Player safety the reason Nelson Leafs forfeited final game of KIJHL season
Citing “player safety” as the reason, the Nelson Leafs forfeited their final game of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season Sunday against the Border Bruins in Grand Forks.
The decision costs the Leafs franchise the $1,500 forfeiture fee the league imposes on teams that fail to fulfil their franchise obligations.
“We’re down to 11 players after losing another player to injury in Friday’s game so we don’t have enough players to play the game,” Leaf coach Mario DiBella told The Nelson Daily Sunday.
“All of our AP’s (affiliate players) are gone with the (Kootenay Ice) major midget team playing in Vancouver and we’ve got a bunch of players that are on the verge of coming back off injury, but are not quite ready to be put in the lineup.”
DiBella, in Vancouver for a family wedding, said he was in discussion with co-Manager Sean Dooley and team president John Dooley Saturday regarding Sunday’s game and agreed with the decision to forfeit.
DiBella said his biggest concern over the past month of the season has been the over use of players time due to injuries.
Nelson had 13 skaters on the game sheet Friday during the 2-1 loss to Spokane Braves, and lost the services of defenceman Max Daerendinger.
Daerendinger will not be available for the playoffs.
The team dressed 14 skaters for Wednesday 4-0 setback to Creston, including two Major Midget players. Last Sunday against Spokane, 14 skaters made the game sheet.
“We have injuries like concussions where there is a protocol . . . a very strict protocol that has to be followed and we’re following that regardless if it’s in the first game of the playoffs or the fourth game . . . we follow that protocol.
Grand Forks is awarded the points and the game will go down as a 1-0 win for the Bruins.
DiBella is hopeful to have some of the injured players back when the team travels to Fruitvale Tuesday to begin the KIJHL Murdoch Division Semi Final series against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
Game two is Wednesday in Fruitvale before the series shifts back to the Heritage City for games three and four, Friday and Saturday, at the NDCC Arena.