Go, Royals, go ... or maybe that should be welcome back. A Corner Brook booster club announced Thursday that the city’s hockey team, which had bolted to Deer Lake for the last two seasons, would be returning to the Pepsi Centre this coming fall.
That’s great news for the city ... but not so good for Deer Lake.
The Royals left when those managing the team couldn’t get a workable deal with management of the city-owned facility.
At the time, the Pepsi Centre was operated by Western Sports and Entertainment, an arm of Memorial University. That situation is in the process of changing and the City of Corner Brook will be taking back responsibility for the facility, which includes two ice surfaces, an annex, a privately run fitness centre, a walking track and several meeting rooms.
Obviously, the hockey club now has a more acceptable arrangement with the city that will allow it to operate without losing money.
Now it’s up to the fans to show their support for the team.
The Royals will be selling season tickets and that will be critical to the success of the franchise that will be part of a western league instead of a provincial setup that required plenty of travel and the costs that entails. Less travel should also shave expenses but nothing is as important as continued backing from fans game after game.
The city and the centre have gone the distance to bring the Royals back to the Corner Brook, but that will not last if seats aren’t full when puck drops all season long.
There was a litany of complaints when the team headed down the road, and now is the time for those who were outraged to put their money where their complaints were. Local senior hockey has been one of the main distractions for decades during our long winters.
It’s time to support the blue and white with more than cheers if you want to see senior hockey survive in Corner Brook.