Natural rivalry begins

Joe McWilliams
For South Peace News

Will the Slave Lake Icedogs have – as rumoured – a rival team in High Prairie soon?

Here’s hoping, and the signs are certainly pointing that way.

In fact, if Greater Metro Hockey League West official Derek Prue is correct in his forecast, the pieces might already be in place at time of publication.

Last week in a phone interview, Prue said the establishment of the High Prairie Red Wings was down to “the finishing touches.” Coach? Stay tuned. Players? Stay tuned. Management? Ditto.

This was the team slated to play in Rosetown, Sask. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was still the intention. Then news started to leak through about the Red Wings relocating to High Prairie. A story to that effect appeared in last week’s South Peace News, making it all but official. ‘Junior A hockey coming to High Prairie,’ said a sub-title.

Prue was pictured at a meeting with High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk, Gerald Cunningham of East Prairie and Icedogs’ owner Lauren Prue.

At about the same time [Oct. 28], a story appeared in an online publication called WestCentralOnline, entitled ‘Future in doubt for Rosetown Junior A team.’ It gave the impression nobody had been told what was going on back on Rosetown. The article cited Icedogs’ coach Brian Noad as saying things about the Red Wings relocating. The comments appeared to have been lifted from a Slave Lake Lakeside Leader article, but without attribution.

Prue told The Leader last week the intention always was to locate the Red Wings in Rosetown, but the unavailability of ice until November was too much a stumbling block.

Meanwhile, discussion were going on with people in High Prairie about staging a ‘showcase’ game and a conversation started about having a team there.

“It met with a lot of interest,” he says. “The success of the Icedogs played a role, and High Prairie was able to accommodate dates.”

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