Fresh from an epic on-ice turnaround that revived junior hockey in Blind River, the Beavers now sport a vivid look in the board room led by a new president and general manager.
Penny Poisson-Lawrence has been voted in as new president of the Beavers while also retaining her role as administrative general manager of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team.
Poisson-Lawrence takes office flanked by an executive fleet and incoming directors who are firmly endorsing the return of NOJHL coach-of-the-year Kyle Brick, assistant coach Dylan King, assistant coach/assistant general manager Craig MacDonald and Sault Ste. Marie-based senior advisor/scouting director Charly Murray.
Brick, King, MacDonald and the venerable Murray all joined the Beavers as a group prior to the start of the 2016-2017 season and are already at work preparatory to the 2017-2018 campaign.
Meanwhile, joining Poisson-Lawrence on the Beavers front-office executive for 2017-2018 will be administrator Nathalie Dubois, treasurer Lorraine Serre and holdover secretary Pam Trowbridge.
Long-time Beavers supporter Linda Lamorie will return as billet captain and director while other directors will include Lindsay Tallon, Georges Dubois, Bruno Serre, Michel Lafreniere, Jimmy Horton and former president Robert Morningstar.
In stepping up as president, the well-supported Poisson-Lawrence painted a clear picture for the Beavers as they seek to surge ahead.
“Our organization is looking forward to working with Coach Brick and his staff in order to pursue another record-breaking year,” Poisson-Lawrence told HockeyNewsNorth.com.
To be sure, is was a record-setting season on the ice for the Beavers in 2016-2017 as they set a new franchise record for regular-season victories en route to a 32-20-4 mark, which was good for second place in the West Division and fifth-overall in the 12-team NOJHL. (The previous high for regular-season wins was 29, set back in 2009-2010 when current Soo Eagles bench boss Jim Capy was coaching the Beavers. Blind River was established as an NOJHL franchise back in 1999.)
At any rate, following the regular-season success of 2016-2017, the Beavers then scored a thrilling Game 7 victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in the first round of the playoffs before ousting the Soo Eagles in five games to win the West Division title.
No. 5 seed Blind River subsequently met its match in the NOJHL finals when the no. 1 seed Powassan Voodoos swept the Beavers in a showdown between two small-market NOJHL teams.
Throughout the playoffs, the Beavers played to big crowds at the Blind River Memorial Community Centre. For the Game 5, West Division-crown clincher against the Soo Eagles, the Beavers drew a giddy, standing-room only crowd of 602.
In all, regular season and playoffs included, the Beavers posted a record of 40-28-4 over the course of the 2016-2017 campaign.
That compares to the 2015-2016 season when the Beavers missed the playoffs with a record of 10-40-4 and the 2014-2015 term when they set a Canadian Jr. Hockey League record for futility with a win-less mark of 0-51-1.
Looking ahead to the 2017-2018 season as Brick and his staff strive to keep forward motion going, the Beavers can return considerable young talent, particularly up front with Blind River native Caleb Serre and Sault Ste. Marie area products Max Khull, Steve Khull and Mark Khull.