Rinks and rumours. It’s almost as if there can’t be one without the other.
Rumours have a way of making the hockey world revolve and seldom is there a shortage of rinkside rhetoric.
NEW IN ELLIOT LAKE
What we do know is that the Elliot Lake Bobcats have been approved by the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League to relocate to Cochrane effective the 2014-2015 season.
What we have been told is that Mayor Rick Hamilton and City Council don’t want Elliot Lake to be without a junior hockey team next season.
What we have also been told is that Elliot Lake could be home to a new junior hockey team either by expansion or relocation of an existing franchise.
Rumours have been rampant in Blind River that the Beavers will be sold and moved to Elliot Lake after this season.
But what I have been told by Beavers general manager Warren Lavoy in response to those rumours is “no sir.”
Will there be junior hockey in Elliot Lake in 2014-2015?
What we do know is that Mayor Hamilton is a former junior hockey player himself.
What we have been told is that Mayor Hamilton sees the advantages of having a junior hockey team in his town.
DOCK OF THE BAY
They are called the North Bay Trappers but for the past several games — playoffs included — the NOJHL team has been playing its home contests in nearby Mattawa.
What we have been told is the Trappers are in serious financial difficulty.
What we have seen are letters and documents that suggest the Trappers have multiple unpaid bills.
Is official relocation from North Bay to Mattawa a realistic solution to the Trappers financial woes?
Talk of the proposed new International Jr. Hockey League has not subsided.
What we do know is if the IJHL does become a reality for the 2014-2015 season that the Espanola Rivermen will be joining it from the NOJHL.
What we also know is that Espanola, in its first NOJHL season, has a feverish flock of fans that even takes to the road in big numbers to watch the Rivermen play.
What we have been told is the Rivermen have strong support from their fans, sponsors and local government regardless of whether they are in the NOJHL or the IJHL next season.
What we have also been told is that the IJHL will be a part of the American-based Amateur Athletic Union, will be made up of Ontario teams and will play an interlocking schedule with an already-established league that operates south of the border.
SOO EAGLE NEST
Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League have already launched a new season-ticket campaign for the 2014-2015 season.
While there has been idle gossip that the Eagles have been looking at other locations for their NAHL franchise, primary owner Ron Lavin and owner-general manager-coach Bruno Bragagnolo both say “absolutely not.”
In fact, Eagles ownership, in unveiling its ‘Soo 300’ campaign to sell 300 season-tickets for 2014-2015, say it will ensure the team’s long-term commitment to the Soo.
Aging Pullar Stadium, which is home to the Eagles, will undergo extensive renovations in the off-season and Bragagnolo is part of the arena-improvement committee.