Saturday, September 11, 2004

There will be hockey somewhere next Friday!

While Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow play chicken, there are plans afoot to provide some kind of hockey for the day after Armageddon.

Something called the Original Stars Hockey League is set to launch on Friday with a game in Barrie, two nights later there will be a match in Sarnia, Ontario. While details are rather sketchy so far, it seems that over 113 NHL players have submitted their names for the four on four leagues draft sometime next week.

Organizer Randy Gumbley says the OSHL is a go and will help fill the void in a hockey fans life while the two sides bicker and bite at each other. The league is to be made up of six teams, consisting of 12 skaters and one goalie on each side. Each team will be named after one of the original six franchises and apparently they will barnstorm around the country. Locations suggested for games include the likes of Quebec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and a host of Junior A cities in Ontario. Gumbley has put together a list of sponsors and charities that will benefit from the gate at these matches, the players will take a cut of the revenues as will the league organization which will claim 3.5% from the nightly take.

The game itself will feature a four on four format, consist of three, seventeen minute periods with nor red line, no touch icing and changes allowed only on the fly.

The focus is to keep the game of hockey in the public’s eye and help the players keep in shape at the same time. The league apparently will come to a crashing end should the two combatants in the NHL wars reach an agreement, sending everyone off to their NHL home. Judging by the tone of yesterday at the NHL offices, four on four hockey the OSHL style may be with us for a while.

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