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Rainy River hockey players still in limbo

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Dr. Albert Bellers’ two sons are left without a team while they await word on whether they can play at the ‘AA’ Atom level in Baudette this season.

Greg and Jeremy Beller are still practising with their Baudette team but they remain ineligible to play in the U.S. by the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association.

Ryan McInerney, their teammate and fellow Canadian, also cannot play in games. Ironically, his father, Mike, is coach of the team.

The MAHA is refusing to allow Canadians to play for teams based in Baudette if there is a minor hockey program in Rainy River.

All three already have missed their first exhibition game, and they expect to miss more until official word from MAHA District 16 director Jon Bittner has been forwarded.

Dr. Beller, who admitted his sons have been upset because they can’t play ‘AA’ hockey in Baudette, said he doesn’t expect Bittner’s decision to “take very long.”

He, and the Baudette Minor Hockey Association, also are prepared to file a formal appeal process if the decision is not in their favour.

“We’re in a situation now where MAHA is holding the cards and we will have to see what Mr. Bittner does,” said Dr. Beller, adding he would have preferred this situation to have been rectified during the summer.

“Yeah, I would like to see them on a team but I don’t expect the process to take too long,” he noted.

Dr. Beller said he’s disappointed minor hockey has taken to politics when dealing with such young players. But he was satisfied with the position RRMHA decided to adopt so his sons could pursue their hockey careers at a higher level.

But because of the timing of the MAHA decision, Dr. Beller’s two sons would not have a chance to play ‘AA’ hockey if the ruling does not go in their favour. He ruled out the idea of them playing with the PeeWee team in Emo but did not eliminate the chance of them suiting up for a ‘AA’ rep team in either Emo or Fort Frances next season.

“It all depends on what happens this year but we would be interested in playing in either Emo or Fort Frances,” he noted.

For this season, Dr. Beller said his sons would consider playing ‘A’ hockey in Rainy River if need be.

Gall said yesterday that the Beller boys would be accepted into their program with open arms. He also noted they would be granted a release for next season if they requested one.

“Of course, it wouldn’t be a problem,” he remarked. “They would just have to sign up for our program.”

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