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West Coast Senior Hockey League president says season will begin Nov. 17

['Rocky Harbour native Luke Parsons carries the puck up the ice during Friday’s senior hockey league matchup against the visiting Stephenville Jets.']
['Rocky Harbour native Luke Parsons carries the puck up the ice during Friday’s senior hockey league matchup against the visiting Stephenville Jets.']

Though he cautioned it was a “work in progress,” West Coast Senior Hockey League president Andy Brake said four teams are moving forward to begin a new season on Nov. 17.

There was some concern over the future of the Deer Lake Red Wings, but it has been confirmed Perry Compton has taken over as general manager of the club, while former GM Clyde Williams remains with the team in an advisory role.

Now, the main issue for the survival of the fledgling locals-only senior hockey league is ensuring all four clubs have a shot to succeed.

“Without parity, we don’t feel we can have longevity,” Brake said. “We feel we need to do it right.”

Brake wouldn’t get into specifics of a potential solution, but said he was hoping the issue would be put to bed fairly soon.

“We’re getting there, but I don’t want to reveal anything until we get it put in the bag,” he said.

The Nov. 17 is about as firm as can be, though only three of four venues have officially approved the schedule. The plan is for an 18-game schedule, with each team playing three home games and three away games versus each other club. A first versus fourth, second versus third playoff format is also locked in, though series length has yet to be determined.

Brake also said that, with this being the league’s first full year, the victor will not be competing for the Herder Memorial Trophy provincial senior hockey championship this season.

Keeping it small-scale is in the league’s best interest at this point, Brake said. He believes the fans came out last year because it was local boys playing with heart for their community.

It may not have the skill level of the import-laden leagues of the past, but he said it certainly has the intensity.

“Whether they got any skill or not, when they go in the corner, their mission is to come out with the puck,” he said. “I think that was the difference between this league and the other league.”

Another difference was the cheaper ticket prices, which Brake said would continue.

It’s important, he said, to make it affordable for families to get out and watch some hockey.The clinic is held 6 p.m. on Thursday evenings.

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