Senior hockey is being missed on the west coast, says Stephen Simms

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on December 27, 2016

Stephen Simms says senior hockey continues to be a hot topic of discussion around the milk cooler during his travels as an independent distributor for Central Dairies.

Simms, a Deer Lake native, played almost four full seasons of senior hockey with both Deer Lake and Corner Brook before joining the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts this season in a league dispersal draft after the Corner Brook Royals folded from the Central West Senior Hockey League.

The Central West Senior Hockey League is operating with three teams this season, marking the first time there hasn’t been a representative from the west coast of the province entered.

“I think people are quietly disappointed,” Simms said. “The support wasn’t there like it should have been, but people miss having an option of something to do on the weekend.”

Throughout his work week, most of it spent in the Corner Brook area with one day set aside for servicing customers in the Hampden area, a lot of people bring up the subject of the Royals folding because they know Simms was a member of the team for the past three years.

It’s not only people from the west coast missing the Royals, according to Simms, who said people in central Newfoundland have been telling him how much they miss having the Royals in the fold because the league is much better with the west represented.

“It makes it better for everybody,” Simms said.

Simms, a 28-year-old defenceman, spends all his weekends on the road this winter because he’s a Cataract. Ideally, he would love to play closer at home and not have to worry about more time spent on the highway, but he’s thankful his playing days aren’t over yet.

“I’m just grateful there is a game of hockey to play on the weekend,” he said. “I can’t sit here and be angry that there is no Corner Brook team. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but at the end of the day, for me, I still get a game of hockey and get to do what I love to do.”

He doesn’t know if senior hockey will be back on the west coast, but there is an effort being made on the west coast toward starting a four-team league with local players and that’s something he figures should be looked at in an effort to bring it back again.

“That’s where it all started so maybe we need to take a step back to go a step forward,” he said.