Beginning next hockey season, there will be fewer teams in Bantam AAA on P.E.I. meaning fewer players will have the opportunity to play at the highest level.
Rob Newson, executive director of Hockey P.E.I., said the big reason for decreasing the number of AAA teams is because having so many AAA teams stretches the talent too thin, which leads to problems at the lower levels.
“We do know when teams play outside our province, there are teams that struggle to compete, and that’s unfortunate and we don't believe it provides the best positive environment for our kids,” he said.
P.E.I.'s Bantam AAA league will be reduced to four teams.
Instead of a team each in Tignish and Summerside for example, players in that area will have to try out for one team.
“We believe that will play at the proper level they should be playing at,” said Newson.
Some -- like parent Andrew Campbell -- are taking issue with the change.
“We're able to be competitive throughout Prince Edward Island. I see no reason why we need to rezone and make a zone between Summerside and Tignish, and make parents travel all that distance for the sake of trying to make a super team,” he said.
Campbell has written a letter to both Hockey P.E.I. and the Summerside Minor Hockey Association opposing the changes.
The Bantam minor hockey level is for players aged 15 and under.
Linton Rogerson, Bantam coach, worries the change may discourage players currently playing at the highest level from sticking with it.
“Is it a matter of winning at all costs, or is it about keeping kids in hockey and letting them play?” he said.
Newson said it’s not all about winning.
“This is not about winning championships, that's not what we're doing this for. We're trying to provide those kids with a better opportunity,” he said.
Newson maintains there was plenty of consultation before the decision was made and that it is final.