NOJHL’ Blue Devils Franchise Folds

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NOJHL’ Blue Devils franchise folds?

The Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League could be down to six teams.

Management of the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils announced Thursday morning that the franchise is folding.

"It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I announce that the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils Junior ‘A’ hockey club has informed the NOJHL that it will not continue operations for the remainder of the season," team owner and general manager Bob Kasner said in a news release.

Tuesday was the cut-down date for clubs to fix their rosters and it would seem unlikely that the league’s other six franchises would be able to add players from the Blue Devils roster for the remainder of the season.

The Blue Devils were in their first season in Kirkland Lake after the Manitoulin Islanders franchise was transferred this past summer.

At the time the Blue Devils franchise was awarded to Kirkland Lake, officials with the Kirkland Lake Legion 87’s expressed concern it would draw fan support and sponsors away from the Great North Midget League club.

There have been rumours about a consortium stepping forward to take over operation of the Blue Devils, however nothing has been confirmed. TJHN sources within Kirkland Lake and the NOJHL have reported that a local group will be taking over the operation for the remainder of the season. Head Coach Dave Gillespie is expected to stay on to maintain structure and organizational control.

Games this weekend for Kirkland Lake are being postponed and rescheduled according to TJHN sources.

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