Mark Reynolds looked out over the arena in Harbour Grace with disgust on his face.
His team, the Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars, has been kicked out of the Avalon East Senior Hockey League.
On the ice, two of Conception Bay’s most talented players put on a clinic for minor hockey children.
“If I was going to pay anybody, you’d think I’d pay those guys,” said Reynolds, president of the Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars.
“They are the f–king Delaneys.”
But Ryan and Keith Delaney do not play for their hometown, the CeeBee Stars — because players in the Avalon East league are not allowed to be paid.
‘We could never prove the CeeBees were paying players.’
– Jack Casey, president of St. John’s Capitals
That hasn’t stopped people from hurling accusations at the CeeBees, the defending league and provincial champions.
The list of accusers includes Jack Casey, president of the St. John’s Capitals and one of four men responsible for removing the CeeBees from the league for the upcoming season.
“We have gone to great lengths to avoid that particular issue,” Casey said when asked if the CeeBees’ removal had to do with player compensation.
“Early last season we came to grips with the fact that we could never prove the CeeBees were paying players.”
Reynolds denied the accusations on Friday, saying they did not need to pay players to ice a winning team.
The league’s executives said the CeeBee Stars are getting the boot for a different reason, however.
The team is too advanced to play in their league.
“For any person who follows senior hockey, the differences are obvious,” Casey said.
“They have much greater fan support, they have more volunteers, they bring in much greater revenue and they operate with greater expenses.”
The CeeBee Stars pulled $35,000 in profit last season, while the Capitals made $205 and the Conception Bay Blues lost $391.
“These are a couple of examples of how we are not in the same league,” Casey said.
What’s the problem?
Reynolds doesn’t see anything wrong with that.
Under the league’s revenue sharing agreement, his team pays a portion of its revenues to the league. It also gives $2 from each ticket sold to the visiting team to offset travel costs.
If anyone should be upset about the CeeBee’s place in the Avalon East league, it’s themselves.