There is “lots of hockey left” for fans of the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts this year despite the shortened 2016/17 season, says the team's public relations spokesperson.
George Scott said turnout in the first round of the playoffs, however, could determine the future of the league.
“We’re pleased that Gander is still in it and get a chance to play again. Hopefully their fans will come out and support them, same thing in Clarenville…”
“As it said in the statement from the league, in terms of going forward into next year and that, let’s gauge what the fan support is, so this is an important weekend for the fans to get out…”
News broke earlier today the Central West Senior Hockey League (CWSHL) season had come to a premature end when the league made the announcement on their website.
“The League, HNL and all teams have agreed that the remaining three weekends of scheduled games will not be played,” the statement read.
The notice from the league goes on to say the Gander Flyers have received approval to continue to be a member of the league, but due to the team’s current financial inability to continue the regular season schedule, they will forfeit those games by default, and the opponents will be awarded points.
The shortened season was brought on by poor revenue and a lacklustre season, according to the statement on the Flyers’ website.
“Revenue for this season has fallen well below budgeted figures and as a result has placed the team in a very serious financial situation,” the team said in the statement. “We have experienced our struggles on the ice and our record was not where everyone would like for it to have been this season.”
Scott describes the Cats as “fortunate” in their fan support, but emphasizes the importance that will be placed on attendance in all rinks this playoff season.
“This league is designed to give a night’s entertainment to fans, and if fans don’t want (it), it’s not going to continue,” Scott told the Advertiser.
“There is just no reason for it too. So we need fans to show they are still behind us.”
The statement to fans on the league’s website echoed Scott’s words, saying, “The upcoming playoffs and the fan turn out for all games will be a very important test.”
The league described the events of the last week as a “crisis” and a “very close call” for senior A hockey in central Newfoundland.
The Cats will be given a by in the first round of the playoffs, while the ‘Bous’ and Flyers faceoff in the first round beginning Feb. 24 in Clarenville for the CWSHL Championship. The winner will move on face the winner of the AESHL Championship for the Herder Cup.
Scott says the Cats are unconcerned by the extended layoff created by the unique situation brought on by the decision to end the season.
“Some people are saying, ‘Geez, that’s a long time before we play again, it’s like five, six weeks,’” said Scott. “But that true for all the teams, and its tough to go a long time between games for them, but everybody is on equal footing and it’ll be up to the player to be ready when the time comes.”
Scott says the first-place Cats have their eyes firmly on the prize again this year, and are ready for the challenge.
“We’ll get back on track and make a run for another Herder, and of course you have the Allan Cup coming up too, so still lots of hockey left for the Cataracts yet.”