CeeBees, Mount Pearl left without a league: 'They don't fit our game plan'
Avalon East Senior Hockey League vice-president Joe Maynard said a decision to turn down an application from the Conception Bay North CeeBees to join the circuit was simply a case of the league not being able to accommodate the team.
The decision was made at a recent meeting “after a lot of thought,” according to Maynard.
The league will continue with four teams, including the St. John's Toyota Plaza Caps, Northeast Eagles, Pugliesvich Southern Shore Breakers and Bell Island Family Drug Mart Blues.
Lack of available, quality players is one of the issues why the league won’t expand.
“We had difficulty filling the four rosters of last year’s teams,”noted Maynard. “There were times last year when had only 15 or 16 players available for some teams.”
He said he’s hoping graduating junior players from the very successful St. John’s league will eventually broaden the base for the senior clubs to choose from.
“But right now, there’s not enough players out there to add another team to our league.”
He said CeeBees gave the Avalon league a list of nine players that might form the nucleus of a roster, but Maynard added that the rights of some of those players belonged to existing AESHL teams.
“Where do you suppose they will get the rest of their players?” asked Maynard.
The Conception Bay North Eastlink Stars and Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades had once belonged to the Avalon East league, but left to become part of a six-team Newfoundland Senior Hockey League the last three seasons.
However, they found themselves out in the cold when the provincial league’s four other teams left to form the Central/West Senior Hockey League, which was given the official go-ahead at Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) annual general meeting in Gander in June.
Now, the Avalon East door has been shut on them. Also affected would be those who were interested in having a Whitbourne-based team in the AESHL.
Maynard said the way teams, such as those based in Mount Pearl and Harbour Grace, operate won’t work in the AESHL
“It didn’t work when they were in our league before and it’s not going to work now because we’ve tightened it up even moreso,” said Maynard. “You can’t even pay a coach in our league now. We have strict guidelines”
“They (CeeBees) shouldn’t be upset with us. The ones they should be upset with are the four teams that kicked them out. We didn’t kick them out. They left us,” added Maynard.
The bottom line, according to Maynard is, “They (CeeBees) don’t fit our game plan and we don’t fit their game plan.”