Saturday, October 25, 2014

New team joins SIJHL

The Superior International Junior Hockey League is back in full swing for the 2006/07 Junior ‘A’ season with some exciting announcements. SIJHL president and commissioner Ron Whitehead announced earlier this month that the league will consist of six teams. “We are thrilled to announce the addition of the Marathon Renegades Junior ‘A’ hockey team,” Whitehead said. This addition, coupled with the Thunder Bay Bearcats playing a full season under its new ownership, definitely will add excitement and competition to the league. Meanwhile, the new coach of the Dryden Ice Dogs said he’s ready to bring a possible SIJHL championship to that city. Randy Lulashnyk, who made the trip from Notre Dame, Sask. to take part in league meetings in Thunder Bay earlier this month, said he’s excited about the challenge of coaching in Dryden. He added he’s prepared to recruit locally and will begin speaking with potential players immediately. The 2006/07 SIJHL scheduling meeting took place July 13 in Thunder Bay, with the regular season schedule to start Sept. 23. Pre-season action will see the Thunder Bay Bearcats playing an exhibition tournament in Thunder Bay with up to eight teams from across the country. The date is still to be confirmed. The SIJHL also will hold its all-star game—featuring the three Thunder Bay teams (Fort William North Stars, Thunder Bay Bearcats, and Thunder Bay Bulldogs) versus the region teams (Dryden Ice Dogs, Marathon Renegades, and Schreiber Diesels)—in late January in Schreiber. In other news, the SIJHL has hired Karen Matson as marketing director. “I’m excited about joining the league,” she said. “Last season’s tremendous success still has me very excited and on a high. “During the week of the Dudley Hewitt [Cup], we had so many Thunder Bay and area fans in attendance, supporting the teams, cheering them on,” Matson added. “They all witnessed the fast, exciting, highly-competitive level of play of Junior ‘A’ hockey. “I want to carry that over into this season,” she stressed. “Hopefully, I can make a difference and get the fans out to the arenas.” “The tremendous success of the Fort William North Stars at the nationals last year, the addition of Marathon, the competitiveness underway already in the recruiting field, and the unbridled enthusiasm and expertise brought to the league by Karen Matson bode very well for the upcoming SIJHL season and it's on-ice product,” said Whitehead. “I think the fans are in for a real treat,” he remarked.

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