Let me share an anecdote. In freshman year of college, my roommate and I went to the casino at 11 P.M. on a Sunday night. It was our first time at the casino together, and I was excited to spend a little money, maybe make some back, and have some fun.
He played the blackjack table, and I headed for the slots. I had a lucky hit machine, so I went back to it. Popped in a $20, played a few spins, ended up winning $100. I spun one more time, and cashed out.
My roommate, however, lost over $300, withdrew $300 from his bank, played until 6 A.M., and we finally left with him breaking even…plus $1.
This anecdote is exactly how I feel in regards to the news that I learned last night. The Berlin Blackjacks- who should’ve been the final nail in the coffin for hopeful but hapless Berlin’s pro hockey dreams – will rise from the grave this holiday season.
Per a press release this weekend from LNAH Vice President of Communications Denis Boisvert, translated for your English convenience:
“The North American Hockey League announces that the late Blackjacks of Berlin will play their next game on December 1 at 7:30 P.M. at the Palas des Sports in Jonquière.
It is under the name Oil and Propane Bélanger of the LNAH that they will face the Marquis.
LNAH Commissioner Jean-François Laplante, who has been piloting this file for a few weeks, hopes to be able to announce news to the entire LNAH community very soon.”
Speculation, and being around this kind of return-rodeo before, the expectation is that Bèlanger Oil and Propane will work as a Cornwall Nationals-turned-Northern Federals situation from the “vastly-inferior” Federal Hockey League.
Per a source for Bus League Hockey close to the league, this is the exact intention, with the transition plan to be to return to a former-LNAH city back in Quebec.
The source also told BLH that the reason Berlin initially came to be, was that the original choice to return to the league had a major ice plant issue.
Granby is one that immediately came to mind, for our team.
The whole situation has been an embarrassing one for dedicated and loyal hockey fans in Berlin, New Hampshire. However, as we’ve discussed before, the loyal hundreds just aren’t enough to build a sustainable pro team.
Will Notre Dame Arena be used again for pro hockey this season? Never say never. We’ll know more in the coming days and weeks, but if it does this season, it’ll ultimately be the farewell game for pro hockey in the city.
The Blackjacks in Berlin were a bust, and it’s time to walk away from the table.
2 thoughts on “Bust Card – Berlin Blackjacks ‘Return’”
Well that explains that. That whole thing seems a bit shady by the league, but at least the players will get paychecks for the rest of the season.
Rumors last week were that the league was close to securing a deal to play in St. Jerome, Quebec, about an hour north of Montreal, for the remainder of the season. The issue was how the LNAH would share the arena with the junior A team already playing there. Since Bélanger Oil and Propane is a business based in St. Jerome, my guess is they are one step closer to making it work.
As you mentioned, the reason the LNAH accepted the Berlin proposal is because their original plan failed and the league desperately wanted a sixth team. Since they already have a head coach and a roster, they will do everything to find an arena.
St. Jerome should work for them, they have a modern building and a good fan base, provided they make it through the first season with little or no marketing. Granby would also be a good market on paper but both the city and the junior A team have shown no interest in the past in allowing a senior pro team play in the arena.