It has played on as an off season of major moves with a significant sweep that has dusted the Great North Midget Hockey League.
The Great North winds of change began to shift when Glen Denney returned to the Kapuskasing Flyers as head coach after a self-imposed, two-year hiatus from the team.
The reputable Denney has taken over from Pat Millette, who stepped down as the Kapuskasing bench boss following the 2016-2017 season for family and job-related reasons. Millette, who will stay on with the Flyers as a video coach, led Kapuskasing to a solid fourth-place regular-season finish and into the second round of the playoffs in 2016-2017.
Meanwhile, in Timmins, home-grown, first-year head coach Brandon Perry is prepping to lead the Majors into the 2017-2018 season as their new bench boss.
The 28-year old Perry — a former star player and captain with the Majors — takes the helm of a Timmins entry that finished in last place in 2016-2017.
And along the way, over the course of summer, the Great North expanded to nine teams with the addition of minor midget squads in both the Soo and North Bay.
Then came more big news out of the Great North.
As was first reported by HockeyNewsNorth.com on Monday, Darren Potvin has vacated his position as president of the Kapuskasing Flyers to take over as commissioner of the league.
The league’s board of directors acted quickly to appoint the highly-regarded Potvin as new commissioner following the resignation of Bob MacLean just over a week ago.
While relatively young, the 29-year old Potvin has nonetheless spent eight years with the Kapuskasing midgets, beginning as general manager at age 21 and then moving up to president.
Self-described as “passionate about hockey” and a born-and-bred northerner who originally hails from Timmins, Potvin is anxious to get to work as commissioner of the GNMHL.
“I am looking forward to working with all groups, teams and leagues across the north,” Potvin relayed to HockeyNewsNorth.com. “Hockey is a job I take a lot of pride in and this job will be no different.”
Potvin said he is aware of the challenges facing him as he takes office as the new commissioner of the GNMHL.
“There are several pressing issues concerning midget hockey in northern Ontario and I look forward to the challenge,” he said. “We must do a better job.”
Potvin takes the helm of the Great North midget program that will be an expanded, nine-team loop in 2017-2018.
The new-look league will feature the Soo Greyhounds, Soo Thunderbirds minor midgets, North Bay Trappers major midgets and minor midgets, Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves, Sudbury Wolves minor midgets, New Liskeard Cubs and the aforementioned Timmins Majors and Kapuskasing Flyers.
The Soo minor midgets and the North Bay minor midgets are new to the Great North.
Jamie Henderson will coach the Soo minor midgets while Mike Stockfish has been installed as bench boss of the North Bay minor midgets.
Of note, Henderson, has a high-level, multiple-championship background as a former assistant coach and general manager with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
And now, at the top, the league has a new man in charge as Potvin brings a breath of fresh air into the Great North.
PHOTO: Glenn Denney, coach of the Kapuskasing Flyers.