As August rolls into September, the usual things are happening.
The days are getting shorter, students are getting ready to head back to school and there are questions around the status of provincial senior hockey.
At least, that is how it has been for the last couple of years as things have become less certain about the leagues and teams.
That holds true for 2019 as the calendar will soon move beyond the Labour Day weekend and senior hockey fans reach a fever pitch as they long for answers, especially in central Newfoundland.
This particularly true for teams in Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor and Harbour Grace as there is no clear answer as to where each team will be playing this season.
“We are proceeding as if the season is happening,” said Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts president Stan Coffin. “We’re always fundraising and that's been the key to our success.”
The Cataracts won their 15th Herder Memorial Championship last season after a 4-1 best-of-seven series victory over the Southern Shore Breakers in the spring of 2019. It was the team’s fourth championship victory in the last six years.
The Cataracts got to that point after a tangle of a season that had them exist in a two-team league with the Gander Flyers. In that Central West Senior Hockey League, they played each other a staggering 10 times.
The other games that would have completed the schedules for the Flyers and the Cataracts were supposed to come from the East Coast Hockey League. However, there were missed dates and no shows by east coast teams that caused the season to go to just 17 games.
“We are looking at a couple of different scenarios,” said Coffin.
As the Flyers general manager, Goldsworthy recently helped transport a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle to the Avalon Mall in St. John’s on which tickets will be sold as a fundraiser for the team. Since then, he’s been bombarded with questions about the status of the team.
The Flyers are in the same position as the Cataracts without a place to play; however, that hasn’t stopped the team from looking ahead to the future.
“We are moving forward to have a team on the ice this winter,” said Goldsworthy.
In Harbour Grace, the CeeBees are again facing a year without icing a team. After being unceremoniously dumped by the East Coast Hockey League in 2017, the team has been without a game in any league.
Last season, they thought they had something lined up with the Central West Senior Hockey League but that fell through.
Heading into this year, the team has submitted an application to rejoin the east coast league, but there is still no word on the status of that application.
Clarenville Caribous general manager Ivan Hapgood has been a part of this senior hockey information lull before.
He said plans don’t shake out and gaps don’t get filled until the Hockey NL meetings held in the fall.
Still, the Caribous are in relatively good shape when it comes to hockey next season. A member of the East Coast Hockey League since last season, the Clarenville entry are primed to have what they believe to be a successful stint on the ice.
“We currently have five teams ready to start playing hockey,” said Hapgood.