LEFT TO RIGHT Junior players Liam O’Rielly and Curtis Kavanagh, minor players Patrick Devereaux and Noah Boland and senior players Scott Marshall and James Cadigan in home and away Jerseys. ( Don Power Photo)
Following five seasons of operating independently out of the same arena, the three levels of hockey at Jack Byrne Arena have joined forces heading into the 2016-17 season.
The Northeast Minor Hockey Association has joined with the junior and senior teams to form one group designed to help promote the game at all levels. As part of this agreement, the junior team – which plays in the St. John’s Junior Hockey League and has had a player affiliation agreement with Northeast since 2011 – will change its name to Eagles moving forward.
The minor association as well as the senior and junior teams will continue to have their own executives and associations, but will come together to help each other through a separate body designed to help with promotion, fundraising and sponsorship.
The agreement was reached at a recent meeting of all three organizations.
“We’ve had a great relationship with the Northeast Eagles since we began using their graduating players since 2011,” says junior team president Doug Tibbo. “This is a great time for us to use the Eagles name and make it one complete association.
“Our executive feels this move will not only benefit us from a fundraising and sponsorship perspective, but will hopefully bring more of the former minor Eagles out to play for us in the years to come. We’re very happy to make this change at this time.”
The idea of the larger umbrella group came from minor hockey’s executive. Minor president Joe Murley says his executive had discussed the idea for some time, and felt just after this season ended was a good time to get the teams together.
“We have 700 kids in our association, and we’ve done some promotional events with the senior Eagles before that have worked well,” Murley said. “We feel we can certainly help the junior team with some things, from sponsors to encouraging our membership to support the juniors at their Sunday afternoon home games.
“By bringing the junior team into the fold as Eagles too, it allows us to promote one brand and have kids from four years of age onward play competitive hockey as Northeast Eagles.”
As part of the agreement, the Junior Eagles will begin the 2016-17 season wearing the Eagles logo and colours.
The Senior Eagles, which plays in the Avalon East Senior Hockey League, was formerly the Torbay Sharks, but became Northeast Eagles five years ago. Joe Maynard from the senior group is also happy to see the three organizations working together.
“I’ve been involved in the Avalon East since it started 50 years ago,” Maynard said. “When we became Northeast Eagles we started a relationship with minor hockey immediately. By adding the juniors to the group, it will provide great continuity and branding opportunities for the Eagles.
“We’re looking forward to the coming season and what having all three groups working toward one goal can achieve.”