A last gasp attempt to organize the High Prairie Regals for the 2016-17 season has failed.
“The High Prairie Regals informed me at 8:30 p.m. [Oct. 31] that they are out for 2016-17,” e-mailed NPHL president Jack McAvoy.
The Regals were “in and out” of the NPHL several times since first notifying McAvoy Oct. 28 that they were not going to ice as team. A final order came Oct. 29 when McAvoy was informed the Regals were meeting Oct. 31 in a final attempt to ice a team. He gave the Regals until 2 p.m. Nov. 1 to announce their intentions.
However, any attempt to revive the Regals came with several stipulations as outlined in the NPHL Constitution including a $4,000 fine for missing their scheduled game Oct. 29 at Valleyview.
McAvoy was first notified of the Regals demise Oct. 28.
“The High Prairie Regals have informed me that they are folding their team for the 2016-17 hockey season,” wrote a disappointed McAvoy in a e-mail.
“I did not want this to happen but they couldn’t proceed due to a lack of players and sponsorship.”
The NPHL will operate with the Falher Pirates, Grimshaw Huskies and Valleyview Jets in the East Division, and the Dawson Creek Canucks, Fort St. John Flyers, Grande Prairie Athletics and Spirit River Rangers in the West Division.
Any potential change in the playoff format will be discussed this week. McAvoy is seeking input from the teams.
The Regals took a leave of absence two years ago before the start of the season. It was the first time since their inaugural season in 1957-58, that the Regals did not ice a team in the NPHL, and ended in impressive streak of 57 consecutive years of operation.
The Regals rejoined the NPHL last season but posted a terrible 0-24 record. Overall, the club has now lost 30 straight games.
The club attempted to raise money with a small executive since the spring but little came to fruition. Last week, two longtime executive members resigned to further complicate efforts.
The Regals’ folding leaves the West Division teams with 22 games and East Division with 20 games. All games with the Regals are deleted. Games will be added in the East Division at random to bring their total back to 22. The new schedule will be released Nov. 3.
The Regals still hold NPHL records for most championships with 13 [tied with Grimshaw] and most first place finishes with 16. However, the last title was won in 1988-89 and the last first place finish was in 1991-92.
The Regals entered the NPHL in 1957 after the completion of the Sports Palace the same year. The Regals were first sponsored by the High Prairie Elks. The name ‘Regals’ came from a competition at the local high school and the colours that the Regals still sport today, red and black, were also chosen at that time.
The Regals’ first title was in 1958-59 and was the first of two straight. The glory years of the team were from 1971-72 to 1985-86, when the team won 10 titles and lost three other finals in 15 years.
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