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HOT CORNER: Caps at a huge disadvantage travel-wise

['Joe MacIntyre']
['Joe MacIntyre']

It was a great year for Summerside United Soccer Club

The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals face a tough season of travel in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
The Caps are one of six teams in the Eastlink North Division, which includes New Brunswick teams in St. Stephen, Miramichi, Campbellton, Edmundston and Grand Falls. Travel within this division this year will amount to about 12,300 kilometres, and another 3,544 kilometres playing teams in the South Division.
This is with an unbalanced schedule within the North Division, where the Caps play their nearest teams – Miramichi and St. Stephen – more than the rest. The over 15,800 regular-season kilometres amounts to just over 9,500 miles – or the equivalent of almost nine return trips to Boston.

Click here for story on this year's Western Capitals' schedule:

All this travel is a huge commitment for the Caps’ organization – and an even bigger commitment for all those who travel those long bus trips. As has been said here before, the Caps would have less travel playing in the South Division, where they now play each team just once at home and once away.
Teams in Truro and Amherst are closer to Summerside than any team in the North Division, and playing both, without doubt, would create rivalries with both teams by playing more. The Caps are paying a huge price playing in the North Division, and what the heck if the league had seven teams in one division and five in the other?
The fairest way to determine standings in any league is by playing each team an equal number of times. Since that is far from the case in this league, what would be the difference with seven- and five-team divisions?
Good luck, and safe travels to the Caps this season!

Minor soccer
The Summerside United Soccer Club produced four provincial champions, and two runners-up this past season. The age groups of under-13, 15 and 18 Premier girls, as well as the under-18 First Division boys, captured provincial titles. The under-13 and 15 First Division girls won silver medals at their provincials.
Jim Fisher, communications director for the program, says the club had an enrollment of 530 youth this past season, which was down a little over last year. He does expect that to increase next year.
Congratulations to all the winners as well as the runners-up.

Harness racing
Harness racing is never too far from my thoughts, and I think it is worth mentioning that recent programs in both Charlottetown and Summerside produced similar results. Until this year, Summerside has very rarely had the opportunity to host the invitational horses after the Governor's Plate in July.
A program in Summerside two weeks ago had the invitational pacers, and the 13-race program produced a wager of $27,313. A 12-race program last Saturday in Charlottetown, with an invitational Pace featuring most of the same horses, produced a wager of $26,575.
Those are very similar numbers and goes to show that if there is a quality race program in  Summerside, this track can produce the numbers as well.

Anniversary column
This weekend marks eight full years of the Hot Corner, and I do consider it a privilege to be able to bring it to you each week. I am one of those sport fans who loves baseball, hockey and harness racing – and in that order. I follow little else and in fact a fellow once asked me if I was watching the Ryder Cup, and I wondered why he looked at me kind of strange when I answered, "I don't follow soccer!"
For those who don't know, the Ryder Cup is an annual golf tournament pitting nation against nation.
Going forward, I am always open to suggestions for the column. Please feel free to contact me with anything you would like discussed, and I will try my best to accommodate.
Until next Saturday, have a great week!

Joe MacIntyre is a local life insurance broker. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to joemacintyre18@gmail.com.

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