By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
For the 3rd consecutive season, it's not a Merry Christmas for the Wiarton franchise in the Greater Metro Junior Hockey League.
In 2016, the Wiarton Rock folded operations.
A year later, the new Wiarton Schooners ceased operations.
And this past weekend, the Schooners second attempt to make it to December was halted when the ownership group informed the Greater Metro Junior Hockey League they could not & would not be able to continue.
Those that mock the GMHL wasted little time in jumping on the league and making large guffaws at the Wiarton Hat Trick of folding. I think there's merit to some of the derision.
But outside of the optics on the surface, the Greater Metro Junior Hockey League believes, based on community support for the team at the gate and at the sponsorship level, Wiarton is a viable market for a team in the League.
And I agree.
Less than an hour away from Wiarton, I see the Knights of Meaford operating successfully into their 6th year.
Yes, the Knights have a had a stumble here and there, hockeywise & otherwise, but they've survived and continue to provide an outlet for hockey fans along with a community focal point.
Tell me, what's the difference between Meaford & Wiarton ?
As I can see, very little.
Good communities, decent population, hockey oriented venues, I'd assume a similar level of economic prosperity, plus....
The point is, I see no reason why a Wiarton based team can't be every bit as viable as a Meaford based team, in fact, I'd think two decent operations in those communities would be good for themselves, good for each other & good for the Greater Metro Junior League.
But based on the last 3 Novembers, it looks like I'm dreaming.
I'm Fred Wallace