SUN Hockey Pool

NHLers won't play for Allan Cup

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

The fans would have come out in droves, but Hockey Canada has decided to exclude locked-out NHL players from the Allan Cup playoffs.

During a conference call on Monday night, Canada's governing hockey body and its provincial reps voted on a motion that said no NHLers would be allowed to play in the senior AAA tournament.

The motion passed with flying colours, which means the millionaires won't be allowed to play with the regular Joes.

"It was a good decision, just to kind of protect the status of the Allan Cup," Hockey Canada senior council chairman Lorne Wilm said yesterday from his home in Central Butte, Sask. "On the positive side, it probably would have really upped the fan support, but on the negative side, you might have done more harm in the long run."

The decision affects the two Manitoba teams that will compete in the Allan Cup playoffs -- the Grunthal Red Wings and the Ile des Chenes North Stars.

Grunthal was in favour of allowing two NHLers to play on each team, but you would be too if you had Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Trevor Kidd, a Dugald native, lined up to play net.

"I was looking forward to it, actually," Grunthal general manager Marv Kornelsen said last night. "But at least everybody's in the same boat."

Kornelsen said he has several other goaltenders at his disposal and is confident his team can get the job done without Kidd.

"I guess we gotta go a different route," he said. "It's kind of disappointing, but we'll still be fine."

The North Stars weren't too fond of the idea, and they got their wish.

Hockey Manitoba voted to exclude NHL players. Its president, Brian Sarna, said it just wouldn't be fair to the true amateurs if NHLers were allowed to suit up.

"While we honour and respect the fact that they're NHLers and they've contributed to the branches and come up through all the programs ... I guess the view where the senior council of Hockey Canada is coming from is this league is primarily amateur status," Sarna said. "And when we have our national championship somewhat slanted by who can get the best NHL player, is that fair to the spirit of the competition?

"You can make an argument it may not be. It was an interesting evening in terms of conversation."


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