing that players just want to play hockey and not experience further delays in getting a game of hockey. As well as player transfers, other players decided due to other priorities in their personal lives like family, work and school commitments that they would not return at least for this season.

There will be no senior hockey in Central Newfoundland this season as a result.

This does not mean that there will be no hockey in the future. The Flyers General Manager and Assistant Coach Geoff Goldworthy have indicated they are preparing for the 2020-21 season and it is their intent to be back on the ice next season.

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