CORNER BROOK Sean King would be surprised if there’s not two hockey teams playing out of Corner Brook Regional High School this year.
Whether or not talent will be evenly distributed among the two squads is another story.
“I don’t know, that’s a decision the school would make,” said King, coach of the Titans hockey team for the majority of the school’s existence. “I know there were many discussions about that after the end of the league last year.”
The Titans are technically the defending champions of the West Coast High School Hockey League. Known as the Titans Black last year, they rolled to a 14-0 record during the regular season. Another team, the Titans Gold, consisting of players that didn’t make the Black squad, ended up with a 1-13 mark on the year.
As the four-team playoffs were set to begin, the other three schools — the St. James Regional High Saints, Elwood Regional High Lakers and, subsequently, the Stephenville High Spartans all wound up forfeiting, leaving the Titans Black as the only willing participant.
The Titans Black team winning the league title seemed like a formality all season and, in the April 5 edition of The Western Star, after the playoffs had officially been cancelled, Spartans coach Randy Alexander said he could see the league having trouble getting off the ground for another campaign if the setup remained lopsided.
The solution would seem to be two teams out of Corner Brook Regional High once again, but this time with the goal of making both clubs competitive.
“That’s a hard one,” said King of the idea. “For the balance of the league on the west coast, yeah, I can see it. But what happens when you go to compete in tournaments on the east coast?
“It’s a double-edged sword for the school in that way.”
King also questioned how decisions would be made on which team represents the school in out-of-town tournaments and how fundraising would work.
“There’s a whole series of scenarios that brings up,” he said.
Whether the school and league decide to go with the same basic A team, B team setup as last year or try to bring balance to the two Titans squads, King believes it’s a choice between those two options only.
“I think you’ll definitely see two teams out of the school here,” he said.
He considers that somewhat unfortunate, as with the current talent level of eligible senior players at the school, King said the upcoming season would be an “exceptional” one for Corner Brook Regional High if it iced just one team.
Yes, they would likely dominate the west coast high school league again, but they would be extremely competitive provincially.
And it would be temporary — most of the players who would make an impact this year will graduate and won’t be back next season.
“Next year I think it would sort of level itself out again,” he said.
The season doesn’t usually start until the end of October, so King expects to see some movement on the issue shortly.
“Over the next couple of weeks things should start to unfold,” he said.