HUNTSVILLE - The name on the web page may say Baysville Hockey League, but it could just as easily say Muskoka Hockey League.
The loop, which is entering into its third year of operation as of this past Monday night, has brought players from across Muskoka together to the confines of the Baysville Community Centre, some of them coming from Port Carling, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville for games every Monday night.
“We have a couple of Huntsville-based teams, a couple of Bracebridge-based teams and players from all over the map,” said Curt Dunlop, who has been the convener for the league during its short three-year history. “I think it’s a competitive league. A lot of the guys know each other so that makes it fun as well.”
The idea for the no-body-contact, no-slapshot league came from the closure of a very competitive league in Gravenhurst that was supplanted for one year when the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre underwent renovations more than two years ago.
That league, while based in south Muskoka, did attract players from across the region due to its high calibre of player.
Dunlop said the renovations the retirement of the Gravenhurst league’s convener, eventually forced the league to fold and created a vacuum for many die-hard hockey players.
“That was a great league, but after the convener left, things weren’t being run like they should, and with the renovations, the town wasn’t ready for us to start the season,” he said.
But the eagerness of the players to participate in a league was still there, according to Dunlop, so they found a new home at the Baysville Community Centre on Monday nights and the rest is history.
The Baysville league had eight teams in its first year of operation, but has trimmed down to six for the past two seasons with a 20-game schedule, plus playoffs. The championship has been captured by the Huntsville Hammers the previous two years.
“The quality of hockey is pretty darned good and there are enough teams that you aren’t playing the same teams over and over again. The team that won it the past two years (Hammers) played the junior C team in Huntsville in an exhibition game and won,” Dunlop said.
While the Baysville league is not the only one in Muskoka, it is probably the only one with a wide Muskoka-based player roster, with many players having suited up in the junior ranks at one time or another.
Dunlop said moving to a more central region of Muskoka attracted more players and increased the quality of play.
He said that the league has tested its mettle in all-star games against squads representing the Bala and Burk’s Falls leagues, and the Baysville reps have always come out on top.
For more on the league visit http://hockeyleaguestats.com/baysville/.