ARNPRIOR – The West Carleton Rivermen of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League (EOSHL) will be moving from Kinburn to the Bert Hall Arena at the Nick Smith Centre in Arnprior for the 2021-2022 season.
The move is the culmination of a variety of issues forcing the owner, Galetta’s Adrian Moyes, to seek a new home for the team that will, despite playing out of Arnprior, keep the West Carleton Rivermen banner.
The Rivermen were unable to secure ice time at the Cavanagh Sensplex in Kinburn, the arena the team played out of on their run to the inaugural EOSHL 2019-2020 championship final. The team lost to the Cornwall Prowlers in the fifth game of the thrilling five game series. Less than a month later the world was enveloped in the COVID-19 pandemic. There hasn’t been an EOSHL game since that Feb. 6, 2020 game five final.
What is incredible about the EOSHL, even though the league hasn’t played a game in a year and a half after cancelling the 2020-2021 season, the league has seen incredible growth. The EOSHL finished its last game with four teams but will start the 2021-2022 season this September with 12 teams from all over eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
The league’s second season schedule has not been released yet but EOSHL President Mitch Gagne says the season will start on the weekend of Sept. 25 and finish on the weekend of Feb. 12, 2022.
When the 2021 EOSHL season starts, the Rivermen will be playing in a new home where they will host 10 weekend games.
“We’re excited about the move,” Moyes told West Carleton Online yesterday (Aug. 18). “The location is definitely better, especially from a fan perspective.”
Moyes said the move was necessitated out of a lack of availability at the Kinburn Sensplex.
The Silver Seven Hockey Club has rented a lot of the available ice time at the rink for their A and AA program for 10 to 16-year-olds. Nine city rinks are closed for use as vaccination sites.
“So, ice in the city is really sparse,” Moyes said.
The canteen at the Kinburn rink no longer has a tenant either, meaning there would be no concessions to serve the fans. During the 2020 playoff run, the Rivermen attracted what looked like more than 100 fans for several of their playoff games.
Moyes eventually was able to negotiate a deal with the Town of Arnprior.
“A big thank you for the Town of Arnprior for working so hard to welcome the Rivermen,” Moyes said.
A big advantage of the Bert Hall Arena it is smack dab in the middle of a town with a population of around 10,000 people that shares its border with West Carleton.
“We think we’ll get more foot traffic for sure,” Moyes said.
The Kinburn Sensplex is located at the dark intersection of Kinburn Side Road and Carp Road. The Village of Kinburn is actually 4.3 kilometres away.
When the season starts, the Rivermen will play in the North West Division with Pontiac, Smiths Falls, Tweed, Deseronto and Frontenac.