Caribou’s fans will have to wait just a little longer to find out if their favorite players are hitting the ice this season.
GM Ivan Hapgood says the team’s roster is expected to be finalized later this week, possibly late Thursday or Friday.
“We’re making some progress, but we’re having challenges,” said Hapgood, who told the Packet last week that, following HockeyNL’s merger of the AESHL and the CWSHL in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League (NSHL), he expected as much as 40-50 percent change up in the roster.
Under the rules of the new league, players will not be paid.
“It’s a major change to ask those guys to switch over from years of playing hockey for reimbursement and then to ask them to do it for nothing… that’s a big challenge,” says Hapgood.
Caribous players in January of 2018, opted to finish the season without pay when the organization ran into financial hardships due to declining fan base.
Hapgood added he feels the roster is about “two/thirds” complete, which he feels is “good progress” given the many different moving parts involved.
Last week, Caribous captain Dustin Russell and goalie Jason Churchill told The Packet they were uncertain about their future with the team, with Russell stating that in all likelihood he would not be starting the season on the ice.
Both men have been with the team since it began. And both now have more family commitments with young children.
As for when the Caribous will hit the ice, Hapgood said the schedule is still being tweaked.
A draft schedule was released Monday night, Oct. 8, which, Hapgood says “needs some looking at.”
Thursday night games were not a part of that draft schedule.
The Packet will continue to follow the senior hockey story and will have more information as it becomes available.
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