The Corner Brook Royals will now call Deer Lake home

Dave Kearsey
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Western Royals

CORNER BROOK  The Corner Brook Royals will no longer call Corner Brook home. Its new incarnation, the Western Royals, will be based in Deer Lake for the 2012-2013 season.

Ross Coates has had sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep the Royals afloat in the provincial senior hockey league. The club president watched his team lose money for a couple of years due to the cost of operating out of the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook, he says.

He said he was left with the option of folding the franchise or finding a less expensive venue to call home.

In the end, Coates has decided to write another chapter in senior hockey history by playing home games out of the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex. Coates struck a deal with the Town of Deer Lake for the 2012-2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League.

“The arena is just too big and too expensive to fund a senior hockey team there,” Coates said Tuesday. “This was a great building when we had it for the Canada Games, but the unfortunate part for any local senior sports team, or anything to survive here, is that the cost to operate that building for a night far exceeds any other building around.”

Coates had a meeting with Pepsi Centre general manager Will Smith back in July to see if he could get a better deal to keep the team in Corner Brook, but things never worked out. Coates says Smith came back with a little bit of a better offer than the previous year, but it wasn’t enough for Coates to give it another whirl in the city.

Twitter: WS_SportsDesk

We'll be following this story in Thursday's print edition.

Organizations: Pepsi Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League, Canada Games

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Deer Lake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • a business man
    August 25, 2012 - 05:50

    Of course it is all about the almighty dollar. What else would it be about? Moving the team to Deer Lake makes financial sense, as does moving businesses out of newfoundland for cheaper labour, as well as tearing down the cornerbrook mill because newprint is a dying industry. I am happy for the team and the players.

  • Rangoo Hulan
    August 25, 2012 - 03:08

    The imminent awarding of an NHL franchise to Corner Brook makes the Royals irrelevant to the cognoscenti of that little village.

  • Don
    August 23, 2012 - 17:12

    Not surprised,it is such a small issue in Corner Brook that it didn't even make large print in the local paper.Last year there was little mention of the royals in the paper after the games and was very difficult to get final scores.The fan base was mostly from the surrounding areas and Deer lake in particular. Corner Brook do not support.Welcome to Deer lake where there are loyal fans,win or lose.

    August 23, 2012 - 14:26

    Personally, I'm happy to see the team move to Deer Lake, and as horrible as that sounds, I simply mean that perhaps it might finally prompt some change in the Pepsi Center management's frame of mind, or hopefully the management itself. After dealing with the management at the center for many years, and being gouged at every turn for additional charges etc after receiving and agreeing upon a quote, and then receiving little or no service when renting the facility. Its time for a change. Send the GM to Deer Lake and keep the Royals here!

  • Pointing Fingers
    August 23, 2012 - 10:27

    Fingers could be pointed in all direction here. Cost of ice rental for one thing, maybe not enough fan support another and the price to ice a team. Either way, it's sad that a place the size of Corner Brook can't ice a team to make it work that they now have to downsize and make choices. What else could they do? Hopefully, fans will be able to continue and support, but then there's those who have no way to travel. Maybe a bus to bring you those who need a ride out to Deer Lake? Either way, it's a shame that Corner Brook has a beautiful arena that can't be utilized more efficiently. No doubt this will fall on the backs of the other arena supporters such as Minor Hockey and Figure Skating.

  • steve
    August 23, 2012 - 10:10

    shame on MUN. what other tenant do u have there???deer lake fans dont want the royals. they want the red wings.the royals have been terrible for YEARS. but prices keep going up and the team gets worse.u cant be last place every year and expect people to keep showing up.that doesnt happen anymore. deerlake was always first or winning championships. but even there fans stopped coming the last couple of seasons when they started to decline. the royals will not be successful in deerlake with a mediocre team, and thats just the plain truth

    • Jack
      August 24, 2012 - 09:57

      Steve, Grenfell Campus - Memorial University doesn't own the Pepsi Centre. The City of Corner Brook and Western Sports and Entertainment own and operate the facility. The Pepsi Centre does have some permanent tenants including Forever Young Fitness Centre and Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey Hall of Fame, and they could face significant rent increases. In the case of Forever Young, they will be forced to jack up memberships to cover rent increases, resulting in members flocking to rival facilities like the Humber Community YMCA. Since the Forever Young Fitness Centre's management has a history of treating their customers poorly, and threatening to call security on strength athletes like Powerlifters for no legitimate reason, just another reason they could lose membership levels. For a facility started by a Powerlifting legend, Terry Young, he would definitely be ashamed at Forever Young's management for being Anti-Powerlifter today.

  • Gerard
    August 23, 2012 - 09:50

    Another reason to vote Greeley, Gary Kelly and Donna Luthor off Council in the next city election. Put that into your iPads or maybe you need a trip somewhere to think about it.

    • Jack
      August 24, 2012 - 08:16

      Neville Greeley and his poor leadership skills are a reason why Corner Brook is heading downhill. Vote for someone else with leadership skill and competency for Mayor or Council. In addition, letting residents outside Corner Brook run for Council or Mayor is a better idea.

  • jerry rubia
    August 23, 2012 - 08:21

    Wow,would have never thought the royal would go to deerlake.I would guess over the coursework a season Mr coates is going to save a lot of money,good for him.some one before me brought up player salaries,well there high with all the other teams,but u don't c grand falls wanting to go to gander or mount pearl or anyone else wanting to comes down to the ridiculis price that the royal where being charged to play at the Pepsi center.some people wanna blame the city,but grenfell manages the rink now and not the city.don't get mad at the manager of the rink cause Hi bosses tell him what he can and can,t do so look no further the the greedy buggers at grenfell,they can say what they want but that's the way it is if it ain't have the balls to come out and tell us other wise

  • thats corner brook
    August 23, 2012 - 08:19

    No surprise. The city and it's people don't support anything so why should anyone be surprised by this move. Being a losing team didn't help their cause.

  • Minor Hockey Parent
    August 22, 2012 - 22:51

    I'm guessing that the cost to keep this building afloat will likely be put on the shoulders of the minor hockey parents. Most of us work 2 or more jobs and try to keep their kids in sports so they could be active, meet new friends, be competitive in life, and to keep them out of trouble or the like. This has been forseen for some time now over the past few years, there has been tournaments ( Provincial and local) held at the Pepsi Centre where even having asked for toilet paper to be put in the washrooms was a problem that was on going for years. And getting help from Minor Hockey to help fund Provincial Tournaments was a definate, Not going to happen.So where is all this money going? As one reader before me had wrote, bonuses, make all the difference and not the kids. As well there should be a whole new City Council that care more for our kids in the Minor hockey association and other local sport associations than what they can get from their citizens that will keep them more in touch with their friends with new phones and such.Hats off to the Tim Hortons sponsorship, there would be no sports for alot of local kids if not for your help.

  • Jack
    August 22, 2012 - 21:20

    In light of the increasing costs to rent ice time at Pepsi Centre, the City of Corner Brook should address this problem so that what happened to the Royals, which is mainly Ross Coates' fault, will never happen again. Hope this move will not result in increasing ice rental costs for Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Broomball, and Hockey Programs due to lost revenue. With the Pepsi Centre Arena being a likely venue for the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Speed Skating and Figure Skating events, lets hope Western Sports and Entertainment will keep ice rental fees manageable.

  • sally
    August 22, 2012 - 21:01

    I am a loyal fan of the Corner Brook Royals. Call them what you like but hats off to Ross Coates who is trying his hardest to keep a time. Although games will be played at the Hodder I will most likely attend all games. For the management of the Pepsi Centre................NO COMMENT GO Royals GO!!!!!!!

    • Steve
      September 02, 2012 - 18:17

      Sally i have to agree with you i was a DL fan until they folded and the past two years i was a royals fan and like you i will also travel to the hodder and cheer on the western royals come on guys bring home the hardwear

  • peter barry
    August 22, 2012 - 20:14

    what not play saturday night in corner brook and sunday in deer lake

  • peter barry
    August 22, 2012 - 19:19

    i am one royals fan who did go to every game and i for one do feel betrayed.good luck but you dont turn your back on the royals fans who supported the team.

  • Mike
    August 22, 2012 - 19:08

    I won't say I'm shocked. Mr. Coates is trying his best to salvage a team and a season for hockey fans on the West Coast but I cannot see this ending well. Loyal Royals fans will feel betrayed and Red Wings fans will probably chaff at having the Royals playing out of their barn! Best of Luck Mr. Coates! I hope the Royals can have a successful season in their new home.

  • Frances Wheeler
    August 22, 2012 - 18:32

    It all comes down to the almighty dollar. If so much money wasn't paid out in player salaries that would be a big savings. What happens to the young fellows who work their butt off all the way up through the minor hockey system? They don't get a look-in to play with the Royals. Sad. Very sad.

  • Hockey fan
    August 22, 2012 - 17:46

    I can't say that I'm glad that the team is moving to Deer Lake, but I do agree with the decision due to the cost. For a city the size off Corner Brook, a senior hockey shouldn't have no problem what so ever but in my opinion, the city off Corner Brook did not and do not support the Royals. The prices have been on the up rise for ice rentals for the past five years if not longer, but why. Nothing has changed. So it must be the lack off big venues maybe to make a go I will the summer months. Winter months u can't get any ice until at least 12 at night. Someone in the office must want bigger bonous. Anyway, this is my opinion. See who agrees/disagrees.

    • elaine
      August 22, 2012 - 23:39

      I was not surprise with this decision. As GM for the Junior Royals for a couple of years , I dealt with the Pepsi Center. It was hard to get ice and you were paying high fees for ice rental and the equipment , ie sound equipment , Many times if you were in the main arena and you had a out of town team in , there were no music or PA system because management had everything locked up and they were the only one with the keys. too bad, It was like we were not member of the stadium,. until they sent out the bills. . We have a beautiful stadium and cannot have a senior hockey team play in it because of the cost, wow something is wrong here. The cost was the reason why the Junior Royals moved last year to Deer Lake. Good luck.