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UPDATED: Youth hockey team from Nain almost forfeits game due to airline mix up

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A previous version of this story stated the team had to forfeit the game. Hockey NL changed its position on the issue later in the day. Airline mix up causes grief for Nain minor hockey team

For a group of kids playing on a hockey team from Nain their first experience in a provincial hockey tournament was off to a bad start. The Torngat Mountains Midget H almost had to forfeit their first game in Bay Roberts because their hockey gear was still en route. After rescheduling the team played two games back to back.

“The kids were tired but they did their best,” she said. “They had to play 10 minutes after the game they had.”

The team flew to St. John’s, expecting all of their equipment to be there waiting for them. It wasn’t.

Lisa Ivany, president of the Torngat Mountains Minor Hockey Association, said they were asked to bring their hockey gear down to the airport in Nain three days in advance. They brought it down to the airstrip and Air Borealis was supposed to fly it out and have it waiting in St. John’s for them.

“When we left yesterday they said the bags would be out here in St. John’s when we got here,” Ivany told the Labradorian in an interview on the opening day of the tournament. “So we got here yesterday, we have no bags.”

Steven Dinn, vice-president of Air Borealis, told the Labradorian that their operations group is currently doing a full review of the situation so they can prevent this from happening again.

“We acknowledge we did not perform to our normal standards with the movement of the hockey bags for this team,” Dinn said. “It is extremely unfortunate and we deeply apologize to each of these kids, their families and the volunteers with them. We definitely let them down and know they are very disappointed.”

He said the Easter tournaments are a busy time of year with extra flights being added to accommodate teams and equipment from all over the province.

“We have been working together with hockey associations for years during this time of year to ensure everyone can get to their tournament,” he said. “Unfortunately, this year we failed this team.”

Ivany said they have peewee players in Gander as well from Labrador who had the same issue.

When the coach for Nain came through Happy Valley-Goose Bay he happened to see his son’s bag so he started asking about the other bags, Ivany said.

“They took him out back and all of our bags were there, plus the peewee player bags that were supposed to go to Gander.”

She said the bags earmarked for Gander got dropped off in Deer Lake and the airline put them in a taxi and delivered them right to the hotel to the coach but forgot the goalie gear.

“They had a game at 8 a.m. this morning and the little boy had no goalie gear,” she said. “They had to find gear for him to play. He doesn’t have it yet. They didn’t just mess up our gear, it was two teams from the Torngat area.”

The Midget team contacted Hockey NL to see if they could change the schedule but were told they had to forfeit the game because of the lack of equipment. Later that day, they changed their mind.

Ivany said the kids were disappointed and angry but after they got their equipment they put it behind them.

“They just let it go and went out and did their best,” she said. “After they got their gear they just put it behind them.”

Air Borealis was the airline who would bring the bags from Nain to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, then PAL would have taken it over. Ivany said from what they know both airlines didn’t send the cargo when it was supposed to be sent.

“We brought our bags down Thursday, Sunday they were still in Nain. Why were they still in Nain? They said to bring them down to ship them out but when we left the bags were still there. There’s blame to go around. They messed up, it’s as simple as that.”

Ivany said PAL offered them a pizza party as an apology but they declined.

“They should be giving compensation,” Ivany said. “We paid over $19,000 just for airfare, that doesn’t include what we’re paying for van rentals, hotels and food. They have to do better than a pizza party.”

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