By JAMES COOK email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Cohos junior hockey team appears dead in the water for next season.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen next year,” said team owner Scott Gardiner, a part-time Traverse City resident who also lives in Brighton and is commissioner of the league.
Gardiner said his work downstate won’t allow him to stay in Traverse City enough to run the franchise, although he is still trying to find someone else who would be willing to take on that responsibility.
“It’s not too late,” Gardiner said. “I was talking to (Centre ICE director) Terry (Marchand about) if someone else would step up and run the franchise. But, in the meantime, if I can’t be there full-time, I can’t get a team going.”
The Cohos were set to join the Midwest Junior Hockey League last year, but getting a late start put the franchise behind in assembling players and Gardiner decided to shelve the squad for a year.
“I really want a team in Traverse City,” Gardiner said. “I’d love one in Alpena. We have one coming in Marquette, which is good, so we’ll have Marquette and the Soo. If we can get one in Traverse City and Alpena, I think it’d be great.”
Eight teams are on board for next season. The league had nine in its inaugural 2012-13 season, but two have gone dark (Rhinelander and Michigan).
“I’d be happy with eight next season and possibly 10 the next,” Gardiner said.
Gardiner is part owner of the Hartland Hounds, who won the league title with a 47-0-1 record.
“It went well,” Gardiner said. “We went to the national tournament, lost in the semifinals to the eventual winner, the Idaho Steelheads. They were a very, very good team. We moved probably five or six on to college and another two or three to a higher Junior level. We return about 10.”
Several MWJHL teams have already started signing players to tenders for the 2013-14 season, including Hartland.