The last formality before Fort Frances regained an SIJHL team for the upcoming season went without a hitch Saturday when recognition of the new franchise was passed at the league’s annual general meeting, president/commissioner Ron Whitehead said.
“There was no road bumps or anything, everything went smoothly. Fort Frances is definitely in the league,” Whitehead said.
While a few questions remain, such as the name of the new team, these details already are decided and will be revealed at a press conference here this coming Saturday afternoon by new owner Carolyn Kellaway of Thunder Bay.
“The team name, the team coaches, and the ownership group, et cetera, will all be announced then,” Whitehead said.
Kellaway was present at Saturday’s meeting but is refraining from comment until this coming Saturday.
In an interview late last week, Kellaway professed a love of the local community and spoke highly of Fort Frances’ support of hockey in the past.
She added that having a successful Junior ‘A’ team would require “a lot of help from the community,” and embarked on the first steps to staffing the team, to fill positions for a P.A. announcer, goal judges, and the like.
As for the league, Whitehead said they couldn’t be happier Fort Frances is returning to the SIJHL.
“Everybody welcomed them with open arms. There was no controversy,” he noted.
“We’re extremely happy . . . we’re happy to see them back.”
Fort Frances hasn’t had an SIJHL team since the Couchiching-owned Borderland Thunder folded after the 2003/04 season in hopes of eventually joining the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.