Corner Brook fan welcomes new senior hockey league

Dave Kearsey
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The birth of a new senior hockey league is something local fans should be willing to support and get excited about, says avid senior hockey follower Larry O’Quinn.

 The Western Royals, Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, Gander Flyers and Clarenville Caribous will compete in the Central-West Senior Hockey League this winter.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, representatives of the four senior hockey franchises unanimously approved a framework for the new league. This new league was formed as a result of the same four teams withdrawing from the provincial senior hockey league last week.

Neil Norcott of Clarenville, who served as president of the provincial senior league that also featured the CeeBee Stars and Mount Pearl Blades, confirmed a new league has been formed in an email Tuesday.

“A primary goal for all the teams involved in the new senior hockey setup is to bring back scheduling of games that have teams playing at home every second weekend,” Norcott said. “Long layoffs and scheduling difficulties were cited by all representatives as a big problem in the province-wide league.”

If the goal is to get bums back in the seats, O’Quinn, a Corner Brook native who has followed the senior hockey scene and the Royals since 1966, believes the new league could be the answer.

“It’s the best thing that could happen,” O’Quinn said. “It might bring back some rivalry.”

He believes being able to see the team on a regular basis should allow fans to follow their team better than what he witnessed the past three years with the provincial setup.

“The fans should get more interested because you’re going to get hockey every second week,” he said. “Before, sometimes you were three weeks and only get one game and then you lose interest.”

 

Venue uncertain

What venue the Royals will call home this winter remains to be seen, although it’s common knowledge that Dennis Waterman is spearheading a drive to have the team return to the Pepsi Centre this winter. O’Quinn has travelled the highway for three years to watch the Royals play in Deer Lake, and also made a regular trek to Grand Falls-Windsor with his wife Lydia each year.

“It didn’t work in Deer Lake. They didn’t get the fan support in Deer Lake,” he said. “They thought they were going to, but it didn’t work at all.”

He’s fully supportive of the Royals returning to the city for this year. He doesn’t want a long winter without senior hockey to follow.

“If the fans don’t support it now, it’s their own fault,” he said.

Approval of the new league’s constitution and bylaws, along with election of a new executive, will be completed at a meeting of team officials this weekend in Gander. Once this has been achieved, an application for approval will be forwarded to Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Recent comments

  • rusty
    June 06, 2014 - 08:26

    Ross moved to Deer Lake because the lack of support from the fans and also management. But the fans in Deer Lake never supported the team for what ever reasons, 5oo tops don't cut it, so i think it will work back in Corner Brook because the fans now know what they missed the past 3 seasons.

    • george p b
      June 06, 2014 - 10:19

      Rusty, IMHO people indeed do now know what they missed the past 3 seasons---NOT A DAMN THING....

  • SayWhat
    June 05, 2014 - 18:08

    Don't know what the fuss is all about. First of all, if the Royals go back to the Pepsi Centre, it better not be at a lower rental rate because Minor Hockey and Figure Skating will be demanding the same breaks. So we can rule that out. And then comes the fact, the fans don't and won't show up for the other teams. It will be a team lucky to draw 500 fans on a Saturday night. and 250 at the most on a Sunday afternoon.The only way the Royals would have any chance of surviving is if Deer Lake is back and the fans from Deer Lake would keep the Royals afloat. But that's not going to happen.

  • Too Funny
    June 05, 2014 - 08:36

    "new senior hockey league". If by new you mean same teams in same towns but with two fewer teams then I guess that must be new. It's gone down from a provincial league to a regional league. And if the Royals move back home to Corner Brook then you know Deer Lake will bring back the Wings. Then it becomes five teams and someone will be missing a weekend - the same criticism of the provincial league.

  • westcoaster
    June 05, 2014 - 07:29

    Call the Royals the Red Wings and you would get the fans !!!! No problem....

  • peter barry
    June 05, 2014 - 04:55

    two years without seeing hockey i will be at the pepsi centre with my season pass.the first two things is to get rid of the western royals name and go back to the corner brook royals and get rid of those red jerseys.corner brook is the royals and the royals are corner brook.

    • I agree
      June 05, 2014 - 10:26

      I totally agree with what you say. They should go back to calling the team the Corner Brook Royals instead of Western Royals after all the team is going back to the city where it originally came from and it would make total since. They should get rid of the Red Jersey also, Corner Brook is the Blue team they need to go back to blue jersey and leave the Red for Deer Lake. All in all i'm looking forward to this, now only if the Deer Lake Red Wings can return would this make it like it used to be.