When the temperature outside is hitting the high twenties and people are complaining about how "sticky" it is, ice hockey may be the last thing on most people's minds.
But when you talk to Ian Moores, it's not hard to get him to talk hockey even on one of the hottest days of a Newfoundland summer, as far away from the hockey season as you can skate.
"I've been talking hockey," since the last season ended," Moores quipped when The Compass contacted the C.B.N. CeeBee Stars' coach last week.
Like everyone, he's enjoying the summer, but can't wait for late September when his pride and joy CeeBees team lace up to start practicing for another season.
Moores comes by his fervour for the sport honestly. A second generation CeeBee, he is the son of Doug Moores of Harbour Grace who played for the CeeBees back in the late '60s, during their first dynasty. Four decades later his father is still very much involved with the team as an active member of the club's executive.
Starting in October, the CeeBees will play 24 regular season games against their rivals in the Avalon East Senior Hockey League, including the Southern Shore Breakers, Mount Pearl Blades, Torbay and Bell Island.
After two disappointing seasons of losing the coveted Herder Memorial Trophy to Clarenville, Moores and his CeeBee Stars are chafing at the bit to get back on the ice and rob the Caribous of a hat trick.
The CeeBees made provincial hockey history two years ago when they won the Herder three seasons in a row.
"We won three straight (Herders) and lost two straight," Moores said. The last two loses were "bitter defeats" for his team the 34-year-old coach admits.
But despite losing the Herder for the second year in a row, the CeeBees did have a good season last year winning the Avalon East Senior League championship for the sixth consecutive year and recording the best winning percentage in Newfoundland senior hockey.
"We're looking forward to some changes next season," he says.
"The (CeeBees) organization wants to get back on top," the coach says, "no question about that."
To help them get there they are hoping to bring back some former players and add some new legs to the line-up. They have their eye on seven or eight prospects for the upcoming season, including some former CeeBees and some, who would be newcomers to the club. All have strong credentials.
"It's not confirmed yet, the coach cautioned, but it's no secret we're targeting the two Delaneys, Keith and Ryan. Sean Wadden is another player they would like to see wearing a CeeBees jersey and they are hoping to sign Coady Roach, who has been playing junior hockey on the mainland. Brandon Roach who has also been playing professional hockey on the mainland for a number of years is another prospect the CeeBees would like to see dress for them next season. The Roaches are from the Bay Roberts area.
Ryan Penney of Salmon Cove played with the Caribous for the past two seasons helping Clarenville win back-to-back Herders. Penney is another player the CeeBees hope to lure to their club for the 2010-11 season.
The (CeeBees) organization wants to get back on top. No question about that. - Ian Moores
Moores said the club is also talking to Matthew Brag of Newman's Cove, Bonavista Bay. Brag played three years with the Barrie (Ontario) Colts and one season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Major Junior League. And Scott Brophy of St. John's, who played for two years with the Gatineau Olympics of the Quebec Junior Hockey League and a season with the St. John's Fog Devils. He also played four years with the national champion St. Mary's Huskies of the AUAA.
They could stand to gain seven or eight new players. But Moores says they may lose Mark Tobin.
While the coach is confident his team will not only make it to the finals, but bring the Herder back to Conception Bay North next year, the road to the Herder is never easy for any team. Mentioning some of their rival teams that make up the Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Moores says Mount Pearl just signed Randy and Andrew Piercey. "So they're going to be very strong next season." The Southern Shore Breakers, who usually give senior hockey fans a good game whenever they tangle with the CeeBees, will be back, and Torbay and Bell Island round out the league membership.
Solid fan base
Alluding to the degree of support his club enjoys in the Conception Bay North area, Moores says, "we get a lot of support from our fans...big time, and we look forward to the same kind of support next season. But fans want to see their team win, and we look forward to bringing back the Herder next year.
"We're excited about the 2010-2011 season and, with continued support from our fans, we'll get back on top and bring the Herder back to C.B.N.," he vowes.
Montreal Canadians Legends
Moores says the CeeBees will kick off the season with a match against the Montreal Canadians Legends.
Lorne Tucker, manager of the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, who arranged the match, confirmed the Montreal Canadians Legends team will be at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium Oct. 16 for a game with the CeeBees.
Tucker said Stephane Richer of the Canadians Legends will be in the province July 29 for a celebrity golf tournament at The Wilds on Salmonier Line, where the team line-up and more details of their October visit to the province will announced.
Harbour Grace is one of only three places on the island the Legends will visit this fall. They also have games scheduled for Mount Pearl and Bonavista.
Meanwhile, besides their loyal fan base, the CeeBees are looking at setting up a booster club.
While no changes are expected on this year's executive, Moores says they're always looking for volunteers willing to help out the club in any way they can.