Darren Langdon is shown in this 2012 photo. — Star file photo
Darren Langdon hopes the return of the Royals to Corner Brook works out well for the franchise and those who run it, but he’s not expecting to be a part of the team’s future.
“I’m 43, I doubt I’m going to play anyway,” said Langdon on whether he had a preference between lacing the skates in Deer Lake or Corner Brook.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure,” he added.
“There’s no difference whatsoever, but at this age you’re just thinking about other things and whatever.”
Langdon said the goal of selling 1,000 season passes by Aug. 31 isn’t going to be easy to reach, saying attendance is down all over the local senior hockey landscape, even for successful teams like the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Clarenville Caribous.
“It’s hard to draw fans ... there’s no fighting — not saying that draws it, but it’s a little bit to it,” he said. “But it’s good hockey, hopefully people come and support it.”
“There’s definitely a lot of fans around, so we’ll see if it works out.”
Noted Royals fan Ray Broughton plans on being there.
Even though it means a longer trek to the games for the Howley resident, he prefers the comfort of the Pepsi Centre to the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex and said he can’t wait for the season to start.
“I think it’s a good move,” he said. “The team was on life support in Deer Lake, it was just going downhill, so kudos to them.”
He doesn’t believe selling 1,000 season passes — 999, after he purchases his — should be an issue.
“I have a business, and the name of the game is marketing,” he said.
“You just have to market your product and that’s the way the professional teams do it.”
Andy Brake, who is currently the secretary of the Hockey Newfoundland Labrador’s senior council and a former general manager of the now-defunct Deer Lake Red Wings, said the move is no surprise to him after seeing the attendance level in Deer Lake last season.
“At the end of the day the bills have to be paid and you have to pick the venue you think is best capable of paying those bills,” he said.
“They only averaged approximately 500 fans last year, that’s not enough.”
The team was never fully embraced in Deer Lake, Brake said, because while hockey fans would come out to Royals games, diehard Red Wings fans would not.
“That obviously goes back to the rivalry between the Royals and Red Wings years ago,” he said. “That definitely was a factor.”