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Still no answers on senior hockey in central Newfoundland

The opening games of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League’s central division finals between the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts will take place from March 2-3 in Gander.
The opening games of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League’s central division finals between the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts will take place from March 2-3 in Gander. - SaltWire File Photo

With senior hockey squared away on the west and east coasts, there are still plenty of questions about hockey in central Newfoundland. 

The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts and Gander Flyers are the only teams without a clear plan for the 2019-20 season. 

The Conception Bay CeeBees are back in the fold of the East Coast Hockey League after a couple of years away. The move came after Hockey NL, the sport’s governing body in this province, mandated the east coast league take back the historic franchise. 

An appeal by the league to Hockey Canada to deny the CeeBees was quashed and the league is scheduled to begin hockey this weekend. 

Meanwhile, organizers in Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander are not planning to forfeit their season yet.

A statement on the Gander Flyers’ Facebook page indicates talks are still ongoing between Hockey NL, the senior council and the central clubs. 

“We feel confident in the progress, although slow, and (remain) focused on ensuring hockey remains alive in Central, as well as across the island,” the post reads. “We appreciate your patience and the lack of regular updates is merely a reflection of the complicated and sensitive process we find ourselves in.” 

It isn’t clear where either team will go for outside competition. Both have stated a preference for a third team to play against, having little appetite to play each other in a two-team league this season.

As teams in the west and east start formalizing their seasons and rosters, there also remains the question of player access.

However, the fact both teams are working towards hockey should be taken as good news by fans. 

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