Getting a pink slip isn’t something a person would like for the obvious reason, but sometimes it can be timely.
Tim Caines is probably thinking that way.
Caines is looking forward to a full winter of senior hockey as a seasoned veteran with the Stephenville Jets of the West Coast Senior Hockey League that kicks off its inaugural full season Friday night on two fronts.
Caines, a 30-year-old Port au Choix native who has been living in Stephenville since high school, was back on skates this week trying to get himself ready for another season of action.
He just returned from Muskrat Falls where he’s been working as a land surveyor. The project is shut down for the winter so he’s eager to focus his attention on playing hockey while he’s getting a break from the travel he endured on rotation.
Caines played senior hockey with the Corner Brook Royals in the Central West Senior Hockey League where he got compensated for his services, but now the league is dedicated to providing local entertainment with no paid players and this is a move that he approves of because he knows it’s the only way to keep it alive.
He likes the idea that players get to play for their hometowns and families and friends can come out and watch with no big pressure to perform.
It’s a fun night for Caines and he figures a lot of the players feel the same way or they wouldn’t be out there in the first place.
“If they can keep it like that I think they’re going to have a competitive league and if you have competitive games then you’re going to get fans out that’s the bottom line,” Caines said.
Caines believes fans in Stephenville will embrace the league like they did last year with capacity crowds during a shortened season. He believes they appreciate having entertaining hockey to watch during the cold winters.
“We had a lot of interest this year with players showing up for tryouts so hopefully all the teams are the same and we can have a competitive league this year,” he said.
The Jets open the season against the Port aux Basques Mariners Friday 8 p.m. at the Stephenville Dome and travel to Corner Brook Saturday to tangle with the Corner Brook Royals.