Rezoning by Hockey P.E.I. to start the 2014-15 season marked the end of a strong and successful bantam AAA program in Summerside.
The Bantam Capitals had just made back-to-back appearances in the P.E.I. Bantam AAA Hockey League championship series.
As far back as I can remember, to at least the mid-1960s, Summerside has always had the best level of bantam hockey available to its kids.
Summerside had the chance to share the newly-zoned team, which is the Prince County Warriors based in O’Leary but declined, says Hockey P.E.I. executive director Rob Newson.
Summerside Minor Hockey should not have had to make a choice. When I asked Newson, in a short conversation this week, does Hockey P.E.I. think that there are only enough players up here for one team, he offered a “no comment.”
Cater to the elite, rather than offer the opportunity to develop more, is the end result. Now in the fourth year of this format, the effects are felt at both the bantam and midget levels in Summerside.
Summerside’s midget AAA team is last in its league with a dismal 5-23-0 (won-lost-tied) record, and the AA team is 4-13-2. A combined 9-36-2 tells us they both miss the players that came their way with graduates from the AAA level.
Bantam AA players and lower this year get to automatically advance to AA or above next year, and the results of that are in the numbers above. Sometimes change has far-reaching, and not so favourable results, for many.
On the other hand, the Warriors have won two of three P.E.I. Major Bantam AAA Hockey League titles while finishing runner-up in the other.
Harness racing race dates have been announced for both Charlottetown and Summerside for 2018. The Charlottetown meet will open in April, with Summerside’s live season getting underway the following month.
Charlottetown has 73 dates from April through to the end of December. Summerside has 27 dates from its opening Victoria Day card on May 21 to its final card on Oct. 31.
I stand to be corrected, but I think the 27 dates allotted to Summerside is the lowest it has been in recent memory.
The Governor’s Plate is July 14 in Summerside while the Gold Cup and Saucer is Aug. 18 in Charlottetown.
The New York Rangers announced this week that they are going to rebuild, and all their players are on the trade block except for goalie Henrik Lundqvist. What a slap in the face to their fans for the Rangers to throw in the towel on the season, only three points out of the playoffs.
Are they going to offer refunds to fans that shelled out thousands for season tickets expecting to see the team put their best efforts into winning?
One can only wonder why they would announce a surrender on the season?
They could have just gone about their business and did the same thing without announcing their intentions.
On a recent Hockey Central at Noon show, analyst Nick Kypreos said that it would cost a family of four about $1,200, with concessions, to attend a Toronto Maple Leafs’ game.
What if that game featured the Leafs against the Rangers, and you just shelled out that kind of money to see the game?
You would have every right to ask for a refund. The Rangers should be fined and dealt with for a dumb announcement like that at this stage of the season.
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.