The La Ronge 89ers are taking a leave of absence from the Beaver Lakes Hockey League.
That’s according to former team manager Kevin Roberts, who said the league’s executive was notified the 89ers would not compete in the 2018-2019 season about a week ago. Last season ended poorly for the squad, which ultimately dropped out of playoffs due to a lack of players showing up for games. Roberts noted the reason for taking the leave of absence is largely the same as last season's exit.
“We’ll see what happens … after a year break and see if we have enough guys to commit,” he said. “We couldn’t get a full commitment from the guys. Guys have families and they’re working.”
Last season, Roberts added there were away games where the team barely had two lines to work with. Not only does it effect competitiveness, but Roberts said there are safety concerns with travelling to games with such a limited numbers of players. The 89ers have been part of the Beaver Lakes Hockey League for three years and Roberts hopes the leave of absence isn’t for more than one season.
“It gives guys the opportunity to play a different calibre of hockey,” he said. “Right now, there’s rec hockey but there’s no contact to it or officiating. This adds more of a competitive nature playing in a competitive league and more fans come out at the senior level.”
larongeNOW reached out to League President Kevin Reimer for an update on Beaver Lakes, but he wasn't available for comment. Aside from the 89ers, the Muskeg Lakes Blades and Saulteaux 3 Stars also dropped out of the league last season leaving four teams, including the Meadow Lake Broncos, in the playoffs.
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