CORNER BROOK Jay Johnson doesn’t mind waiting.
The head organizer of the Corner Brook Molson Indoor Soccer League is usually busy this time of year, booking gym time, drawing up a schedule and confirming teams, but everything is currently on hold as upgrades continue on the Pepsi Studio, which will eventually house the league, along with a variety of other sports groups.
“We’re waiting to see what’s going on with the indoor facility,” he said. “We’re just waiting to find out when it’s starting up.”
Severely underutilized as a recreational facility since its construction, action was finally taken this year by the city to lay down a new seamless composite floor system and acquire the necessary equipment to allow as many sports as possible to be played in the building. Centaur, the Nova Scotia-based company completing the job, is awaiting the delivery of the new flooring material and work is expected to resume around the middle of January.
Johnson said he heard the facility could be good to go by the final week of the month, but cautioned that was still just an estimate. He said there were no plans to begin the new season in the league’s former home — the gymnasium at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland — during the wait.
“We talked about it, but we just decided to wait until the Pepsi Studio opens and go from there,” he said.
Last year’s campaign didn’t begin until Jan. 22, so the league actually shouldn’t be too adversely affected by the delay.
Of particular interest to the local soccer crowd is a 20,000 square-foot turf covering that should become a real game-changer for the sport’s year-round presence in the area.
“Absolutely, it’s a great thing to have,” Johnson said. “You finish outdoor now, take a few weeks off and then start up indoor. You can have it going all year, in a bigger, better facility. This is a lot better for soccer.”
Johnson believes it will lead to more than just the men’s league getting their kicks in during the winter months, as the minor soccer association and local women’s league will likely want in on the indoor action as well.
“We’ve got an indoor facility now to play year-round,” he said. “So there’s no reason why you wouldn’t.”
Nailing down a suitable time to play was always an issue for the men’s league every year, with a late-morning start every Sunday the only available booking at Grenfell. That didn’t exactly lend itself to increased player participation, but the league should be able to secure a friendlier time slot at the Pepsi Studio.
“We won’t just be limited to Sunday afternoon,” said Johnson.
Though Johnson is hoping a fifth team will surface this season, right now it appears the league will feature four clubs — the Curling Rangers, West Side Monarchs, Hawks and an under-18 squad.
The Rangers have been crowned league champions the past two years, defeating the Monarchs in both finals.