It looks like the Gander Flyers will see things through.
An agreement, finalized this morning, Feb. 1, marks the end of the regular season, with the Central West Senior Hockey League playoffs starting Feb. 24.
The playoffs are based on current standings.
The Flyers will face the Clarenville Caribous in a best-of-three series, with the winner advancing to the best-of-seven championship series against the first place Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts.
The announcement from the Flyers falls on the heels of news that the team was facing financial difficulty.
“Revenue for this season has fallen well below budgeted figures and, as a result, has placed the team in a very serious financial situation,” the Flyers’ organization said in a press release.
As a result the team was considering discontinuing the season.
However, “the executive wished to push forward, exhausting all options available to them, to keep the Gander Flyers alive,” read the release.
“It is only through the extreme hard work of our executive and concessions from our players that this playoff run is even possible.”
Flyers’ General Manager Garry White told TC Media the team is very pleased to be able to carry on.
“When you get involved in any kind of organization, and you have a passion for it, you don’t really want to see it go out the way it was about to,” said White. “It’s really the last thing you want to see.”
Aside from the League, teams involved and Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) approving the jump to playoffs, White said the players themselves played a big role in making the playoffs happen.
According to White, the players presented a proposal to accept a reduced rate of pay.
“To know that these players are coming from outside of Gander and have agreed to be paid for practically next to nothing for that weekend is overwhelming,” said White. “It really shows their desire to keep hockey going and give us a fair shake on finishing the season on a positive note.”
However, it’s now up to the fans.
The Flyers press release states playoff support is needed and they are asking their fans and supporters to show up for the Feb. 25 game.
“We need a full Steele Community Centre to welcome home the Purple and Gold,” the Flyers said in their news release.
“We plan to make this a very special night honouring the great history of the Flyers franchise. This will truly be a Flyers Celebration.”
The team also put out a pitch for financial support.
“If anyone would like to contribute to the team financially, have a fundraising idea, or just want to volunteer in some form . . . contact email@example.com”