The 2017 Herder Memorial Trophy was the senior championship for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The tournament champion earned the province's bid for the 2018 Atlantic Region Allan Cup Qualifier. The previous year's Herder winner is traditionally the only team registered at the Senior AAA level (Allan Cup eligible) for each season. The Harbour Grace Cee Bee Stars would later announce they are declining to participate in the Allan Cup qualifying.
Controversial Ending to SeriesEdit
Game 5 saw the deciding goal scored in a controversial manner as a Harbour Grace player was attempting to centre the puck from the area to the goalie's left behind the goal line and as it was being centred the goalie shifted to hold the post and his skate blade hit the post and raised the net just enough for the puck to get under the side of the net and into the net. The referee was on the opposite side (to the goalie's right) of the ice and was moving in along the boards from the face-off circle towards the goal line and did not see the puck go under the net. The Clarenville Caribous GM, Ivan Hapgood told the St. John's Telegram (the link also includes video of the goal in question) that he had filed a protest over the goal (and game) but was 99.999% positive nothing would be done.
Hockey NL Response to ProtestEdit
Hockey NL President, Jack Lee, says it’s unfortunate that, what was a great Herder Memorial Championship Series, has ended with controversy. “We work real hard to ensure we have quality officiating for this level of hockey and we assign our top officials to games of this magnitude, however, they have to make judgments in real-time based on what they see” said Lee. Hockey NL, not unlike both provincial senior leagues and most all amateur hockey in the country, has no video review technology or goal judges to assist on disputed goals. Don Kelly, Referee in Chief for Hockey NL said the game officials in this situation followed appropriate procedures and were in proper positions for this particular decision. We certainly understand the disappointment and frustration that the Caribous organization and fans must be feeling regarding the fourth goal scored by the Cee Bees in game five, after video taken illustrates the goaltender accidentally displaced the net off its mooring, thus allowing the puck to enter the net illegally. We wish that we never had this type of dispute, especially at a pivotal time in the series, however, these decisions rests with the game officials. The Clarenville Caribous have made a protest regarding the error, but protests of games may be made only in regard to interpretation of the rules of competition, and not in regard to the judgement of a referee or other official, therefore, Hockey NL cannot rule on the protest or overturn the game official’s decision. The Herder Memorial Championship is the highest level of hockey in the province and we will continue to work with our leagues and officials to ensure we build on all aspects of the game from officials to the playing area/rules to provide the best opportunity for fair competition."
The series was a best three of five format. Games one and two were played at the Danny Cleary Community Centre, home of the 2016-17 AESHL Season playoff champion, Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars and the remaining games were played at the Eastlink Events Centre, the home rink of the 2016-17 CWSHL Season playoff champion, Clarenville Caribous. The series took place over the weekends of March 25-26 and March 31-April 2.
- Game 1: Clarenville Caribous defeated Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars 4-2
- Game 2: Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars defeated Clarenville Caribous 2-1
- Game 3: Clarenville Caribous defeated Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars 4-1
- Game 4: Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars defeated Clarenville Caribous 1-0 (2ot)
- Game 5: Harbour Grace CeeBee Stars defeated Clarenville Caribous 4-3