They are the junior hockey epitome of small market success. Playing out of a venerable Highway 17 town with a population base of about 3,500, Blind River Beavers have put together four straight winning seasons in establishing the franchise as one of the best in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
The success in Blind River can be traced back to 2016 when the team’s board of directors brought in Kyle Brick to be their head coach.
Brick, who is now the coach and general manager in Blind River, quickly reversed the fortunes of the Beavers, who had won only 33 of 210 regular season games over the previous four years.
Having apprenticed as an assistant coach in the NOHL with the Soo Thunderbirds, Brick went to work to restore the junior hockey reputation in the Blind River — and the results speak volumes.
With fellow natives of the nearby village of Thessalon as his chief lieutenants — Craig MacDonald and Dylan King — Brick has led the Beavers to successive records of 32-20-4, 33-19-4, 25-24-7 and 37-15-4 in making Blind River a hockey force to be reckoned with in the NOJHL.
In doing so, Blind River has re-kindled fierce rivalries with its West Division counterparts — Soo Eagles, Soo Thunderbirds, Espanola Express and Rayside Balfour Canadians — and the Beavers have claimed a rightful position as an attractive landing for junior hockey players to suit up.
And with MacDonald as his assistant coach, assistant general manager and trusted recruiter, Brick is poised to soon announce the signing of several players for the 2020-2021 season.