Cash-strapped CeeBees pushing forward

Nicholas Mercer
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Rumours of club's demise premature, says Peter George

The Western Royals celebrate their 4-2 victory over the CeeBee Stars as CeeBees' forward Robert Slaney kneels dejectedly.

The Compass has learned that rumours of the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Word broke early Thursday (Jan. 24) that the team had held a team meeting to discuss the rest of the season prior to practice at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on Wednesday.

That much is true, but what is not true is the notion that the team would be closing up shop and ending the season.

Assistant coach Peter George confirmed the reports that the team was not financially strong.

The grind of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League, being that it is a province-wide league, has been an adjustment for the team.

“Are we financially strong? Not exactly, but again that is the nature of the league. No team can honestly say they are financially strong,” said George.

The CeeBees have struggled through a five win and 12 loss season and trail the Gander Flyers by a single point for the fourth and final playoff spot, with three games in hand, including two this weekend in Deer Lake against the Western Royals.

 

Players on board

George shot down rumours that players were not getting paid.

“To this date, we have honoured all contracts,” he said.

Veteran forward Terry Ryan said “all players are on board” and will be “100 per cent in Deer Lake” where the CeeBees meet the Western Royals for a two-game set at the Hodder Memorial Stadium Jan. 26-27.

“We’re there for each other,” said Ryan. “We are a team on and off the ice.”

Ryan added that the team is committed to completing the season, making the playoffs and competing for a Herder Memorial Trophy.

“I will say that the organization, the coaching staff and the players are together in this,” said George.

The players and members of the executive have worked out an agreement to finish the year.

Ryan said both sides agreed to some changes going forward.

“We agreed on a budget and we are all on the level,” he said.

This budget is said to include some alterations to meals and other amenities, according to Ryan.

“Maybe, instead of a steak meal, it’s Subway sandwiches,” he said.

 

Going forward

The hope of management is for the storied franchise to continue to push forward, complete the year and look to the future.

“We need to continue to work hard ensuring that the team survives,” said George. “What drives me and other members of the organization is the passion we have for hockey and the community.”

Sponsorships have not been a problem for the CeeBees. Many groups in the area have dedicated themselves to supporting senior hockey in the area.

“These businesses recognize the benefit that senior hockey brings to the surrounding communities,” said George.

Fundraising and volunteers have been at a steady climb for the club.

“We have more and more people coming forward with an end goal of forming an official booster club and I believe we are very close to that,” he said. “There are a lot of leaders in the community that want to see the CeeBees organization survive and thrive.”

Attendance has been a problem for the club. Enough fans have not been coming out to the rink and the CeeBees have been feeling the pinch at the box office.

Much of the slump at the gate has to do with a 1-8 record on home ice, but the team believes that if it can string a few wins together the trend will start to turn around.

“Looking up and seeing a full house on a Saturday night is truly gratifying and is the reason why most of these businesses support us,” said George.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: The Compass, Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars, Newfoundland Senior Hockey League CeeBees organization

Geographic location: Deer Lake, S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Harbour Grace Hodder Memorial Stadium

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Recent comments

  • Blaine
    January 26, 2013 - 11:51

    Harsh comments Jack, I do agree they should have asked a local feller but you could have Scotty Bowman coaching that crowd and it wouldnt matter. Old boys club there now with moores and Crocker. Buddy buddy system for years.

  • Jack Wheadon
    January 26, 2013 - 07:10

    As a Ceebees fan I find this article hard to fathom. First of all, this is a team with a Long history, why in gods name would you ask Terry Ryan about this? No offence to Terry but he's been a ceebee for 17 games. Why not ask a player who's been there when you didn't get paid? It's sad to see such a historical franchise struggle as they did this year. But this is a prime example of why it is. Secondly, Subway instead of steaks is the solution? Good work Terry. Perhaps a local coach is a start, perhaps lowering ticket prices may fill your rink, perhaps you won't get a soul with the NHL back on tv, and perhaps it's time to move on.