Black Press File Photo

NCHL AA Eckville Eagles looking to relocate to Lacombe

City of Lacombe recently granted permission to begin operations next season

Hope for senior hockey in Lacombe springs eternal, with a potential new AA North Central Senior Hockey League (NCHL) looking to move operations to play their 2019-20 season out of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.

With the AAA Lacombe Generals recently announcing they are ceasing operations, the Eckville Eagles of the NCHL see Lacombe as a potential opportunity for growth.

“It is probably the worst-kept secret going right now, but our Assistant GM Jared Williams is a Lacombe native and he is spearheading this whole thing,” Eagles owner and defenceman Reed Watts said. “He has the connection and he is really pounding the pavement to facilitate the move.”

The Eagles, who are considering rebranding as the Lacombe Generals after the potential move, recently received permission from the City of Lacombe to begin operations next season and are now waiting for NCHL approval.

“It will be bittersweet if we can make this happen,” Eckville native Watts said. “The truth is that with the AAAs shutting down, there is a big market without a team. With our situation in Eckville, in our eyes, we have hit our max on fan support and revenues.

“We looked at it as best for business and by moving it will give us an opportunity to have a higher budget which will allow us to move from one of the lower-spending teams to be able to do a bit more.”

Watts said the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex is a big reason why the Eagles would make the move to Lacombe.

“I am from Eckville and played my whole minor hockey career there, but the fact is we will have an easier time attracting players to a facility like Lacombe,” he said. “It will be easier for us to attract players when they have the opportunity to potentially have a place to leave their equipment, along with having their own stalls.”

Watts wanted to ensure people knew the move does not stem from a lack of appreciation for Eckville.

“Our situation in Eckville has been tremendous, we love the people there and the arena staff are great people, along with all the volunteers but the fact is that we are always short-handed and struggling to find volunteers. Lacombe offers a better opportunity for us on that,” he said.

The potential adoption of the Generals name hinges on several factors.

“I see maintaining that name as the logical choice, but it could also be a fresh start for the name,” he said. “We are going to be talking to people in the community. When we moved to Eckville, there was debate about the name and ultimately I came in with veto power and said the name is the Eagles. That is what Eckville teams are.

“We have’t made commitments on names because we also don’t know if the existing Generals will allow us because they may have aspirations to run the AAA team again in seasons ahead.”

The potential new Lacombe Generals would stay at the NCHL AA level and would not compete for the AAA Allan Cup.

Watts stressed that the move remains unconfirmed until the NCHL approves the move.

“I don’t want to say goodbyes to Eckville yet,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Calkins comments on CPC promise to make maternity benefits tax free

Tax credit would remove federal income tax from EI maternity and EI parental benefits

Lacombe County Council contributes to new Eckville playground

The Eckville Fundraising Society is receiving $50,000 from the County to put towards the playground

Eckville Slo Pitch asks Council for additional diamonds

The league is looking to expand and can’t do so with its current two diamond, one night arrangement

Eckville Jamboree ready to dance in to town

The annual three-day event, Aug. 23-25, will be held at the Eckville Community Centre

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

Pembina buying Kinder Morgan Canada and U.S. portion of Cochin pipeline

The deal also includes an Edmonton storage and terminal business and Vancouver Wharves

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Alberta oil curtailment rules extended to late 2020 as pipeline delays drag on

At issue is ability to export oil in face of regulatory and legal challenges against pipelines

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Most Read