Phantoms add new coach, second home

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Andrew Wagstaff
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PARRSBORO The Fundy Phantoms will make some changes behind the bench for the upcoming season, and will also be changing where they play some of their home games.

The Nova Scotia Junior C League hockey team, which for the past three years has called the Parrsboro Lions Arena home, will now split its home schedule between Parrsboro and the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill, according to general manager Jeannie Morris.

Weve had a lot of p

PARRSBORO The Fundy Phantoms will make some changes behind the bench for the upcoming season, and will also be changing where they play some of their home games.

The Nova Scotia Junior C League hockey team, which for the past three years has called the Parrsboro Lions Arena home, will now split its home schedule between Parrsboro and the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill, according to general manager Jeannie Morris.

Weve had a lot of pressure over a period of time to move the team to Springhill, so we agreed this year, she said. We finally broke even last season, but its a huge financial commitment. Were hoping to increase the fan base.

Morris said she was concerned that moving into Springhill might step on the toes of the Springhill Cool Blues Junior B team already playing there, acknowledging that it doesnt always work to have two junior teams playing in the same town. She said they are just trying the split schedule for this year and will reassess the situation after the season.

If the team finds more support in Springhill, it could end up moving there completely, according to Morris.

You have to look at it as a business, he said. Up until last year the team was still not really paying for itself. We would like to get to a position where we can give back to the players a little bit. Were just barely covering our basic costs, and last year was the first year we did that.

Playing in a small town like Parrsboro and competing with minor hockey for fundraising dollars is very difficult, according to Morris, who said they cannot continue to exist there unless more businesses and people offer support.

On the coaching front, Paul Morris has given up coaching duties and will take on a senior management role with the team, while Paul Atkinson will step behind the bench as the new head coach. A former assistant coach with the D. W. Thompson/Scotsburn Midget AAA Ramblers, Atkinson brings a wealth of experience to the team, according to Morris.

Hes been doing AAA midget with Mouser (Terry McManaman) for a few years, and played right up through to junior hockey, she said. So he brings us that level of experience as a player, and a fair amount of coaching experience too over the last few years.

Atkinson already has some players lined up to bring into the system, according to Morris, although she was uncertain as to how many are committed at this point. He is also looking to increase his coaching staff, she explained.

All the changes are meant to improve a team that has finished in the basement for each of its first three seasons.

The league is changing and growing, and is different hockey than it used to be years ago, she said. There are very good teams out there, and were hoping to start being more competitive.

The changes with the Phantoms are just a part of the new face of the provinces Junior C league, as new teams will be added next season from Liverpool (South Shore Wild) and Windsor (Avon River Rats), and the former Colchester Crunch makes its move to the Eastern Shore official by renaming itself the Harbour Crunch.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

The league will also be hosting an all-star game in January.



Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior C League, Springhill Cool Blues Junior B

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Springhill, Liverpool

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