The Island Community Senior Hockey League certainly appears to be having its share of problems getting their games in.
Over the last month, it appears that more games have been postponed than have been played. The death of a league player before Christmas resulted in some postponements at the time, but the list continues to grow.
Most leagues have been playing for a few months now, and have, in most cases, over 20 games played with playoffs just around the corner for some. In comparison, Charlottetown and Kensington have played eight games in the senior league, and Montague has played a total of only six games.
One has to wonder what kind of structure the league has at the top, or should I say lack of structure to let this happen?
It looks like a lack of commitment by some or all teams. As I said back a few columns ago, I think this league has a real chance of success and for other teams to be added. This league has to be taken a little more serious than what has taken place to date this season.
How do you attract player and fan interest when so many games have been postponed?
I know there are growing pains with any league, but this league has to do a lot better job than they have. If you are planning to take in a game, you may want to phone ahead to see if the game is still on, and, especially, if you are travelling any distance.
The UPEI Panthers are off to a great start to the second half of the Atlantic University Sport Menâ€™s Hockey Conference.
The Panthers had a couple of big wins last weekend at home to Dalhousie and nationally-ranked Acadia and have a couple of big road games this weekend. They were in Halifax, N.S., last night with a game against Saint Mary's, and have a stop in Antigonish, N.S., tonight to face the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.
The Panthers have a couple of big home games next week as Moncton is in Charlottetown on Wednesday night, and Gardiner MacDougall and his UNB Varsity Reds take on the Panthers on Friday at MacLauchlan Arena.
After the key matchup with UNB, the Panthers will have only six games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Going into Fridayâ€™s game, the Panthers (8-9-1) and Moncton (7-8-3) were in a fifth-place tie with 17 points while both teams were only four points up on Dalhousie, which is out of the playoff picture at this point.
The Panthers went into Fridayâ€™s action seven points behind the X-Men, which makes Saturdayâ€™s game in Antigonish a must-win for the Panthers if they hope to close the gap in the standings.
Being tied with Moncton makes next Wednesday's game against the Blue Eagles a very big game and, in fact, all the Panther games from here on will be like playoff games.
The suspension of its girls hockey team by Dalhousie University seems a little harsh. According to CBC news, the university has suspended 17 of the 22 girls who played with the Tigers in the Atlantic University Sport womenâ€™s league. This was the result of a hazing incident that took place with its rookie players.
It may be unfair to comment with so few details being released about the incident, but cancelling the season seems like a very harsh penalty. What about the five girls who were not suspended, and the remaining teams in the AUS league who lose out on those games against the Tigers?
What did the five girls do to deserve the same punishment?
Hazing can come with some severe consequences, and sometimes these team rituals can get out of hand. That must have been the case to take such a hard stand of cancelling the season.
Could those 17 girls not have received something less severe to save the season for the innocent?
It looks like the university is sending a very strong message that such incidents will not be tolerated, but the actions of the school certainly affects a lot more than just the 17 girls who were involved.
To me it sounds like a match penalty was rendered when maybe a 10-minute misconduct may have been more appropriate.
One thing I have always liked about Western Capitals general manager Pat McIver is the fact that he gets things done.
Who can argue the success he has had around the rink, and that comes from giving it his best shot through hard work?
The addition of five players at Thursday's roster deadline has shown what can be accomplished with a lot of persistence and hard work. He may need to have the players wear nametags with all the additions and subtractions lately, but one cannot fault McIver for trying to improve his RBC Cup-hosting Capitals.
The addition of a front-line goalie may be the biggest deadline signing. Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Bailie has put up some impressive numbers with the No. 2-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.
Bailie played in 27 games for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. The six-foot-three and 205-pound Bailie must be good to have played that many games for such a good team like London.
We saw what goaltending did for that 1997 Royal Bank Cup-winning Capitalsâ€™ team as Harlin Hayesâ€™ play in the semifinals and final was a big reason for the teamâ€™s success.
It sounds like Bailie may be at least as good as Hayes was, and that will be great for the Caps going forward.
It is great to have NHL hockey back, and fans are in for a real treat for this upcoming shortened season.
Winters seem long enough, but seem even longer without NHL hockey to watch. The 48-game in 100-day schedule will be a real sprint to the finish line, with all games being very important in the standings.
Hockey fans missed the NHL game during the lockout. If there is any consolation for the time missed, it will be the fact that this season may be as good as any we have seen in a long time.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.