Andy Brake hasn’t fielded many calls from general managers with concerns about how senior hockey is going on the west coast so he figures all hands are pretty pleased with how things have unfolded.
Brake, a Corner Brook native who now calls Deer Lake home, is the president of the four-team West Coast Senior Hockey League that boasts a focus on providing fans with quality local hockey from players who grew up in the region.
The league is in its inaugural season after league officials gave fans a mini-league last winter to gauge fan interest and found out that there is still a thirst for competitive senior hockey in the four strong hockey communities on the west coast.
Brake has been impressed with the calibre of play and support of the fans throughout the region as the league enters the Christmas break.
League officials expressed a desire to form four competitive teams to ensure parity around the league and Brake believes that’s been accomplished judging by the close standings and number of close games fans witnessed in the first half.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and the reason I say that is because I hear nothing but positives back from our fans and positives from the four teams in the league,” Brake said. “Obviously, when that’s what you’re hearing then something is going right.”
Brake said attendance at games has been great, although he admitted that the numbers dropped a couple of weeks ago like it normally does around the holiday season when people are scurrying around trying to get things ready for the festive season.
That’s part of the reason, he said, that the league decided to send players on the Christmas break a little earlier so that the holiday rush didn’t impact fan attendance.
“I’m quite pleased with parity this year and it’s certainly something that’s going to be in the forefront for the league to make sure parity continues for the many, many years to come,” he said.
Over the festive season, Brake said the biggest issue to be addressed is nailing down a playoff format that all four teams can live with. Brake would have preferred to have that issue put to bed before the season began, but, in defence of the league and the people working to make it a viable product, he said there were just too many things to be straightened out before the season started and time didn’t allow for it.
He said a playoff format will be in place during the holiday season and released before action resumes in early January.