Separate factions are exploring the possibility of bringing a junior hockey franchise back to the northeastern Ontario town of Iroquois Falls, Hockey News North has confirmed.
Tim Toffolo, an Iroquois Falls native who is now a real estate broker in the Niagara region and owns the Pelham Panthers of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League, has reportedly been looking into the possibility of once again having a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League franchise in his hometown.
And there have been feelers from officials within the Greater Metro Hockey League about having a team in Iroquois Falls to the extent of playing a neutral game there this season.
The GMHL has 23 teams featuring both a North Division and a South Division.
Of note, one of the North Division teams, the West Nipissing Lynx, which is based in Sturgeon Falls, has been informally put on the market by owner Patrick Miron.
At any rate, Iroquois Falls had a team in the aforementioned NOJHL from 1999 to 2017. The franchise was known as both the Iroquois Falls Eskis and the Abitibi Eskimos.
Attendance was never an issue for the NOJHL in Iroquois Falls. During the last two seasons there was an NOJHL franchise in Iroquois Falls — the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 campaigns — the team finished third in attendance both times, averaging about 400 fans per game to venerable Jus Jordan Arena aka the Igloo.
The Iroquois Falls franchise was sold by an owner with Toronto roots prior to the start of the 2017-2018 and relocated to Hearst and became the Lumberjacks.
Iroquois Falls is a town of just under 4,500 residents and is located about 45 miles northeast of Timmins. The Timmins Rock is a member of the 12-team NOJHL and is the league’s attendance leader.
PHOTO: A banner hangs in Jus Jordan Arena aka the Igloo.