Batchewana Attack joins CIHL

June 21, 2014

Junior hockey is returning to Rankin Arena in Sault Ste. Marie after a 32-year hiatus.

Batchewana Attack has become the seventh team in the new Canadian International Hockey League, which will begin play effective the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

The Attack will be based out of Rankin Arena, which housed the Soo Thunderbirds of the erstwhile International Jr. B Hockey League from 1978 until 1982.

Sault Ste. Marie native David Maciuk is a major investor in the Batchewana team and will also serve as president and director of hockey operations for the Attack.

Maciuk, who played in the Ontario Hockey League for Soo Greyhounds during the 1973-1974 season before moving to Chicago where he was a high-scoring forward at the minor-pro level for a number of years, said the Attack will work closely with Batchewana First Nation, which operates Rankin Arena.

“We are grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to work with the Batchewana First Nation,” said Maciuk. “The support has been overwhelming on this endeavour and we look forward to starting our program for student-athletes throughout North America along with future programs to further attract and develop First Nation student-athlete hockey players.

“Our entire Attack organization is looking forward to a bright and long-term future working with the Batchewana First Nation and bringing the new CIHL to junior hockey fans in the Sault Ste. Marie area,” Maciuk added.

Meantime, Rankin Arena manager Dan Sayers Sr. is thrilled to have a junior hockey tenant.

“We are excited beyond belief to be working with the new CIHL and the Batchewana Attack,” said Sayers, who lauded CIHL president and founder Tim Clayden for instigating the deal to put a team into Rankin Arena.

“Tim has been instrumental in helping to bring junior hockey back to our First Nation facility,” said Sayers. “We look forward to working with the CIHL and hosting the Attack where players from throughout North America including Sault Ste. Marie and our First Nations will be equally welcomed.”

Clayden, from his end, said reaching a deal with Chief Dean Sayers and the Batchewana Band Council to play out of Rankin Arena was a “thorough process and beneficial to the parties involved.

“The CIHL is very proud to have an opportunity to work with the Batchewana First Nation. This is about non-native and native peoples working together in sport and is something that all involved can be very proud of.

“We wish to thank Batchewana First Nation Chief and Council for their approval and support of the CIHL and the Batchewana Attack hockey club. We would also like to thank Dan Sayers for his efforts in making junior at the Rankin Arena a reality. Chi-miigwetch,” said Clayden.

Clayden, who has spent a lifetime in junior hockey as a general manager and owner of teams, likes what the equally-seasoned Maciuk will bring to the CIHL as primary owner of the Batchewana franchise.

“The Attack ownership group is very strong led by David Maciuk, who I know will leave no ice pad unturned to find the best native and non native student-athlete hockey players throughout North America to provide a very competitive and exciting team for the entire area to take pride in. There is no doubt the Rankin Arena will be rocking this winter,” Clayden added.

During the 2013-2014 season, Rankin Arena was home to a regular-season game involving the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and drew in excess of 500 fans to the single outing.

“That was what got us looking at the Rankin in the first place,” said Maciuk, who now begins the process of hiring a coach-general manager for the Attack and recruiting area players for the 2014-2015 season.

Of note, the Attack will be forming a club community steering committee with the intent of establishing a direction that “best suits hockey fans from Batchewana First Nation and the Sault Ste. Marie area,” said Maciuk.

Those interested in being a part of the committee can contact the Attack front office via e-mail,

With Batchewana on board, the CIHL now stands at seven teams as it prepares for its inaugural season.

Other teams are the Espanola Rivermen, St. Charles Spirit, Central Ontario HTI Stars, Colborne Cramahe Hawks, Milton Battle Arts Cobras and Collingwood Ice.

The CIHL — where Canadian and American players will share equal status as non-imports and teams can utilize as many 12 Europeans and unlimited 15-and-16-year olds — is part of the sanctioned United Hockey Union under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union.

Along with the CIHL, the Midwest Jr. Hockey League, Northern States Hockey League and Western States Hockey League are members of the UHU.

What you think about “Batchewana Attack joins CIHL”

  1. WOW! Another junior team in the Soo as RR said mite happen!
    I did not see this coming as always tho RR is there with the Story.

  2. I could see this coming as the Rankin is a perfect fasility for Junior Hockey and the T-Birds missed the boat by not playing there imo. I was at the game last season at the Rankin= that the T-Birds played there and as RR said there were 500+ fans who were there. I am looking forward to watching this new Team in this new League. Good job RR.

  3. Lets hope that the Batchawana Attack will give many ops to the local players who were over-looked by the Thunderbirds at the Spring Tryout Camp.
    Lets see I can think of a # of kids from around here who the Batchawana Attack should go right after and they are Culina (goalie) also D men and Forwards being Cade Nolan, Uhl, Caruso, Palamerio, Lussier, Gilling & Pucci.

  4. This change’s the junior hockey land scape in the Soo. Now players have another choice at where to play Junior hockey. Very very interesting turn of events I say.

  5. Excellent news for the league. Hello all nay
    sayers out there this league is ready to go
    and make sure all teams are treated equal.
    I love the Rankin Arena and the people of Garden
    River and the Soo will be pleased with this league.
    With the thunderbirds taking over the AAA midget
    program the already excellent soo hockey
    program just got better

  6. There are alot of local players to chose from on both sides of the river so now the question is who will Coach this new team?
    Hmmmm I can think of Jim Capy who might want to leave the Midget Team for this or perhaps Toots will want to come out of retirement and lead the way.

  7. The CIHL is looking really good right now with this latest addition. This Attack team is going to be really strong with all the local talent ready to play Jr. Looking forward to some exciting games in front of 500 fans, sounds exciting.

  8. “A great great day for Junior Hockey”!
    I perdict that This new team will draw more fan’s to the Rankin than the Thunderbirds will draw to the Essar!

  9. CIHL has 7 teams and NOJHL has 9 teams which will become 8 teams when Mattawa folds there team Mid season or before.

  10. RR: will the “Batchewana Attack” be playing the Soo Firehawks as part of interlocking games with the Midwest League?

  11. I applawd the C.I.H.L. and the Batchawana First Nation parties for working this out and putting a Team in Rankin.As far as I am concerned this is good News for Soo Area hockey.

  12. What’s even better about the CIHL is it not
    “Outlaw” like some of the uneducated ones
    like to say but is sanctioned by the AAU which
    is not a dictatorship ship like the NOJHL and
    Hockey Canada.

  13. Where will our new Elliot Lake team find enuf players is a questien that I ask that no one around here has any answer for.
    Todd are u going to pull rabbits outta your hat?!!?

  14. Randy,

    Just curious what this new team and the Thunderbirds will charge their players to play. Also, if the plan is to have more local players on the teams where are they coming from? This is going to effect the Thunderbirds, the new Midget AAA Thunderbirds, the Minor Midget team (no limit on 15 yr olds) and high school hockey as well. EVERY TEAM will suffer from a water downed talent pool.

    Secondly, even though the team is sanctioned under the AAU does USA Hockey and Hockey Canada recognized them. If not, then the teams will only be able to play within the AAU and other associations it may be associated.

    I know a lot of people think this is a good thing, but I see this being a year of failure for a few teams namely the Midget AAA team (which if it folds this year SSM will no longer be able to card AAA at the midget level) and for the Minor Midget team.

    1. Husky:
      Hockey Canada or USA Hockey has not put any restrictions on the CIHL players and they are free to leave the CIHL and join any other league, at any time, if they so choose. It is a myth that players will be banned from playing in Hockey Canada and USA Hockey leagues and I was told that from the league president himself. If you are a player and anyone tells you this they are either misinformed or misleading you.

  15. Husky I am not sure what or if any ties you have
    to Hockey Canada but they are not the organization
    they used to be that’s for sure. Also do you
    really think they are going to fill this team with
    midgets,not going to happen. The soo has talent
    and lots of it not sure I would worry too much.

    1. Well, well, I do have ties to Hockey Canada as they have provided a place for my son to play all the way through his minor hockey. By the way, first signing for this team is a midget aged player…

      1. Husky,

        Palmerio has already played two seasons of midget as per the story. He is ready to play junior hockey. A third year of midget hockey is definitely not needed in this case.

  16. True Randy .. the HC way of thinking needs
    to be tweeked as we have fallen behind a bit
    but keeping status quo for too long keeps up
    with the Husky way of thinking IMO

  17. You know what’s funny we have a minor midget
    draft in the OHL and no one complains especially
    if a kid rides the pine. Why not have them play
    Jr A and get more ice time.

  18. Well Well, I’m not sure what you consider my line of thinking to be. I was simply asking questions for several reasons. One, I know the Midget AAA wants $7K to play there so I’d like to compare costs with the TBirds and the Attack. As a parent of an eligible player I need to know costs involved. Also other parents may want to know if the Attack is cheaper then Midget AAA so they can consider it as well.

    Second, the reason I asked if HC or USA recognizes them is that it could have an impact on play beyond or outside of the CIHL. Even better if there are no implications.

    Thirdly, there are only so many players in the region and if the TBirds and the Attack plan to use local kids then it will definitely have an impact from the TBirds on down. As a hockey parent I just think it was sad enough last year when we lost the North Stars. Failure at the Midget AAA level once again would be a huge loss for the city and I believe the NOHA has said that SSM would lose their AAA cards for defaulting in consecutive seasons.

    I have no agenda here as you seem to think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *