Days after nearly giving up on forming a senior men’s hockey team, Don Webber, Northern Director for senior hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador, held one more team meeting. It was the last chance for the players to show Webber there was enough commitment to go ahead with it.
Seven players showed up at EJ Broomfield for the 7:00 pm meeting. Others were hoping to make it but had prior commitments. Nonetheless, Webber decided there are enough players to host Labrador City on November 30th and 31st.
The team currently has 16 skaters and four goalies. Because many of the guys haven’t been making practices, it’s unclear whether or not Goose Bay will have enough players committed for road games later this winter. But for now Webber and his players are focusing on the games in Goose Bay this weekend.
“It feels good now. I think we’ll have a good team,” says Webber. “I can’t wait, I think we’re going to get a good turnout (with the fans).”
As soon as the meeting ended, Webber began preparations for the matches. There’s no shortage of work to be done. The team is looking for a sponsor, ice time for practices, and a head coach. Webber has been in talks with a couple of men around town about the coaching position.
Webber and his team are confident that everything will get done in time for puck drop against Lab City. But some players are concerned, without ice time for practices; the team may not be ready.
Clint Mclean, a veteran on the Goose Bay team, says this will be his first full-body-contact game since 2003.
“We need a few practices with contact…right now everything’s kind of iffy about being in game shape,” says Mclean. “It’s going to take a few games to get into it.”
It feels good now. I think we’ll have a good team. I can’t wait, I think we’re going to get a good turnout (with the fans). - Don Webber
One of the key players for Goose Bay will be Marc Bourgeois, who played major junior hockey for the Lewiston MAINEiacs and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The speedy forward, originally from Glace Bay, Cape Breton, is taking power line course at the College of the North Atlantic. It’s been over a year since he played a competitive, body-contact game, but the 22 year old has enjoyed playing recreational hockey in Goose Bay.
“It’s definitely a change…it’s a relaxed atmosphere with the boys,” says Bourgeois.
In the recent recreational league tournament in Goose Bay, Bourgeois played on a line with Wayne Blake and Jonathan Mitchell. The line looked sharp offensively. If the three forwards play together for the senior team, Lab city will have their hands full on defense.
“We have good chemistry on that line,” says Bourgeois. “I like to dish the puck, Jonathan can put the puck in the net, and Wayne can do a bit of everything.”
No matter who coaches Goose Bay’s team this weekend, or how many practices they have, the games against Labrador City should be hard-hitting and entertaining. Both teams will be playing for pride and bragging rights.
“Bodies will be flying,” says Don Webber. “It’s a good rivalry. Always has and always will be.”
The two games on November 30th and 31st both have an 8:00 pm start time.