September 23, 2004
OSHL: Confused, yet?Players sure are after games postponed
By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun
Wade Belak was driving through the heart of the city yesterday when a report concerning the apparent demise of the Original Stars Hockey League came across the radio. "What the heck is going on?" Belak asked minutes later after being contacted by a reporter. "I heard it has been suspended."
Such was the confusion yesterday concerning the fate of the barnstorming four-on-four league, the brainchild of Streetsville Derbys president Randy Gumbley.
The source of the chaos was a news release from the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, which featured an OSHL letterhead and a headline: "OSHL suspends pre-season play."
Given the fact only three games had been played, it appeared the league had died before it really started.
Not so fast, however. Gumbley insisted his league had nothing to do with the report.
"We didn't put that out," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's full speed ahead.
"All we've done is reschedule some exhibition games for a later date in order to get some time to promote in those markets."
Gumbley said the OSHL was attempting to reschedule tomorrow's game in Guelph and has postponed games scheduled for Saturday at the Ricoh Coliseum, Sunday in Sarnia and Monday in Quebec City. A Monday game in Ottawa has been shifted to Oct. 31.
"Whatever the case, we still plan on opening the regular season (Oct. 7)," Gumbley said.
Belak, who played in the opener last Friday in Barrie, feels it will take time before disgruntled fans will warm up to NHL players, no matter what the endeavour.
"Maybe this thing started too soon after the announcement of the lockout," he said.
"The fans are upset with us, obviously. The proceeds from these games go to good charitable causes, but I can see how it will take some time before (fans) start coming out.
"A lot of players just found out the schedule a day after the lockout was announced. Originally there were 115 guys signed but only 45 showed up. That's not even enough to ice six teams."