Soo Thunderbirds are the only Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team still playing but there is plenty of activity with the other six teams.
The Dudley Hewitt Cup champion Thunderbirds are representing the NOJHL and a region of Ontario at the Royal Bank Cup national tournament that is being held out in Humboldt, Sask.
HERE ‘N THERE
…In North Bay, the Trappers have already held a free agent tryout camp as the organization gets a head start on the 2012-13 season. North Bay will be the site of the 2013 Dudley Hewitt Cup, Central Canada playdowns and as host entry, the Trappers have automatic entry into the tournament.
…As we first reported here, Abitibi Eskimos have shrugged off a group that was interested in buying the team and moving it from Iroquois Falls to Timmins. That was one sigh of relief from among many. Another is that veteran coach Paul Gagne will return to the Eskimos for yet-another season. Gagne is among the top Jr. A hockey coaches in all of Canada and along with team president Scott Marshall, are the respected faces of the Abitibi franchise.
…Owner Bill Scott has put the Sudbury Cubs up for sale. Sudbury was the worst draw in the NOJHL during the 2011-12 season, averaging a woeful 137 fans per game.
…Kirkland Lake Gold Miners have hired Marc Lafleur as their new head coach. Lafleur has been an assistant with the major junior Rouyn-Noranda Huskies the past two seasons.
…Blind River Beavers are looking for a new coach and general manager after being blown off by Bryan Verreault. Verreault, formerly of the Sudbury Jr. Wolves and Sudbury Cubs, had lined himself up to buy the Beavers and take over as coach and GM. First, he backed out of buying the team. Then, after saying he would still like to be the coach and GM, Verreault backed away from that as well. Hasta la vista, Bryan.
…The new Elliot Lake Bobcats are prepping for a tryout camp to be held at Countryside Arena in Sudbury May 25-27. Bobcats coach-GM Ryan Leonard has aligned himself with long-time associates Chad Vresk, Brad Boyer and Charly Murray in the hockey department as the team strives to build on the five-year success it enjoyed in the non-sanctioned Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League. To get a hold of Leonard for tryout camp or any other information linked to the Bobcats, he can be reached at 705-257-0132.