The old Memorial Arena (now the '52 Canadians Arena) was packed to the rafters on that fateful April Fool's Day night back in 1989 as 3,000 screaming fans cheered wildly and proudly as the Muskie boys' hockey team captured the OFSAA gold medal—their second in three years and first on home ice.
The atmosphere was just as electric in 2006—the last time Fort Frances hosted the all-Ontarios—although the result wasn't as pleasing to local fans as the Muskies were ousted in the quarter-finals with a 4-0 loss to the Grand River Renegades (Kitchener).
Well, district residents have a chance to experience “black-and-gold fever” first-hand once again as the all-Ontarios return here next week, with the Muskies ranked #1 heading into the 16-team, three-day tournament that runs Tuesday to Thursday and looking to defend the OFSAA title they captured last year in Ottawa as the fifth seed going in.
Fresh off the squad winning its 10th-straight NorWOSSA crown last Tuesday night in Kenora with a sweep of the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints in the best-of-three final, the OFSAA buzz definitely is building. Some homes and businesses here already are sporting Muskie decorations in support of the OFSAA planning committee's “Paint the Town Black & Gold” contest—and no doubt many more will follow suit prior to tomorrow's entry deadline.
As well, it was great to see the signs heralding the Muskies' previous OFSAA titles—located at both the east and west entrances to town—got a makeover this past week to reflect Fort High's 2016 provincial crown just in time for this year's all-Ontarios.
Kudos to the organizing committee, and all the other volunteers, who have worked so hard to put together this year's OFSAA tournament. Obviously, it takes a lot of people stepping to the plate to pull off an event of this magnitude.
Welcome, as well, to all the teams coming here to compete at OFSAA. Hopefully your visit is an enjoyable one both on and off the ice.
You'll just have to pardon us as we yell “Go Muskies” for both our boys' team and the girls' squad attending their OFSAA championship next week in Stratford.
With so many of our high school teams and athletes—from hockey, soccer, and curling to volleyball, basketball, badminton, skiing, cross-country, and track-and-field—routinely vying for provincial glory, Muskie pride runs deep here!