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West coast senior hockey representatives weigh in on league's future

West Coast Senior Hockey League representatives will converge on Stephenville Saturday for the league's annual general meeting Saturday 10 a.m. at Day's Inn.
West Coast Senior Hockey League representatives will converge on Stephenville Saturday for the league's annual general meeting Saturday 10 a.m. at Day's Inn. - Star file photo

Representatives of the four entries in the West Coast Senior Hockey League will sit around the table this weekend to discuss the future of the game in this neck of the woods.

The defending champion Deer Lake Red Wings, Corner Brook Royals, Stephenville Jets and Port aux Basques Mariners will have representatives on hand for the league’s annual general meeting Saturday 10 a.m. at Day’s Inn in Stephenville.

The Star talked to representatives of the respective teams this week to get insight into what they liked about the league last season and what do they think needs to be done to make it an even better setup as it heads into its second full season of operation.

Perry Compton,

General Manager, Deer Lake Red Wings

What was the most positive thing about the league last winter that you hope continues for the 2018-2019 West Coast Senior Hockey League?

The parity in the teams, which made for good fan attendance in all the buildings. I saw just as much fan attendance last year than I saw any of the years Corner Brook was on the go and I think that’s a lot to do with the little rivalries within the communities. When you went to the arena you didn’t know which team was going to win and it made for a good fan experience.

What would be the biggest concern you would like to see addressed to make the league even better?

The biggest concern I have right now is the availability of quality players in our area. We had a player from St. Anthony, a player from La Scie, a player from Trout River, and seven players from Corner Brook who played for the Deer Lake team. My biggest issue is the availability of local players within the area to ice a quality hockey team to compete in this league.

Richard Dennis

President, Corner Brook Royals

What was the most positive thing about the league last winter that you hope continues for the 2018-2019 West Coast Senior Hockey League?

The two big things we founded the league on, and that is proven to be successful in all the communities, is that for the most part it’s local players so the people in the community know the players on the ice and I think that’s the reason we got really good attendance. The other thing was ticket prices staying at eight dollars for adults and five dollars for 12 and under. That’s the two big things that were a success for the league this year and it’s two things that I’m sure we’re going to carry forward going into this year.

What would be the biggest concern you would like to see addressed to make the league even better?

I think the biggest challenge we’re going to have and it’s probably going to continue into the future is we, as a league, have to find a way to help the smaller communities like Port aux Basques and Stephenville, in particular, to make sure they have enough talent on their team to be competitive. I think that’s going to be an issue every year just because of population decline in the smaller communities so it’s something as a league we have to address to make sure those guys don’t have a sub-par team and they’re going into the season with no hope of winning because that’s no good for the league. We need to have four teams who are fairly competitive.

Art Barry,

General Manager, Stephenville Jets

What was the most positive thing about the league last winter that you hope continues for the 2018-2019 West Coast Senior Hockey League?

The league impressed me quite a bit for local hockey. We started this to bring local hockey players to the table and give them a game of hockey to play for nothing because we all know if we start doing that we’ll end up like the Central West league ended up this past year. We’d like to more or less keep it at that level. As long as our boys are getting a game of hockey I’m happy because I’ve done nothing but fight this past two years for local hockey players. We needed to put a game of hockey in this stadium and bring a bit of hockey back to this town because we haven’t had it for 20 years. As a team, we need a little bit more territory because (with) a couple of more players last year, I think, we had a good chance at beating Corner Brook. It ended up in a nice playoff with them, and the best team won out in the end, but we don’t have enough territory to have a competitive team.

What would be the biggest concern you would like to see addressed to make the league even better?

I hate to say it, but I’m still thinking that there’s hockey players being paid in this league and I’m deadset against it. About 20 years ago, I walked away from this hockey because of paid players because I was down that road before and seen where it went. I really don’t want to see it again and it’s being done, and I’ve got emails to prove it but he said and she said you know what that ends up into. If these guys start paying hockey players this league is going to go down the tubes and we’re never going to get it back again. It’s not about winning anymore. It’s about giving these guys a game of hockey.

Shannon Battiste

President, Port aux Basques Mariners

What was the most positive thing about the league last winter that you hope continues for the 2018-2019 West Coast Senior Hockey League?

For me it was the excitement of the fans. Everybody got watch some good games. It was well welcome. We had no hockey here for five years so people we’re excited to have it back again. We did have some troubles in the league last year and there’s still a lot of troubles that have to be ironed out, but we’ll see how this meeting goes on Saturday. I don’t think this meeting we’re having on Saturday is going to go over well so I don’t know what the picture will look life after the meeting.

What would be the biggest concern you would like to see addressed to make the league even better?

We need a president for the league who is from outside the league who has no ties to either team because there’s too much foolishness going on where people were intertangled with teams. That stuff has to stop. We need a president who has no ties to any team so he’s going to follow the rules and regulations of what we got set out in our constitution and keep everything on a straight playing field for everybody and keep parity in the league.

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