Region's largest hockey tournament may be shut out of Centre 200
Richie Warren is responsible for the large task of scheduling all of the hundreds of games at arenas all over Cape Breton Island. However, this year he was told Sydney’s crown jewel - Centre 200 - is off limits.
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 6:56PM AST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 6:57PM AST
With more than 100 teams taking part, the Vince Ryan Hockey Tournament in Cape Breton is the largest in the Maritimes and claims to be the biggest in the world.
The tournament has been around for 24 years and last year it pumped about $5 million into the local economy.
Richie Warren is responsible for the large task of scheduling all of the hundreds of games at arenas all over the island.
However, this year he was told Sydney’s crown jewel - Centre 200 - is off limits.
The arena is already booked for high school hockey provincials, hosted by Sydney Academy the weekend of March 22.
“I have nothing against Sydney Academy or the students, but I think it is disgraceful, after all these years, to be bumped and that’s what’s happening,” says Warren.
Centre 200 manager Paul MacDonald says it was a tough decision.
“Sydney Academy has been with us as well,” says MacDonald. “They’re one of our major clients. They got an opportunity to host provincials for the first time. It’ll probably be their only time they’ll get that in the next number of years.”
In other years, one of the tournaments could likely be moved to another weekend, but for the high school provincials, it seems there is only one weekend in 2013 that works.
“The weekend before it is March Break. The weekend after the one suggested by the NSSAF is Easter. That was the only weekend,” says Kevin Deveaux, the principal at Sydney Academy.
Vince Ryan teams have been booking accommodations since the summer.
Warren says some specifically asked for games at Centre 200 and now he is worried as many as 20 teams might drop out of the tournament.
MacDonald disputes that number, but there is no disputing the tournament has to make up 27 hours of ice time.
“We may make up some hours, but not 27,” says Warren. “So we’ll have to look at rinks in Baddeck and Port Hawkesbury, which is extra costs to us in bus service to and from.”
“I did speak with Mr. Warren and we’re going to work through this,” says MacDonald. “We’re going to do the best we can to accommodate him.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald