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Low interest puts Stephenville Jets senior hockey team in jeopardy

The Deer Lake Red Wings and Stephenville Jets do battle in action from the West Coast Senior Hockey League in 2017. – Randy Alexander photo
The Deer Lake Red Wings and Stephenville Jets do battle in action from the West Coast Senior Hockey League in 2017. – Randy Alexander photo - Contributed

With just 12 people showing up to a tryout for the Stephenville Jets last week, Art Barry says it's not looking good for a senior hockey team in the town this year.
“We might get three to four players out of them," he said. "There’s just not much interest as we didn’t even have a single goaltender trying out."
Barry has another practice planned for this Wednesday. If not enough players show up, he plans to throw in the towel.
“I’m not going to stick around," he said. "If there’s no commitment, there’s no team."

Art Barry
Art Barry


If there is no Jets team, there may not be senior hockey anywhere in western Newfoundland this year. Earlier this summer, the Deer Lake Red Wings said they intend to ice a team this coming season after taking a hiatus last year. However, the team's organizers said they have no intention of playing in a three-team setup.
Deer Lake cited a shortage of committed players as the reason for its withdrawal last year
The Corner Brook Royals and Port aux Basques Mariners have indicated they should have teams ready for the coming season.
Meanwhile, Dave Bruce, the league’s public relations director, said what needs to be done is a league meeting sometime after the Jets practice this week to see where they are as a league.
He said it appears the Royals and Port aux Basques Mariners are fully on board, but Stephenville is still up in air and hasn't done anything to make the league feel they’re coming back.
“I talked to Art (Barry) and got the feeling from him that they may not be able to come up with enough players,” Bruce said.
With Wayne Hounsell of Stephenville not standing for re-election as president of the league and Shannon Batiste of Port aux Basques having stepped aside from the position, league representatives have to elect a new president when they do meet.
Bruce said Deer Lake is still up in the air too, because they don’t have ice down yet and it will be several weeks before they do.
Time is moving on quickly, noted Bruce.
He said he has talked to Dennis Waterman of the Royals, who believes Deer Lake should have some practice sessions in Corner Brook so they could see where they stand in regard to forming a team.
The Western Star tried to reach Deer Lake officials for comment, but there was no reply as of deadline.
Bruce said if the league would include Stephenville, it would take steps to ensure all teams are competitive by providing improved player base access within Corner Brook’s territory.
“If we had of done something like that last year, we probably wouldn’t be in the situation we’re currently in,” he said.

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