Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SIJHL down to five teams

No more guessing required—the SIJHL officially has shrunk by one team.
The league released its 2014-15 regular-season schedule this morning and it did not include the Wisconsin Wilderness.

The squad folded due to the team’s owners not being able to handle the operational costs of its home arena, the Spooner Ice House.
That means five teams will battle for the Bill Salonen Cup, currently held by the Fort Frances Lakers, who will open their 55-game campaign here Sept. 19 against the Thunder Bay North Stars.
The Lakers then will lock horns with the Minnesota Iron Rangers in Hoyt Lakes on Sept. 21—the first meeting between the two clubs since Fort Frances captured the thrilling seven-game SIJHL final last season.
The schedule does not show the Lakers playing any games at the Couchiching Arena after playing two there last season.
As for the annual “SIJHL Showcase, which was held in Spooner the past two years, it will take place Jan. 27-29.
But while league sources are confident the event will take place in Hoyt Lakes to maximize the number of U.S. college and junior scouts who can attend, no location officially has been announced yet.
The regular season concludes March 14.
In related news, the Lakers confirmed the trade of goalie Jordan Cartney to the Pickering Panthers of the OJHL for a player development fee.
“Jordan had asked originally to be traded closer to home,” Lakers’ general manager and head coach Wayne Strachan said about the 20-year-old Calgary native.
“When nothing evolved, we expanded the search into the OJHL. . . .”
Cartney was the Lakers’ starting goalie to begin last season before losing his job to Devin Tappenden, who joined the team at the January trade deadline.
But when Tappenden lost three-straight games in the SIJHL final to put the Lakers down 3-1 in the series, Strachan put Cartney back between the pipes.
The move paid off as Cartney won the last three games of the series to backstop the Lakers to the championship.
His departure appears to solidify the notion the starting job this season will go to Tappenden, who re-signed with the Lakers on July 28.

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