NOJHL To Add Espanola In 2013?
TJHN sources in Ontario are reporting that Espanola will re-enter the NOJHL in 2013.
It would appear from the Espanola Junior Hockey website that the city is confident enough to begin a season ticket drive as well as a logo design contest. http://www.espanolajuniorhockey.com/
The city of Espanola has stated that they hope to secure 400 season ticket reservations in order to make the franchise a reality. Sources are saying that an ownership group is in place and that the Sudbury Nickel Barons who control the territory rights are working toward an agreement that would allow Espanola to enter the league.
Sources are also reporting that North Bay Trappers Owner Tim Clayden has been a key figure in the Espanola developments. So key in fact that he is the registered owner of http://www.espanolajuniorhockey.com/
While it was originally speculated that the Trappers may relocate to Espanola, it now looks as though a lease for the West Ferris Arena in North Bay is imminent.
So who is behind the proposed Espanola franchise? Some sources are reporting that the City of Espanola and the Whitefish River First Nation have spoken about a joint operating venture. Other sources are reporting that the City is still searching for an experienced junior hockey operator to partner up with.
No matter what the story, where there is this much smoke there is sure to be fire. Considering the neutral site game between North Bay and Blind River was very well attended, the NOJHL will likely be an eight team league next season.
TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.