Flyers take leave of absence

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The NPHL is down to six teams after Monday night on Oct. 8, after the Fort St. John Flyers announced they would not be part of the league for the 2019-20 season.

NPHL President Jack McAvoy made the announcement after being informed by the Flyers of their intention.

“I have given the one-year leave of absence but according to the NPHL Constitution they receive no money back and will not be treated as a new team next year.”

Flyers’ president Paul van Nostrand issued a statement on behalf of the team.

“Due to a lack of player availability for the upcoming 2019-20 season, the Fort St. John Senior Flyers Hockey Club regrettably announces they have requested a one-year leave of absence from the North Peace Hockey League.

“This decision was not taken lightly and the entire Flyers organization is extremely disappointed with this development.

“On behalf of the FSJ Senior Flyers Hockey Club, I offer my sincere apologies to all of our faithful fans, sponsors, volunteers and alumni who have stood by this storied team for over six decades.”

McAvoy is proposing a 20-game schedule with the existing teams – twice at home and twice on the road. Division play will be scrapped.

Due to the teams wishing at previous meetings that all teams qualify for the playoffs, McAvoy is proposing the playoff format is as follows: first and second place receive a bye while third plays sixth and fourth plays fifth is a best-of-five series. The semi-finals and final are best-of-seven with the higher seed receiving home ice advantage.

The Flyers entered the NPHL in 2004-05 and played 15 consecutive seasons – the longest such steak in the league. They won the NPHL title in 2008-09 and in 2017-18 and the Lawrence Cup title for placing first overall five times: three times from 2006-07 to 2008-09, and in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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