A punishment is coming to the Brooklin Merchants for showing up in Owen Sound for their final game against the NorthStars with only four runners and two goaltenders.
“There will be at least a financial fallout. I would expect they will have to cover the cost of lost revenue,” said league commissioner Sharon McKeachnie. “This is going to be a league decision. The four other teams in the league will have their input on what should occur, and I will refer to the OLA policy on default, and look for some direction from there also.”
The NorthStars stopped charging for tickets at the gate when they realized the Merchants only had six players. They offered refunds to those who had purchased tickets in advance.
As of Monday afternoon McKeachnie had comments returned from one other member team, but was still without comment from the Brooklin Merchants as to why so few players travelled to the game.
“This is uncharted territory. In the 12 years that I have been commissioner of this league I have never had anything like this happen,” she said.
The Brooklin Redmen of the Major Series Lacrosse Senior A league assumed control of the Senior B Merchants operation shortly before the start of the 2018 Ontario Senior B Lacrosse League season.
The Redmen moved the Merchants from their home of 18 years, the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin, to the Children’s Arena in Oshawa.
Brad MacArthur serves as the general manager for both the Redmen and Merchants. He is currently in Israel serving in a role with the Israeli national team at the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championship.
McKeachnie was previously aware of the Merchants problem in fielding a full team.
On Saturday night Brooklin beat the Six Nations Rivermen 13-9 despite only having 11 players at the game in Oshawa.
“If you look at their game sheets they very seldom have 15 or more players for a game,” she said.
The Merchants have a roster of 26 players according to the OSBLL website, but no player participated in all 16 games for the club this season and only 10 had played in more than 10 games.
The NorthStars beat the shorthanded Brooklin team 15-6 on Sunday afternoon. The win resulted in Owen Sound clinching third-spot in the OSBLL standings, and a first-round best-of-five series against the Six Nations Rivermen.
Game 1 of that series is scheduled for Saturday night at the Gaylord Powless Arena in Ohsweken.
The Merchants were unable to make line-changes on Sunday, and had to borrow equipment so their backup goaltender could complete a five-man starting line-up.
“That is most embarrassing to the people here in Owen Sound and the rest of our league. I give kudos to the people who showed up yesterday and played,” McKeachnie said. “It just makes a mockery of our league.”
Owen Sound is known around the OSBLL for their solid fan-base, according to commissioner McKeachnie – a city local.
Fans of the N’Stars made their feelings known to the league’s steward in no uncertain terms.
“I understand the NorthStars Facebook page is blowing up over it. I had messages on my phone about it from fans. I have emails on my computer from fans,” she said. “It’s not good for the league.”
Despite their up-and-down season and roster shortages the Merchants qualified for the postseason as the fourth-place team in the six-team league. Brooklin will challenge the league’s top finisher – the Oakville Titans – in Round 1.
Should Brooklin upset the Titans and move on the challenge for the Ontario championship they will do so under the worried and watchful eye of the commissioner.
“If they should win to go to the President’s Cup, and say that they’re going, I would be hesitant that at the last minute they would bow out. It just makes me really jittery,” McKeachnie said. “To not field a team yesterday for an important game . . . I don’t know I am a little nervous.”
N’STARS FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
July 21 OS @ SXN 7 p.m.
July 22 SXN @ OS 4 p.m.
July 27 OS @ SXN 8 p.m.
*July 28 SXN @ OS 7 p.m.
*July 31 OS @ SXN 8 p.m.
* if necessary