A strong finish to the season, with the Corner Brook Royals winning the Cliff Gorman Memorial Cup in a hard-fought six-game series against the Port aux Basques Mariners has West Coast Senior Hockey League president Wayne Hounsell optimistic about the future.
“A lot of good things happened,” he said. “So, it was a success.”
The No. 1 objective in the offseason, however, will be to find a fourth team, whether that be in Deer Lake or somewhere else.
Playing games on Friday and Saturday nights was one of the early focal points of the league when it came to be two years ago, a business model which would run a lot smoother with four franchises.
“With four teams it’s so much easier to operate the schedule, so that’s our main focus,” Hounsell said.
He placed the odds on a Deer Lake Red Wings return at around “60-40,” as he believes there’s a lot of talent available and a desire still exists in the town to compete. It’s just a matter of finding a management group to run the team.
There even exists the possibility of a fifth team, he said, if Deer Lake does return, and he points directly to the Northern Peninsula and a team based out of Rocky Harbour for that. He said many of the league’s current players hail from that area already.
“Hopefully, someone will be inquiring and finding out what it would take to run a senior hockey team,” he said.
Hounsell, who said he will consider putting his name out for the presidency again, is also aware parity is an important issue for the continued existence of the league. He said everyone knows there’s a lot of talent based in Corner Brook and the executive will have to find a way to make some of it available to the other teams.
These issues and more will be addressed when the current league executive meets within the next two weeks to plan for the league’s annual general meeting, which will occur “prior to May 1.”
There a new executive will be elected and any resolutions or changes to the constitution will be made. Anyone interested in entering a team for the upcoming season would need to have an application ready for the AGM as well.
From there, the Hockey NL annual general meeting goes ahead in early-June, where anything decided upon can be officially finalized by the provincial body.