On and off the ice, the hockey season plays on.
SOO SIDE: There is a Sault Ste. Marie coaching connection to the two teams from the Ontario Jr. Hockey League that will compete at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canada playdowns that will be staged next week in Wellington.
The host Wellington Dukes are coached and managed by Marty Abrams.
The 49-year old Abrams tended goal for Soo Greyhounds during the 1984-1985 season and later coached the Ontario Hockey League team in 2003-2004.
Meanwhile, the OJHL champion Toronto Lakeshore Patriots are coached by Sault Ste. Marie native Jason Fortier.
The 39-year old Fortier was a hard-toiling left winger who played in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the Espanola Eagles during the 1991-1992 season before heading south to Newmarket and Milton to finish his junior career.
Fortier later played pro hockey in Germany before returning home to light the lamp for the Sault College Cougars.
Fortier is a coaching veteran of the OJHL, having worked the bench of the Vaughan Vipers before landing his current gig with the Lakeshore Patriots.
KUDOS TO KL: Am I surprised that second-seeded Kirkland Lake Gold Miners upended regular-season champion Soo Thunderbirds in six games to win the NOJHL title and advance to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup playdowns?
Not at all.
Before the series started, I said I did not think there was a favourite to win the NOJHL crown.
In other words, I would not have been surprised if the Soo won it.
And I am not surprised that Kirkland Lake did win it.
The Gold Miners are a skilled, veteran-laden team that is well put together from goalie Jeremy Pominville to defencemen Dan Morin and Jeremy Picard-Fiset to forwards Steve Babin, Austin Rust and Sam Wilbur et al.
LAKER COACH: Who will be the next coach of the Lake Superior State University Lakers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association?
If there is such a thing as a hometown favourite to get the LSSU job it will go to Rich Metro.
Metro is from the Michigan Soo and is a former Laker assistant coach.
The 39-year old Metro also has bench experience at the pro level in France.
PHOTO: Sault Ste. Marie native Jason Fortier coaches the Ontario Jr. Hockey League champion Toronto Lakeshore Patriots.