Hockey team falling through the cracks

Derek Montague
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Goose Bay’s senior hockey team could have been playing here.

At the beginning of October, Don Webber was hoping to put together Goose Bay’s first senior men’s hockey team in five years. The competitive team would have played against squads from Labrador City and Fermont throughout the winter. If past games could be any indicator, the matches against these rival teams would make a great show.

But Webber, who is the northern director for senior hockey, might have to give up on that goal. He has had a tough time getting players to come to practices. Webber says 19 players originally committed to the team in October. But he’s been getting only 10 or so coming to practice on a regular basis.

“Never ever before have I experienced this,” says Webber. “And I’ve been involved in the game for over 30 years. We never had a problem getting a team and the building was full when we did.”

 Steve Power, who’s lived in Goose Bay for three years, was hoping to play on the team. It’s been awhile since Power has played hockey at a competitive level. With several men’s recreation teams in town, he never thought Goose Bay would struggle to ice a competitive team.

Some people said the practices were at an awkward time, but if you want to play, you’ll show up ... Steve Power

 “I was disappointed. They said they were interested, but they really weren’t,” says Power. “Some people said the practices were at an awkward time, but if you want to play, you’ll show up…you’d think there’d even be enough players for tryouts.”

After several practices with too few players, Webber had to make a decision. Every player was contacted before practice on November 9th. They were told the team would be dropped if not enough players came to practice. Despite the dire warning, the same handful of players showed up.”

“I felt kind of sick to tell you the truth,” said Webber. “It’s a lack of commitment. We don’t want them if they’re not willing to commit.”

At the time this article was being written, Webber said he might give players one more week to recommit. But with Goose Bay scheduled to host Labrador City and Fermont at the end of November, time is running short. He will soon have to decide if Goose Bay can ice a team, or if the games will be cancelled. If nothing happens, it’ll be a sad event for hockey in Goose Bay.

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Labrador

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