Art Barry willing to help get Jets flying again in senior hockey circles

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on December 12, 2016

Art Barry never envisioned a day when there would be no senior or junior hockey league playing out of the Stephenville Dome, so when he was approached about bringing senior hockey back to life in Stephenville, he wanted to lend a helping hand.

Barry is hoping to play a role in creating a West Coast Senior Amateur Hockey League whereby local players can provide entertainment for local fans on the west coast.

Barry was approached by hockey fan Bob Diamond a few months ago about the idea of having the Jets fly again out of the Stephenville Dome.

“It seems like we got a bunch of guys out of here full of piss and vinegar who want to get something going,” Barry said Monday.

Barry, a Corner Brook native who moved to Stephenville 35 or so years ago and now lives in Port au Port East, was a driving force behind senior and junior hockey in Stephenville for most of his adult life.

He’s happy to help out, quite content knowing it was initiated by somebody other than himself, because he had his days of being the main man trying to keep a team on the ice.

He agreed to help out, and a meeting for anybody interested in playing for the Jets or volunteering to run the team is scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. at the canteen room in the Stephenville Dome.

“I’d like to see hockey back, too, to tell you the truth, because I don’t think we’re ever going to see it again the way it’s going there now,” he said.

Whether or not the league can take off depends on the availability of players and key people to run the various teams, so Barry will have a better understanding of how things look once he sits around the table with those with a keen interest in reviving the Jets.

“See what interest is out there in people coming on board to help out and get a team going,” he said of the purpose of Thursday’s meeting in Stephenville.

Barry hopes to see the league have teams in Corner Brook, Stephenville, Deer Lake and Port aux Basques. He’s hoping to meet with representatives in the other towns — Andy Brake in Deer Lake and Richard Dennis in Corner Brook among them — over the next week or so to gauge interest in the idea. He also hopes to recruit a contact in Port aux Basques who might want to see what’s happening.

Local hockey with local hockey players is something Barry believes would work because he’s been around the block and seen a lot of packed arenas during his involvement in a west-coast league where some dandy rivalries were formed.

“We had good fan support and people are still saying to me, ‘We need a team here,’” he said. “But everybody you see is just asking you to do it, you know what I mean, but now it seems like there’s a bunch of us to get together and there seems to be some interest in people trying to get a team on the go.”