Senior hockey league in disarray as 4 of 6 teams depart
Four of the six teams in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League have withdrawn, citing hefty expenses and a wish to relaunch a west coast league instead.
"We just couldn't afford to stay into a provincial-style setup. It's just too expensive," said Ross Coates, who coaches the Western Royals, one of the departing teams.
We had to try and do something else to change it up and make it a little more interesting for the fans- Ross Coates
Joining the Royals are teams from Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander and Clarenville.
Plans are now afoot to revive the West Coast Senior Hockey League, which folded three years ago when it merged with the Avalon East Senior Hockey League.
Coates said the reformed western league will mean significant savings in transportation, and will also make the game better for fans.
"We just felt that the fans were losing interest in a provincial-wide league, so we had to try and do something else to change it up and make it a little more interesting for the fans," he told CBC News.
AGM set for June 13
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball happens to be the west coast rep for the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League, and admits there have been troubles in recent years.
However, he said disgruntled teams should take their concerns to the league's annual general meeting on June 13.
"I would encourage these teams to get back, use the AGM in Gander in a few weeks' time to obviously get the league back on track," Ball said.
Coates, though, said the participating teams hope to have the new western league formed in the next few weeks. He said the new league will mean "a lot better rivalries" and will have a sustainable schedule for players and fans alike.
"It's going to reduce your travel costs and it's going to make it a lot more stable," he said.