"The North Bay Skyhawks are likely out as the main tenant at Memorial Gardens after next season and a new Nipissing Lakers men's varsity hockey team is in.This sort of reads as a pre-emptive strike fired by the Junior A club. It is threatening to fold and hang on to the junior hockey rights for the area so no junior team can move in with Hockey Canada's blessing -- in other words, make Nip U look like Larry Tanenbaum in a mortorboard.
"That was the message delivered Sunday by Skyhawks management, who decided togo public with the issue by calling a media conference." -- North Bay Nugget
"... after an initial meeting between the two groups Saturday, it appeared the revenue pie provided by arena advertising rights isn't sufficient enough to operate both programs effectively."Obviously, given the focus of this site, it would be great to see another Canadian university get in the game for men's hockey (and women's hockey in good time, right?). One point that should be stressed is that ideally, any school wishing to ice varsity hockey should have its own campus rink, so these rob-Peter, pay-Paul situations don't crop up.
Hopefully, the people in North Bay do what's right for North Bay. The timing and the tide might be right for CIS hockey in Ontario's North.
One question in the long, long, long term is realignment if Nipissing and McMaster (does anyone know what's going on there?) push the OUA up to 20 teams.
There doesn't seem to be a satisfactory way to put Brock, Guelph, Lakekead, Laurier, McMaster, Nipissing, Waterloo, Western, Windsor and York into two five-team groups without irking someone. McMaster would probably want to play traditional Southern Ontario rivals, while Nipissing would probably want a Northern Ontario with Lakehead.
It might be the spur for the OUA to finally drop that byzantine four-division setup, with its "Mid-East" and "Far West," and just have two 10-team conferences. Each team can play a home-and-home in the conference (18 games) and play each team on the other side once for a 28-game schedule.
Of course, going to 20 teams might be used to justify having 16 playoff spots, which would be just as bad as major junior hockey. The university game is better off having teams earn their spot.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m., May 6: Just doing our rock 'n' roll duty to pass along Ken Pagan's latest on hockey at Nip U... : Process underway for Nipissing hockey squad; Plenty of details still to be worked out for 2009-10