SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday that its executive board has unanimously approved the addition of two new member clubs that will take to the ice in time for the start of the 2014-15 season.
Joining the NOJHL will be new franchises in both Elliot Lake and Powassan, with the latter serving as the primary affiliate team of the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion.
Elliot Lake and Powassan will join the seven other current member organizations that have already confirmed their participation in the league this upcoming campaign to make it a nine-team NOJHL.
With the addition of the two new franchises the nine squads that will make-up the league in 2014-15 marks the highest number of teams the NOJHL has had in one season in their storied history.
“This is tremendous news for the NOJHL,” stated league Commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“With Elliot Lake and Powassan returning to the NOJHL it marks the culmination of plenty of hard work and dedication by two forward thinking ownership groups who see the benefits of having Jr. A hockey in their respective communities.
“The efforts brought forth by Elliot Lake Mayor Rick Hamilton and Powassan Mayor Peter McIssac, along with their respective councils and community services departments, are to be commended for their efforts in helping put this all together,” added Mazzuca.
Heading up the Powassan franchise as co-owners will be Jim Bruce, Dan Rivet, Sylvain Rivet, Marc Rivet, Ray Seguin and Graeme Bruce.
Bruce is pleased with the support and backing he’s received at all levels and is excited at what lies ahead for the franchise.
“We put together a strong ownership group to head up the franchise and are really looking forward to the upcoming season, said Bruce.
“We’ve also received strong support from the town of Powaasan and Mayor McIssac,” added the club’s co-owner.
Another advantage the new NOJHL club has secured is the affiliation agreement with the OHL’s Battalion in nearby North Bay to serve as the primary feeder team for the squad.
“We have received exceptional support from the North Bay Battalion and Mike Griffin (President and Alternate Governor) along with Stan Butler (Director of Hockey Operations & Head Coach),” claimed Bruce.
“We are looking forward to hitting the ice.”
As for the new team in Elliot Lake, town council there is aiding in a number of avenues to help get the community-owned club up and operational in time for the start of the season.
Long-time hockey man Todd Stencill, who himself is no stranger to the NOJHL, will help oversee operation of the team as it gets up and running.
“It’s an exciting time on the hockey front for the town of Elliot Lake,” said Stencil.
“With the strong support already shown by the community and its leaders, we are looking to build a model Jr. A franchise, on and off the ice, as we strive to make our mark in the NOJHL for many years to come.”
Further information on both clubs will be announced in the coming days and weeks, including team names, their coaching staffs, websites, etc.
Both of the new organizations will join the other seven member NOJHL clubs at its annual general meeting, which goes this weekend in Sault Ste. Marie.
Among the items on the agenda will be the league schedule, playoff format, future league sanctioned events along with numerous other assorted league business matters.
For more information on the NOJHL visit the league’s official website at www.nojhl.com or via social media at twitter.com/nojhl and www.facebook.com/NOJHL.