Major winds of change

NOJHL, NOHA APPROVES ELLIOT LAKE

Elliot Lake is poised to return to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League effective the 2012-13 season. Elliot Lake, which left the NOJHL in 1999, has been home to a successful Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League franchise for the past five years. But Ryan Leonard, who owns, manages and coaches the Elliot Lake Bobcats, recently decided to depart the non-sanctioned GMJHL in the hopes of getting an NOJHL franchise. Well, NOJHL governors formally approved the awarding of an NOJHL franchise to Leonard and Elliot Lake late last week and the Northern Ontario Hockey Association has also given its go-ahead. All Elliot Lake needs now is Ontario Hockey Federation approval and the Bobcats will officially be a part of the NOJHL.

NOJHL VISITS ST. IGNACE

A Sault Ste. Marie group has made a conditional offer to purchase the Soo Eagles NOJHL franchise and move it to St. Ignace, Michigan effective the 2012-13 season. St. Ignace is a mere 49 miles from the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie. The proposed purchase and relocation of the Eagles NOJHL franchise to St. Ignace will ultimately have to go to USA Hockey for its consideration. The Michigan-based Eagles, of course, have left the NOJHL to join the North American Hockey League effective the 2012-13 campaign.

ESKIMOS TO TIMMINS?

Well-placed sources say a Timmins businessman has made a substantial offer to purchase the Iroquois Falls-based Abitibi Eskimos. Should the deal go through, the Eskimos would likely be moved from Iroquois Falls to Timmins. Whatever the case, long-time Eskimos coach-general manager Paul Gagne would remain in charge of the hockey department. As for venerable Abitibi president Scott Marshall, if he does not remain part of the potential new group, he will reportedly be asked to join the NOJHL League Office that is led by first-year commissioner Robert Mazzuca.

NEW LOOK IN BLIND RIVER

Hockey boss Jim Capy and his trusted associate Jim Yardanoff are done in Blind River after five seasons spanning two separate stints. Capy and Yardanoff combined to lead the Beavers to three winning seasons during their five years in the Milltown. While Capy and Yardanoff had some regular-season success over their five years, the Beavers were a playoff disaster under their watch. During their five years together in Blind River, Capy and Yardanoff failed to lead the Beavers to a single playoff-series triumph. In all, Capy and Yardanoff depart Blind River with a playoff win-loss record of 3-20. With Capy and Yardanoff having tendered their resignations, the Blind River franchise is reportedly in the process of being sold from a community-owned group to one headed up long-time Sudbury junior coach Bryan Verreault.

CUBS CLEAN HOUSE

While details remain sketchy, Sudbury Cubs owner Bill Scott has fired president-general manager Scott Ginson and head coach Rod MacKenzie.

65 thoughts on “Major winds of change

  1. Fanofthegame

    Good fit for Elliot Lake in terms of proximity to other teams within the league! It amy take a few years for them to truly compete…time will tell!

  2. Hawks_96

    We found a great rivalry to replace the Eagles and T-Birds. Blind River and Elliot Lake.

  3. Joanne Cassivi

    Great news for Elliot Lake hockey fans!

    Looking forward to an exciting 2012-13 season.

  4. kurlydo2000

    Yes i agree Stick the 400.00 dollards that they wont get from me will make them move to timmins HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  5. ABITIBIAN

    Only speculations for now and understand $$$ wise it has been tight but we have been averaging crowds of over 600 for the last 3-4 yrs.We have been on top of NOJHL in attendance for the last 4-5 yrs as per NOJHL stats.
    Apart from this year , the playoffs attendance has always been excellent.
    So just wondering what will be different in Timmins apart for an owner with deep pockets. The Bears didn`t survive for multiple reasons I imagine, was attendance one , I know they couldn`t strike a deal at the Mac and the Sportsplex hurt them.
    It would be a shame to lose them ,we have the best venue north of North-Bay, there is no other oval rink with the best view, the capacity is just right, NHL size rink with lots of hockey history , nobody comes close.
    Then again maybe the new owner will stay put in I-Falls….cheap ice rental just ask Scott !!!!

    Good to hear Elliot- Lk will be back in the loop, thumbs up for St-Ignace, will Verreault stay put in Blind-River or bring the team back to Chelmesford or the Valley.

    Kurly we`ll split on the gas if they move to Timmins !

    Long live the NOJHL

  6. northenlites

    Sure hope they stay put in Iroquois Falls, there are a lot of die hard fans that just thirst for Saturday nite at the Igloo. Just as you say we are on top of the league in attendance. The 2 games we had in Timmins this past year I dont think the attendance bettered our attendance at home in IF. Lets go Eskies IF wants you to stay

  7. pollux

    OK let’s do a bit of math.

    LEt’s say a $300 k budget.

    25 home games, let’s be optimistic and say 500 attendance per, at $10 ea. =
    = $125k

    SO, where does the other $175k come from? Bingo? 50/50? Game day sponsorships? Meh, let’s say that’s $50k , so still $125k to go. So from where?

    Major corporate sponsors, that’s who/what/where.
    Think you’ll find that kind of dough in IF?
    I don’t think so.

    Resolute/abitibi whatever t/f they’re called now hardly splurge a few hundred bucks anymore, to anyone. What about $1000 a year by 125 local businesses ?
    IF doesn’t have 125 businesses, and most that do exist can’t afford to, or don’t give a sh*t to donate that kind of dough. Even with say 25 hard-core supporting local businesses (and 25 is being very very generous), they can’t afford or won’t commit to $5k each, every year.

    So if not from IF, then where will the cash come from?

    Kap, Hearst, Cochrane, Matheson, …..Timmins. Put yourself in the shoes of any business from those towns – why would you invest a dime in a sports team that’s based in another town? unless a business is a major supplier to them, and even then how many major suppliers can their possibly be ? “What’s in it” for them?

    So begin to appreciate that it aint’ easy being green, and that it’s really, really tough getting the dough to run a business with that kind of budget in a small town. There are other issues I’m sure, but lets just keep it to this for now.

    And Kurly, it aint all about you. Seriously, the kind of petty games you and your buddies played didn’t help, but no, antics like yours wouldn’t mean the demise of a team. You wouldn’t pay $15 for playoff ticket….so how about $400 a ticket? ’cause if a club like the eskis or any other Jr. A club on a $300,000 budget can’t get corporate sponsorships, and you put 500~600 folks in a rink every game for 25 games, that’s how much the ticket would have to be to make up the shortfall.

    Obviously that won’t fly. If anyone has any brainwave ideas on how to make up that kind of cash, I’m sure the eskis would love to hear from you, and soon, from the sounds of things.

  8. ABITIBIAN

    Pollux-
    All this to tell us that we lost major corporate sponsors.
    We`re called Abitibi Eskimos not because of a major sponsor,Abitibi used to be very generous at a point they used to fund the arena, you can go as far as saying that they played a major role in building it. But those days are long gone.
    You`re figures are a tad exceeded but not that far off.If you look at the board sponsors they are all from the region not only I-Falls and we promote ourselves being a regional team.
    We survived 11 yrs in I-Falls , alot longer than in Timmins, so the curent board must be doing something right.
    All I`m saying is if they have a new sponsor|owner coming in, why not leave it here where it is already established. We have a proven fan base & a great venue.
    I understand the patrons are just a fracture of the budget but isn`t that what it`s all about.Take a look at Sudz.great team but no fans.

  9. Beavertown

    Welcome back Ryan Leonard…Bye Bye Jim Capy and Jim Yardnoff! It does not get better than this!

    Welcome back to the NOJHL Ryan and Todd Stencil! Luv you guys!
    Fan’s in Blind who I know are dancing in the streets – happy for Ryan and Todd.
    Lets party at the Riverside for Ryan & Todd!!

  10. eskimos

    I sure hope the eskis do not move out of town, it will be a long winter with no hockey.
    I know the money is tough to get but let not forget our great town council. the eskis has brought a lot of money to this town and gave great kids a chance to play some good hockey and an education and free room & board great coaching from paul and maybe a life lesson here and there but town council has refuse to work with them and don’t give a fiddle *&^* about the team.
    but lets plant a few thousand trees around town that will help a lot.
    there is few rotten apples in there and I for one cannot wait for the next elections to get my point accross.

  11. LeJib

    Sorry, Stevie Weeks.

    On another note, I’m inclined to empathize with all you real Eskies fans. You’ve established a good fan base, good attendance, good facility, etc, etc. “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!”
    There have been failed Jr A teams in Timmins before, and I’m just skeptical about how they would do again, after the novelty wore off.
    Once you lose your highest level sporting franchise, it’s somewhere between difficult and impossible to get it established again. Just ask us in the Bay – “been there, done that”!

  12. Randy Russon Post author

    FYI:

    Seen at the Trappers game in North Bay last night: Representatives from Outlaw League teams, Sturgeon Falls and Temiscaming, huddled with NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca. First Elliot Lake, and now…?

  13. Sec2RowP

    SF would be a great potential addition to the NOJHL. They not only had a championship season this year but it’s a decent-sized market that would not add much to the travel budgets.

  14. Blue Liner

    This might not be the time for the Eskimos to leave. There may be possibilities here where this league seems to be looking good right about now….anyway.

  15. North Bay Hockey

    Well the trappers killed themselves with penalties, but the game itself was very chipy, I know I’m pro North Bay but “bubbles” the ref made the worst call I’ve ever seen on Brad Ghel, 5 min for charging on a clean hit, Ghel and the crowd did not even know he got the call. Trappers need to steal one in the Soo to at least give us fans 1 more home game.

  16. upfront

    Well done boy’s you handed it to them again

    LeJib
    Good thing there well rested whats the excuse this week ????
    Get the golf clubs out it’s all over on Tuesday

    Go Birds Go

  17. Dcky33

    Well, I’m usually not one to bang on the refs but the 4 zebras that did the last 2 games in North Bay were unbelievable. If these are the best officials available at this level, then well this league is in trouble. Both teams have had the glamor of a championship series taken away from them by the inability of these men to stay the he’ll out of the spotlight and let these teams play. My goodness even the linemen skate around out there like they are the chosen ones, please let these teams justly hockey and if you find a bottle of consistency in the change room, take a big drink and share it with your colleagues. The Thunderbirds were clicking on all cylinders tonight on the powerplay and well Trapper fans, 8 shots after 2 periods won’t even win you a turkey during the intermission.

  18. LeJib

    Didn’t notice anyone here making any ‘excuses’. A few real hockey fans from several teams made some very pertinent observations by citing some facts. As it should be.

    Stevie Weeks – That looks more realistic now. As I noted before playoffs commenced, the Traps possible success is very dependent on keeping out of the box. Granted, the officials did them no favours tonight, but their complete lack of discipline killed any chances they had of success. You can’t give a good club like the Soo 7 extra powerplays (including 2 majors) and hope to come out on top.

    I sincerely hope there’s some truth to the suggestions that other area teams could be considering joining the NOJHL. ‘The more, the merrier.’ As usual, we’ll rely on RR to keep us posted on any developments in this direction.

    ‘Happy Easter’.

  19. northenlites

    Hey upfront its ok to say yaaaa for my team but no need for the rest of the antics, Trapper fans know they lost, salt in the wounds only opens the sores. May the best team win and represent our league in the Dudley with grit and determination.

  20. hockey Dad

    LeJib – I couldn’t have said it any better. The Trappers played well but you can’t give the Tbirds that many chances on thr PP. Gehl may not have deserved the 5min and a game but he and the whole team played undisaplined all game!

    The TBirds have a very good team and should win it at home Tuesday and will represent the NOJHL in the DHC well.

    It will be interesting to see how our league does against the other 2 leagues?

  21. TBirdsOnTop

    TBirds going to win it at home for all the vets on tuesday! They have a team full of 20 year olds ready to go out on top. As for the zebra problems, these refs have been questionable throughout the playoffs, we should be used to them now. Hopefully NB comes out hard and hasnt given up so that the fans in the Essar get to watch a good, competitive game. #TBOT

  22. Sudbury boy

    Looked at the score then read the comments didn’t have to check to see who was reffing new it could only be graton to screw up another game like
    Game 7 in Sudbury

  23. Hawks_96

    Good luck to the Nickel Capital Wolves who move on to the Telus Cup after beating the London Jr. Knights 4-3 this afternoon.

  24. BirdsFan1

    I would like to see a big crowd out at the Essar tomorrow to show appreciation to Albert and all the Soo Thundebirds Players.
    GO BIRDS GO!

  25. Cassio

    Who will coach the Sudbury Cubs next season? I would like to see some of the old Northern Junior Wolves get involved i.e. Paul Pidutte, Brian McGarry learning to coach under the old master Dave Clancy.

  26. eaglefan

    Don’t mind upfront. He is like a little kid with a new toy. He doesn’t know how to win with class, as he hasn’t had much experience in that area.

  27. upfront

    Well good luck tomorrow Boys finish the job .

    Go Birds Go !!!

    Good Luck to Sudbury in the Telus Cup win another one

  28. Old T-Bird

    If the Thunderbirds do need to make a coaching change they could ask Carlo Dicandia or Tootsie Kovacs. Lets win the Championship first!

  29. Bartolucci

    Trappers 5 TBirds 3 tonight.

    Bubbles sure had a happy whistle on Saturday.

    I thought we would have to call in a priest to administer the last rights to the Soo players. They played up the little bumps ther received pretty good. Looked like we may have to call in a doctor to remove bullets, cause they looked like they’d been shot when they
    were hit.

    The Trapper goalie gets taken out, and the only penalty goes to the Trappers for holding.

    I guess the Soo coach got nervous about his starter getting hurt, he pulled him at the stoppage for the North Bay goalies injury.

    Not much confidence in his team to protect him I guess.

    From the capital of Northern Ontario, I bid you all a nice day.

    North Bay the Gateway to Sudbury.

  30. Bosco

    Looked like to me that the Trapper player drove the Soo player into the tender, thus why the Trapper got a penalty. I agreed with that call. Some of the others on the other hand…hmmm…kinda sketchy

  31. Hawks_96

    Also I would like to congratulate Jake Patterson on being named the #3 on the Central Scouting Bureau’s Final Rankings for North American Goaltenders.
    Its nice to see a former NOJHL goalie make the list. Also sympathies to the Kirkwood family.

  32. 63 T-Bird

    T-Birds – The NOJHL 2011-2012 Regular Season and League Champions. Way to go boys!!!! Good luck in Thunder Bay!!

  33. TBirdsOnTop

    Unreal game tonight boys. NOJHL CHAMPS!! Off to the Dudley ya go. A great battle put up by both teams. It was an honor to watch you boys play this season

  34. Eskisfan

    Paterson is having very good playoff in Saginaw. Knocked off a talent laden Sarnia Sting and are now 2 games to 1 on the London Knights, Paterson earning a star in both wins.

    Abitibi Eskimos and the community in general are sitting on pins and needles as we tread into the 11th hour. Although most people knew the dollars were tight, I think few realized or understood grave the situation was until word got out that it was close to sold. There is a rustle in the community now and lots compassions so you never know. Judging by the mood in the community now, it’s going to be a very sad day for Iroquois Falls if nothing can be done to save the Eskimos.

    Congrats to the Copeland Cup Champion Soo TBirds. Best team in the NOJHL all year long! Best of Luck in the Dudley.

  35. northenlites

    Congrats T Birds, do your best at the Dudley, play with grit and determination, show the hockey lords that the NOJHL is a league to reckon with, Good luck boys

  36. eaglenews

    kudos to a great organization! Michelcavage, and your Canadian friends kick sum Big Thunder Butt… and skate at the RBC while the Sudbury Midgets bring home the Telus. Northern Ontario… and hockey, it’s what we grow up with…

  37. LeJib

    Well done T-Birds! There’s something fitting when the overall league champs then go on to be playoff champs as well. Just seems right somehow. Best of luck at the DHC. You’ll be in tough against some of the best. As northernlites says – ‘grit and determination’. Go for it!

    Must send congrats to our Trappers. They sure advanced farther than anyone expected of them early in the year.
    Some good acquisitions, plus a lot of heart and team spirit, carried them a long way. We look forward to next season.

    Now just to hope that our local Nugget sees fit to carry full game-by-game coverage of the DHC. Not something we can take for granted.

  38. Trapperfan

    Congrats to the Thunderbirds on a well desreved win. Go represent the NOJHL proudly at the Dudley.

    Thank you North Bay Trappers for a great hockey season sure was nice to see us advance this far. The stars are the players for all buying in to coach McCarthy’s system not only on the ice but off the ice as well.Each and every player wanted to be here and wanted to play for the fans in North Bay. Hats off to Chris Dawson and all the other people who made this a great year to be at the rink. It just keeps getting better!

  39. barclay donaldson

    ..couple of years ago the rep from NOJHL did not score a goal…hope the results are better this time…

  40. bayinfo

    Congrats to The Birds on a well played series. Represent with pride!

    Congrats to the Trappers! Hold your heads high boys! No one expected you to get out of the first round.

    You are an exceptional group of young men, the tightest knit , well behaved gentlemen I’ve seen in the Bay yet.

    All the best to everyone’s future where ever it may take them.

    North Bay has only 4 players inelligible to return next year., now that wont be the case ( Desrochers to the Wolves, and what ever else what may happen) but that gives one heck of an amount of potential to start assembling the Dudley host Team.

  41. Cubs Fan

    Congrats to the T-Birds on a great season wow nice championship run fellas all the best in T- Bay see ya there at the DHC ! do the league proud. as for the Trappers you guy’s were a hard working fun exciting team to watch, I had the privileged of watching this team 4 times in the post season and you guys never quit working wow or gave up on yourself your fans brought so much excitement to the games especially that gm # 7 win. I was nervous that night things were so intense it was crazy from the players to fans ! O well have great summer boy’s all the best to the graduating players on the trappers ! it was fun fellas thanks for the memories all the best in your future endeavors !

  42. Bartolucci

    I would like to congratulate the TBirds on their win.

    Hats off to the Trappers for bringing excitment to the old Mausoleum Gardens.

    My Cubs will be back next year, stronger faster and meaner than ever. I promise……

  43. Sec2RowP

    Well, #1 should beat #5 and they did and maybe the Traps had a tougher playoff schedule but aside from that, I do wish the Birds well at the DHC. I’m sure we all don’t want the NOJHL to appear as the weak sister.

  44. sigs_2012

    Congrats to the T-Birds and best of luck at the DHC. Objective is obviously to get to the RBC. I’d be pleased with getting to the finals; anything else is gravy. Tip to the team: the partying ends TONIGHT. You do NOT want to get to the DHC in detox mode!

    Congrats and kudos too to the Trappers, the cinderellas of this season, for doing as well as they did, at the right time. Let’s hope that NB’s success this season will translate into a bit more fan interest in the Bay.

  45. Beavertown

    Is it true that during the last game in North Bay that the Soo coach made a snide remark to the Trappers coach about his past? I have heard that from at least a half dozen people now. If it’s true it shows the Soo coach has NO CLASS. Btw, I am from Blind River so I am not a fan of either team. I might add that North Bay is a class organization from the top down and the Thunderbirds well…

  46. offtherecord

    What’s with all the tbird/coach trash talk a week before the Dudley?? No true fan of the NOJHL would try to stir up a hornets nest this close to the DHC. Give the team, especially the boys, their week and stop your whining and gossip until its all over.

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