The Western Junior C Hockey League is gearing up for a new season while the Goderich Sailors await word from the Ontario Hockey Association on its request for a one-year leave of absence.
The League has already drafted a revised schedule of 105 games to reflect the Sailors' absence and posted it in a link on its website.
With the regular season set to start on three fronts on Friday, September 13th Sailors' President and General Manager Kevin Meriam looks forward to what he hopes will be the team's return to the ice a year from now.
Meriam says one issue that troubled the Sailors was a lack of operating funds.
He tells Bayshore Broadcasting Sports most Western C clubs operate on a budget of $100,000 a year -- the Sailors' budget last season was around $60,000.
He says corporate support was never a problem for the Goderich team with around 24 sweater sponsors and several major sponsors including Capital Power, Edward Fuels and McDonalds.
Meriam says the perfect solution would be if several local individuals came forward with capital funding to run the team as happened in Walkerton.
He believes such a set-up would encourage players to come to Goderich if they knew they were getting help from the club with equipment and education expenses.
Meriam says a worst-case scenario would see the Sailors' franchise fold if no-one steps up before next April.
If that happens Meriam predicts it would be very difficult to bring junior hockey back to Goderich.
A re-launch bid would involve approval from the Western Junior C League, the OHA and a vote by a number of teams held by the Ontario Hockey Federation.