It was so much older then, it is younger than that now.
The franchise, that is.
Backed by a board of governors vote of 8-0, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is poised to return to the tidy, back-in-time town of Iroquois Falls without ever having left it.
With Mattawa Blackhawks owner Allan Donnan having received the clear-cut support of the NOJHL to move his franchise to Iroquois Falls, all that stands in the way of relocation now is the approval of the governing Northern Ontario Hockey Association.
To be sure, this is a feel-good story in the making.
Iroquois Falls — a resilient town of about 4,500 which is located about six miles east of Highway 11 on the banks of the Abitibi River — was faced without having an NOJHL team for the first time since 1999.
Just a few months ago, the NOJHL had approved the relocation of the Abitibi Eskimos from Iroquois Falls to the much-bigger, nearby town of Timmins for the 2015-2016 season.
Undaunted, a determined group of Iroquois Falls residents banded together to try to get a new NOJHL franchise — and it did just that when Donnan acted on the opportunity to move his Mattawa team to a town that led the league in attendance in 2014-2015 with a per-game average of 513.
Thus, pending the approval of the NOHA, the Mattawa Blackhawks will become the Iroquois Falls Eskimos.
The unanimous support for the NOJHL’s approval of the Mattawa move to Iroquois Falls even included the thumbs-up from erstwhile Abitibi team president Scott Marshall, who will scoot off to Timmins all fresh and clean.
Should the NOHA give its go-ahead to Iroquois Falls, the NOJHL will have put a warm blanket on the northeastern Ontario market.
In what looms as a hockey hotbed rivalry, the NOJHL will have four teams in a northeastern nook — Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Kirkland Lake and Cochrane.
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.