THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Canadian Junior Hockey League member, the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL), is announcing the unanimous approval of the Board of Governors of an expansion application made on behalf of a group based in Sioux Lookout, Ont.
The puck is scheduled to drop in that community for the start of the 2022-23 season.
“The league would like to firstly acknowledge and thank Sioux Lookout Mayor Douglas Lawrance and Chief Administrative Officer Michele Larose for recognizing the value of the opportunity to bring SIJHL hockey back to Sioux Lookout,” said league commissioner Darrin Nicholas.
Nicholas continued: “Shortly after the league’s initial outreach, the enthusiasm for the project became apparent. An outstanding group of individuals with deep ties to not only the hockey community but the community at large was quickly identified who in short order were able to evaluate, determine the viability of the venture and establish the early momentum to put a Junior A team in their arena.”
Critical to the expansion process was for the Board of Directors to determine that the application was made by the right people, in the right location, who were looking to join the league for the right reasons and who had a vision backed by a plan that could be executed.
“Our board really thought they checked off all the boxes.” Nicholas explained.
“Sioux Lookout has always been a community that we thought made sense for an SIJHL franchise. The town is within our geographical footprint.
There is a great facility there and there’s clearly an abundance of community spirit that we feel will support a team.”
“It was then just a matter of ensuring the correct people were at the helm. The group of Matt Cairns, Austen Hoey, Joe Cassidy and Chistine Hoey have been nothing short of thorough and professional. Their energy and attention to detail throughout the whole process easily instilled confidence with our Governors that they were more than capable franchisees.”
Matt Cairns, spokesperson for the Sioux Lookout SIJHL group is excitedly looking forward to the process of building a team for their community and bringing their plan to life.
For them, September 2022 cannot come soon enough.
“We would like to thank everyone at the SIJHL for their support during this process. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far and look forward to seeing the excitement and support of the community for the return of Junior A hockey.”
The expansion is conditional on the Sioux Lookout hockey group obtaining membership in Hockey Northwestern Ontario for which an application will be made in the coming weeks.
The SIJHL is a member league of the Canadian Junior Hockey League and presently has seven member teams: Dryden GM Ice Dogs, Fort Frances Lakers, Kam River Fighting Walleye, Red Lake Miners, Thief River Falls Norskies, Thunder Bay North Stars, Wisconsin Lumberjacks.
2021-22 will mark the 20th Anniversary season for the SIJHL.