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Fort Frances passed over for 2021 Dudley-Hewitt Cup

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The Fort Frances Lakers franchise has learned the Dudley-Hewitt Cup won’t remain in Fort Frances next year.

Under the direction of Hockey Canada, the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship was cancelled due to the Coronavirus COVID 19 Pandemic. The Fort Frances Lakers were scheduled to host the event.

The 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship Committee, a passionate and committed legion of volunteers, had been working toward staging another stellar Dudley-Hewitt Cup as all the logistical plans were well in place.

After grappling with disappointment of the cancellation, the Fort Frances Lakers Organization focused on the positive and the possibility of showcasing the 2021 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, on the assumption that moving forward, hockey would resume a new ‘normal’. However, The Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Organization was quick to learn that they would not be awarded the 2021 Cup. Instead, it would continue as planned to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The reason given, was that The Portage Terriers, who were set to host the 2020 Centennial Cup, had their event cancelled due to the Coronavirus COVID 19 Pandemic as well. Instead of accepting the 2021 Centennial Cup in lieu, The Portage Terriers decided to pass. Subsequently, the Canadian Junior Hockey League decided to action the Portage Terriers’ decision as a precedent, and denied the Lakers franchise the 2021 Dudley-Hewitt Cup. The Lakers actioned an appeal process but to no avail.

This would have been the third time the Dudley-Hewitt Cup has come to our community, which brings a significant economic boom to the town. In 2002 the Couchiching First Nation Borderland Thunder hosted the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship in Fort Frances, and in 2015 the Fort Frances Lakers staged a stellar Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship and lost in the final game by 1 goal to the Soo Thunderbirds.

The Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Organization and the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship Committee are grateful to all the fans who ‘stepped up to the plate’ to buy tickets and passes. Of course, there were many sponsors who showed support for the 2020 Dudley- Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship.

“A big shout out is extended to all fans and sponsors. Events like the Dudley-Hewitt Cup are fueled by the citizens and businesses of a community who collectively engage in sponsoring these kinds of events. Fort Frances and its neighbouring communities have always demonstrated GREAT support for significant events,” said Larry Patrick, Dudley-Hewitt co-chair.

Fans looking for a refund on tickets/passes may contact John Kotnik at 807-276-4207. Sponsors will be contacted by members of the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship Sponsorship Committee to determine what each sponsor wants done with any sponsorship monies donated to the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship. Sponsors will have three options:

1. sponsorship monies may be used to help defray expenses incurred during the planning/organizing of the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship

2. sponsorship monies may be directed to the Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Organization to help with regular seasonal operating costs

3. refund

Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Organization Board President, Milt Strachan, and the entire Lakers Board, acknowledge and appreciate all the support directed towards the 2020 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship. As well, the Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Organization is extending an invitation for your continued support of the Fort Frances Lakers moving forward.

When hockey resumes to a new ‘normal’, is uncertain at this point.

In the meantime, the Fort Frances Lakers Organization, is extending well wishes to everyone to be safe throughout the fight against the Coronavirus COVID 19 Pandemic.

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