Bonavista Bantams cut from playoff play

CAHL vote to remove Bantams after complaints received

The Central Alberta Hockey League has ousted a Rimbey hockey team from the playoffs and their decision doesn’t sit well with head coach, Bill Bramfield.

“Our hockey season should end on the ice and not on the phone,” said Bill Bramfield. “I didn’t know this could happen. I didn’t know it was a possibility to remove a team for being strong.”

Rimbey Bonavista Bantams, who played in Tier 5, had enjoyed a successful season, losing only their final game against Castor when they completed with only eight players.

Bramfield admitted the Bantams are a strong team, but noted they did not win any games with more than a seven point difference.

“The truth is, it’s a very good team, hardworking and the kids were very coachable.”

The call from CAHL that the team was eliminated from the playoffs came shortly after the last game was played and Bramfield said the boys were devastated.

“It seemed strange. Other teams have the same type of record,” he said.

The decision to eliminate Rimbey came about because other teams in the league had complained that they were too strong for the tier they were playing in, he said. However, Bramfield said his team, just like the other teams they were competing against, were playing hard and really hoping to win the playoffs.

“That’s what we kind of thought was the point of competing. Sometimes you’re at the bottom and sometimes you’re at the top.”

Bramfield said when he received the news that Rimbey was to be eliminated, he appealed the decision to a committee, however the appeal went nowhere.

Members voted unanimously to remove Rimbey and award them a regular season banner.

Central Alberta Hockey League president, Terry Silverson said the final decision was made based on a rule in the hockey league based on unbalanced competition.

“It’s happened before. It’s not something new. It’s not the first time. We use the same process over and over.

Silverson said a representative from CAHL had contacted a representative from Rimbey Minor Hockey and Bonavista Bantams on Nov. 6, 2018.

“They were officially and formally asked to move up,” he said, noting that the request was declined.

He said verbal complaints about the team had been received throughout the season, but it wasn’t until recently that the written complaints came in.

“It exploded at the end,” he said. “It’s not that I’m not disappointed, (but) the competitive balance is extremely important.”

He said he believes there was lack of communication between the two hockey entities.

“We are trying to be as transparent as we can,” he said.

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