Junior hockey is set to return to the Langton Arena.
Members of the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League are negotiating with Norfolk’s community services department for ice time in Langton.
The Do Paco family of Mississauga owns the Langton Royals and is recruiting players from Canada, the United States, Europe and Russia.
“We want to be competitive in our first year,” said coach and general manager Jason Do Paco.
“We’re not going to ice a team just to lose. We want to be competitive for the league championship by Year 3.”
The CPJHL is a junior development league for players 16 to 20 years of age that also makes room for elite 15-year-olds.
The CPJHL offers a second chance to players who were passed over in the major Jr. A draft and who have dreams of playing professional one day.
The CPJHL also develops the skills of players who are angling for post-secondary scholarships at American and Canadian universities and colleges.
Bill Cridland, Norfolk’s general manager of community services, says county staff is discussing ice-time commitments in Langton with the Royals.
“We’ve made it very clear that our historic hockey teams and figure skaters have priority and that they will have to work around that,” Cridland told Norfolk council this week.
“Right now they’re just asking a lot of questions.”
Cridland said Norfolk County learned a lesson in 2016 when a team from a similar league – the Norfolk Vikings – folded in Simcoe with unpaid ice time on the books. Cridland said that “left a bit of a scar” and that staff will be careful this time to ensure the county isn’t left holding the bag in Langton.
Cridland said the Royals would like to a make dressing-room modifications and have their distinctive logo painted at centre ice. Cridland said the club’s demands haven’t been excessive and that staff is hearing them out.
“So far, the owners seem to be above board,” Cridland said.
According to the CPJHL website, other teams preparing for the 2019-2020 season include the Maniwaki Mustangs, the Muskoka Anglers, the Scarborough-Wexford Raiders, the Seaforth Generals, the Shawville Express and the Smith Falls Settlers.
When the season begins this fall, the Royals intend to ice a 25-man roster that includes three goalies. Do Paco said five Russians, two Americans, and a player from Germany have signed on to play.
Do Paco said some billets have been secured in the Langton area but that the club will need more.
The owner of the team is Jason’s father Joe Do Paco. Club treasurer is his mother Almiranda.
Jason Do Paco, 34, says he played junior hockey in Streetsville, Oakville and Milton. He added that he also skated with the Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey League and the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League.
“On the ice, we hope to bring Langton a hard-working, competitive and entertaining hockey team,” Do Paco says on the CPJHL website. “We want to give our fans something worth coming out to and supporting.
“Hard work and dedication lead to success and our players won’t fall short on either. We will push to be the best team we can be and are hopeful to start our first year out strong.
“As for our Langton minor hockey fans, they can look forward to some exciting new professional training coming to their barn. As coach, myself — along with the Royals players — are working closely with Langton minor hockey to provide a free on-ice skill development program.
“This is the Royals’ way of giving back to minor hockey.”
The Royals will be host to a free ball hockey tournament in Langton June 15. This will be an opportunity for the players and their managers to introduce themselves to the community.