The CeeBee Stars are set to close out their first season back in the senior hockey.
The team has just half-a-dozen games remaining in its schedule heading into a pair of weekend games with the Northeast Eagles and the Southern Shore Breakers.
It is integral for the CeeBees (3-14-1) to get off on the right foot in the New Year. The team isn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it isn’t an easy road to title contention.
The team trails the fourth place Breakers by nine points with six games remaining in the schedule. With only 12 possible points up for grabs, the CeeBees need some luck over the final stretch of the season to even have a chance at the playoffs.
“We’re not giving up hope on making the playoffs or giving up on anything,” said CeeBees’ president Mark Reynolds. “We’re going to keep building on the structure and the systems.
“We’re going to keep moving forward.”
The CeeBees were a different team this season, not only on the ice but in the boardroom as well. There were holdovers from the previous team, but for the most part they were a brand new team and organization when they got the call to return to senior hockey last fall.
“Our focus was to rebuild the organization,” said CeeBees president Mark Reynolds, one of the new faces. “Year 1 was step one. We didn’t think we were going to come out and challenge for the Herder (Memorial Trophy) right away.
“We wanted to put the building blocks in place.”
To some extent, that’s exactly what they’ve done. The CeeBees have pieces in their lineup they can build around, even with the uncertainty that comes with player commitment in senior hockey.
Guys like Robert Slaney, Jacob Lewis and Andrew Fenwick were top notch all season. Forward Kenny King, taken in the first draft of the season, was solid and was a threat every time he touched the puck.
Midway through the season, Matthew French, Paul Brown and Chris Petten returned to the fold after a couple of years away from the team.
Junior guys like Zack Quinlan and Bradley Bishop got their feet wet this season and should be primed for a solid season in the AESHL next season with the club.
“We’re just looking for guys to keep working hard over the next six games,” said Reynolds. “We’ve lost some tight games that we could’ve won. We’ve got a draft coming up and we’re going to try and put some more pieces in place that are going to help us this year and as we move into next year.”
Featuring some of the faces from the previous CeeBees regime, the new organization knew they were facing a tall climb if they wanted to again reach the top spot in a league they dominated for a long time.
“We knew this was going to be our hardest year,” said Reynolds. “We’ve done some great things on things that are required to build an organization from scratch and we’re working through it. We’re positive, onward and upward.
“We’re full steam ahead.”
Reynolds sees the season as being a success. He points to the hard work from volunteers and the players as being a prime reason for this.
The CeeBees have made inroads into rebuilding their fan base heading into next season.
“There are guys we’re never going to forget for helping us this season,” said Reynolds. “The same goes for volunteers and the fans. We’re not going to forget everyone involved.
“The support has been unbelievable.”