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Senior hockey extends lifespan in central Newfoundland

The opening games of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League’s central division finals between the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts will take place from March 2-3 in Gander.
The opening games of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League’s central division finals between the Gander Flyers and Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts will take place from March 2-3 in Gander. - SaltWire File Photo

It appears rumours of senior hockey’s demise in central Newfoundland have been greatly exaggerated. 

A little over a week after it was announced a deal could not be reached to bring a third team into the fold with the Gander Flyers and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, the teams have agreed to play a 12-game set starting in early 2020. 

News of the latest development, in what has been a tumultuous fall for senior hockey fans, came Nov. 29 when the Flyers and Cataracts announced via social media their commitment to the new format. 

"The alternate to what is being announced by the Flyers and Cataracts in an attempt to salvage this season, would mean a complete shut-down of operations and potentially impede a start-up next year or future seasons,” read a statement on the Flyers’ Facebook page.

There are hopes a third team will join the two clubs and between them a playoff series can be hosted to potentially compete for the Herder Memorial Trophy next spring. 

Leading up to this announcement, the Cataracts and Flyers were very close to shutting their doors for the season.  

A deal to play interlocking games against a representative of the East Coast Senior Hockey League fell through leaving the two teams to play against themselves.

Then came news without the central league’s participation this year there might not be a Herder Final. 

The question now moves to the status of players as some have moved on to teams in the east and west coast leagues. 

In a subsequent post, the Flyers indicated a player draft could be in the works to help fill out rosters. 

It is not known when in January the Cataracts and Flyers will start their season. 
 

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