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CEC hockey hits another roadblock


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TRURO - Brett Lauther is one step closer to playing hockey this winter.
The biggest hurdle has been crossed, finding a team to play for. But that team may not have any ice to play on.
Lauther, thanks to his Nov. 4 birthday, will be too old to return to his Truro Bearcats minor midget AAA team. Players can't turn 18 before Dec. 31 to play midget hockey.
His saving grace is Cobequid Educational Centre will ice a boys team next school year, returning from a three-year absence. But the school is having difficulty finding ice time in rinks already booked solid, including the rink that lies just feet from the school, Colchester Legion Stadium.
"That's where all the CEC fans will be at," Lauther said. "But any way we can get it would be better than not playing."
Despite being a perennial contender in almost every other scholastic sport, hockey hasn't been popular at Cobequid with its students traditionally playing minor hockey.
The school didn't ice a team for the past three seasons because it couldn't meet the requirement of having a school staff member as part of the team.
Jeff Hazelton has offered to coach and with several staff members agreeing to fill the staff requirement on a rotating basis, it looked as if the school was set to play.
Lauther said he was excited to hear the news.
"Especially for my Grade 12 year I didn't want to miss out on my final year (of hockey) before you go off to college and have to do other stuff," he said. "Minor hockey has a lot of memories especially this past year winning provincials with all my friends."
But now the school needs to find a way around the ice time roadblock or players like Lauther will sit out.
"Hockey is obviously a big sport and we would like to do it," said athletic director Mark Roberts. "But it's got to be done right."
Roberts said there was talk of the school possibly having to play home games in Pictou County.
"We're not going to have a team if we have to go over there," Roberts said.
"We want to play in Truro and maybe if we have to go to Brookfield or Debert that might be what we have to do."
Roberts said he understands there is a big demand for ice time in the area, but hopes something can be worked out.
"The school is right beside the stadium and we don't feel we should have to go to Pictou to play home games."
Hazelton said he hopes the Cougars can be slotted in so players caught in Lauther's situation can play.
"Basically, every year there's kids that because of their birthday are too old to play minor hockey," he said.
"It's one of the largest high schools in the province and it just seems there should be a team there."
Lauther, who was second in the league with 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists) in 19 games with the Bearcats last season, said he doesn't want to think about missing out on the coming season.
"One of my friends had a bad birthday (last winter) and said it was the worst thing to not get to play," he said. "You live for hockey."

sports@trurodaily.com

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