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West Coast Senior Hockey League going with shorter regular season this winter

The West Coast Senior Hockey League is going with a shorter regular season this winter.
The West Coast Senior Hockey League is going with a shorter regular season this winter. - Star file photo

There will be a shorter regular season for the West Coast Senior Hockey League this winter.

A shorter regular season was one of the topics on the agenda for the West Coast Senior Hockey League at a league meeting Sunday night in Stephenville.

League president Wayne Hounsell said league representatives voted in favour of reducing the number of regular season games from 18 to 12 for the 2018-2019 season.

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Hounsell said teams had concerns about 18 games being too long for a regular season. With most of the weekends tied up they weren’t able to commit to other things because of hockey so they wanted to tail it back.

He said the regular season had its hiccups last winter with games being postponed because of flooding and harsh winter storms so they figured going with a shorter regular season might ease some of the burden.

He also said the playoff format will feature best-of-seven series in both the semifinal and final round.

As a result, the players will pick up a few extra games in the post-season if series prove to be close as organizers expect will be the case.

With some teams concerned about having healthy rosters in terms of numbers, the league has decided that all four teams will have to submit a protected player list of 16 skaters and two goaltenders by Oct. 1.

Once the protected player lists have been submitted, Hounsell said the league will take a look at how they will disperse the players that weren’t fortunate enough to be protected by one of the four centres.

He said a player draft, whether it be formal or informal, is one method the league will be looking at for player dispersal for those who aren’t protected, but no final decision on what happens to those players has been made.

That decision will not be made without team delegates weighing in on the discussion before the season opens.

The West Coast Senior Hockey League is one of three senior hockey leagues operating under the umbrella of Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, but it’s the only one not participating in Herder play this season.

The West Coast Senior Hockey League was presented with an opportunity to participate in Herder play with the other two leagues with HNL footing the bill, but Hounsell confirmed Monday that the league turned down the offer.

Hounsell said the league opted to play the role of observer when it comes to Herder hockey this year and the teams will take another look at it next winter.

“We want to focus on growing our own league first,” Hounsell said.

The defending champion Deer Lake Red Wings will open the season against the Corner Brook Royals Nov. 16 at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex. The Port aux Basques Mariners tangle with the Stephenville Jets on opening night at the Stephenville Dome.

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