This week's announcement that Hockey P.E.I. will make the current seven-team P.E.I. Irving Oil Bantam AAA Hockey League a four-team loop is a bit premature.
If this goes through, there will be only one team from western P.E.I., instead of two now.
The O’Leary-based Western Maroons and Summerside Capitals will become one team, and this looks to be the wrong move at this point. One has to look no further than the present league standings to find out where the real strengths and weaknesses are in the current league.
As this is written, the Maroons are in first place with an impressive 17-3 (won-lost) record, followed closely by Summerside with an equally impressive 15-2 mark.
Making one team out of these two would suggest there will be some pretty good players unable to play AAA hockey.
Going a step further and looking at how the now peewee and future bantam teams may look like, and you will find very little difference. The top three teams in the P.E.I. Peewee AAA Hockey League are Pownal (15-3), Summerside (15-2) and West Prince (15-3).
A combined 30-5 record for Summerside and West Prince suggests there will be strong programs in both centres at the bantam level for at least the next two to three years.
When one takes a look at the weaker teams in both leagues, it is quite obvious where Hockey P.E.I. may be looking to form its opinion. In the peewee league, the weak teams are Sherwood and Kings County, which have won only a combined five of 34 games.
In bantam, the same two teams have an equally poor record of only six wins in 39 games. Is Hockey P.E.I. looking at the bottom and suggesting that all teams are weak?
The standings sure suggest otherwise.
One would think that Kings County and Pownal may be a good marriage, while the other weak sister in Sherwood could join with Charlottetown. If those two unions were to happen and Summerside and West Prince were left alone, I think a good five-team league would result. Stay tuned!
Junior C Capitals
The Summerside Source for Sports Capitals are having a pretty good year in their first year in the Razzy's P.E.I. Junior C Hockey League.
The last time Summerside had a team in this league was back in 2004-05, and it is great to see a team here once again.
The Caps had a bit of a rough start, winning only two of their first eight games. But the team has rebounded nicely to become a solid contender. The Caps went into Friday’s action 13-10-1 (won-lost-overtime/shootout losses), and sit comfortably in fourth place in the seven-team league, five points up on fifth-place Souris.
The Caps went into weekend play only four points behind third-place Tignish, but that will change. The Caps were scheduled to play Friday night, and will host Tignish in Slemon Park on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
Saturday’s game should be a good one as the Caps must win if they hope to catch the Aces. There is just over a week left in the regular-season schedule, which concludes on Feb. 3.
Doug Dexter coaches Summerside, and obviously does a very good job. He always gets a great effort out of his team, and the Caps may very well be a surprise team in the playoffs. I would not bet against a Dexter-coached team.
More on the Caps and this league in the weeks to come.
Big hockey weekend
It is a big hockey weekend in Kensington. The first half of the home-and-home series of the Kensington, P.E.I.-Bedford, Que., Peewee Friendship Hockey Exchange takes place this weekend in Kensington. The two teams will meet at Community Gardens at 5:15 p.m.
This is always a fun-filled event, and fans are encouraged to come out and see hockey in its purest form.
The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild major midget team hosts Miramichi on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers are scheduled to host arch-rival Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings from Abram-Village on Sunday at 7 p.m.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about the lack of an outdoor rink in Summerside, and that the city should at least consider building something permanent. There has been an attempt to make a rink at Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) on the track, but the recent mild weather played havoc with that.
One would think those in charge would pay a little closer attention to the forecast, which could have saved some time and money. Starting a rink in the middle of January in most years is a waste of time.
I see where there are eight outdoor rinks in the Charlottetown area, and all are run by the city. One would think that if Charlottetown can run and maintain eight outdoor rinks, that Summerside could have at least one!
Although it is great to have the oval at QEP, Summerside should do it right and build something permanent that can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come. As long as I write this column, this issue will not go away.
It was 29 years ago this past Wednesday that Summerside native Gerard Gallant made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings.
He scored his first NHL goal on that day against Billy Smith and the New York Islanders. It seems like yesterday, but that proud moment happened on Jan. 22, 1985.
Gallant is now an assistant coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.