Daily Archives: February 5, 2012

JUNIOR HOCKEY SURVIVAL IN NORTH BAY

Their current three-year lease with the City of North Bay and Memorial Gardens expires after the 2011-12 season and the North Bay Trappers are seeking a new long-term deal.

The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team shares the city-run Memorial Gardens with the Nipissing University Lakers, who are finishing up their own three-year lease in their third year of existence as a Ontario Universities Athletics hockey team.

Trappers president and general manager Chris Dawson told me that his team hopes to be a part of North Bay and the NOJHL and to play at Memorial Gardens “for years and years to come.”

Let’s hope so.

North Bay has a lengthy junior hockey history at both the Jr. A and Major Jr. levels.

Personally, I can remember watching the Trappers as a grade school kid as far back as 1963 when the high-scoring duo of centre Marty Reynolds and right winger Randy Prior were lighting it up for a North Bay team that was coached by a gentleman by the name of Howie Parker.

At any rate, that was then and this is now and junior teams in North Bay have survived various leagues and the politics of hockey.

Speaking of politics and hockey, it surprises me that no one within the North Bay media has ever seriously questioned a possible conflict of interest that Mayor Al McDonald now has in that he is one of the private investors who launched the hockey program at Nipissing University three years ago and continues to have it in direct competition with the NOJHL Trappers for advertising dollars and fan support at city-run Memorial Gardens.

Oh well, perhaps that is another story for another day, depending on who will be financing the hockey program at Nipissing University after this season. What I have been told by Nipissing University’s manager of integrated marketing communications Lisa Drinkwalter is that the school is committed to its hockey program for the forseeable future.

But back to the Trappers and their quest for junior hockey survival in North Bay.

I’m not from North Bay but I have family who is and we have always thought of the Gateway City as a junior hockey town. And I am quite sure that there are hundreds of folks in North Bay who feel the same way.

By the way, this isn’t about pitting the Junior Trappers against the University hockey team. Rather it’s about stating that North Bay has long been a junior hockey town and that the Trappers should be as big a part of the city as they are of the NOJHL.

No more, no less.