Mount Pearl Blades ask to sit out senior hockey season
Officials from the Mount Pearl Senior Blades hockey team say the team probably won't play out of the Mount Pearl Glacier, or anywhere else this year.
The Blades sent a formal request to the Newfoundland and Labrador Senior Hockey League on Friday, asking for a year off.
In a statement to the league, Blades vice-president Jim Hare said his group "would not be able to ice a team that would be competitive this season".
Neil Norcott, president of the N.L. Senior Hockey League, said the Blades are going through a rough patch.
"Generally its been a bit of a struggle for them to get the financial commitment, the players," said Norcott. "The fans' support from last season certainly has had an impact on their ability to proceed this year."
Norcott said since professional hockey with the St. John's IceCaps returned in 2011, ticket sales for senior hockey have dropped.
Player not surprised
Former Blades player Terry Ryan said he knew something was up when he was traded to the Conception Bay CeeBee Stars last week.
"First of all, Mount Pearl never did get any fans, you know, worth talking about."
But Ryan says that may be just part of the problem— sales for the Blades have always been down.
"Maybe we should have advertised more, maybe there should be something outside the arena saying the Blades are playing tonight," said Ryan.
"I definitely think there could have been things done to get more fans in the building."
Ryan said bad news in the hockey-saturated St. John's-Mount Pearl area could mean good things for senior hockey elsewhere in the province.
"I think the league may even expand again," speculated Ryan. "I could see room for it to a place like Stephenville, if Gander is successful."
Approving request would change senior hockey season
If the senior hockey league approves the Blades' request to sit out the season, Hare said the team will use the time off to work on recruiting players for next season.
League officials would have to go back to the drawing board to rejig the upcoming season's schedules and players.
The senior hockey season was supposed to start on Oct. 20, but with so many changes, Norcott said that date may change as well.