A group intending to secure a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League franchise for Kirkland Lake has run into an unexpected obstacle from the town’s AAA midget team.
The executive of the Kirkland Lake Legion 87s of the Great North Midget Hockey League has done an about face regarding its support for the Kirkland Lake Jr. Hockey Club Committee, which has already received conditional approval from the NOJHL to purchase the Manitoulin Islanders and move the team to Kirkland Lake.
The KL Legion executive released a statement recently saying that it feared the arrival of an NOJHL team to town would “sound the death knell” of the midget program.
That stand is in sharp contrast to a letter that the KL Legion executive sent to Bob Kasner of the KL Jr. Hockey Club Committee that was dated March 28, 2011.
The letter from KL Legion president Brian Kenny to Kasner reads as follows:
“Dear Bob, Thank you very much for meeting with the 87s executive on February 15, 2011. The Legion 87s AAA Midget Hockey Club has all intentions of operating in the Great North Midget Hockey League for the 2011-12 season. We wish you luck in your bid for a Junior Hockey Club and will work with you in the event you are successful.”
To me, the letter from Kenny to Kasner is self explanatory. Let’s just hope the Northern Ontario Hockey Association — which is the governing body for both the NOJHL and the GNMHL — agrees and permits the transfer of the Manitoulin franchise to Kirkland Lake.
The NOJHL has made it clear that it unanimously supports the transfer of the troubled Manitoulin franchise to Kirkland Lake, a vibrant, growing community of close to 10,000 residents.
The KL Legion executive offered written support to the KL Jr. Hockey Club Committee as it sought to secure an NOJHL franchise for the town.
Whether the KL Legion executive has now withdrawn that support should be a moot point.
The NOJHL wants Kirkland Lake.
I have been told that hockey fans in Kirkland Lake want a Jr. team.
Let’s hope the NOHA makes the right call and supports the NOJHL and the Kirkland Lake Jr. Hockey Club Committee.
The KL Legion executive can’t have it both ways — it can’t be allowed to get away with speaking out of both sides of its mouth.