Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

COLUMN: Loss of the Lacombe Generals is a punch to the gut

Generals exit could spell doom for AAA senior hockey in Canada

So the Lacombe Generals exited Allan Cup Hockey West and honestly, I’m pretty bummed.

The Army was coming off their fourth Allan Cup — a victory they secured in dramatic fashion on home ice against the Innisfail Eagles, their chief rival.

The 2019 Allan Cup Tournament was huge boon the community, bringing in hockey fans from across the country to take in not only the highest level of senior hockey — but also the community of Lacombe which embraced the Generals as their own.

Each and every Generals game at the tournament was packed to the brim, which makes their current fait an even tougher pill to swallow.

Make no mistake, AAA senior hockey in Canada the way it is currently operated is unsustainable and it is unfair to expect team owners and management to carry on with expensive and confusing operations that are often undermined by the governing bodies they are beholden to.

That doesn’t make this news any easier for fans whatsoever, especially in Lacombe where Generals supporters were given the gift of sharing in on a dynasty team that was carried over a legacy originally established in Bentley.

The loss of Gens, truthfully, could also spell the end of AAA senior hockey in Alberta despite what a recent tweet by the Innisfail Eagles said saying they intend to continue to compete for the Allan Cup.

A team can tweet whatever they wish, but a league comprised of just Innisfail and Stoney Plain — both hilariously named the Eagles — is doomed to falter.

It was a fun league as early as last year, when Fort Saskatchewan, Lacombe, Innisfail, Rosetown and Stoney Plain channelled their inner CFL and relied on several heated rivalries in a small league to drive a solid on-ice product, but it would be a stretch to say that players, fans or anyone else is interested in watching 2-3 teams play glorified exhibition showdowns week after week until one or two of them ultimately advance to an Allan Cup final.

Quite frankly, a viable AAA league requires a minimum of six and preferably 10 teams to drive both the on and off-ice products.

Locally, this, quite frankly, sucks.

The Generals have been the premier senior hockey team in Canada for years and the core group of players the last few seasons have been special.

As a reporter, covering a team that could go down 2-0 and you just knew they were going to come back and win 5-2 never got old; covering a team that continually knew how to prepare to compete and win Allan Cups was special; and covering a team genuinely cared about growing their brand of hockey in the community was heartwarming.

I will miss the Lacombe Generals and so will what is left of Canadian AAA senior hockey.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacombe IODE chapter supports Alberta Council of Womens Shelters

Lord Lascelles Chapter looking to raise $100,000 for children exposed to domestic violence

New municipal assessor appointed for the City of Lacombe

Council awarded the assessment services contract to and appointed Wild Rose Assessment Services Inc

New bylaw hours changes service delivery in Lacombe

Council approved changes to the Enforcement Services schedule

Lacombe Councillor’s infill levy motion unanimously voted on by council

Admin already working on plan for infill developers to share in needed infrastructure upgrade costs

Potential Bike Skills Park presented to Lacombe Council

Park would be located behind current location of the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce

WATCH: Night Among the Stars Celebrity Dance-off supports Lacombe BBBS

Over $12,000 raised for Dancer’s Edge Parents Association and Lacombe BBBS

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

ReProm: Second shot for LGBTQ Calgarians to enjoy milestone as themselves

Centre for Sexuality, a sexual health not-for-profit in Calgary, is holding its first ReProm fundraising gala

Calgary woman charged in aggravated assault of 11-month-old daughter

The girl was brought to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary with a broken arm

Little-used part of Constitution led to different carbon tax rulings: experts

On Monday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled 4-1 that the carbon tax is unconstitutional

Alberta legislature resumes: Focus on jobs and bill to punish protesters

Kenney’s United Conservative government was elected last spring on a mandate to create jobs

Most Read