Buzz over NOJHL move to Cochrane

March 3, 2014

The arrival of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in Cochrane effective the 2014-2015 season should have a major impact on the community, according to the town’s mayor and the owner of the team.

“We are absolutely excited, it’s part of a build and development program in the community that we have been part of for the past three years,” mayor Peter Politis said of the relocation of the Elliot Lake Bobcats to Cochrane.

“This is a status position that we have been trying to achieve and we have achieved it. It’s not only good for Cochrane, it’s good for the entire region,” Politis told a recent media assembly.

“We are going to be playing home games scattered throughout the region, as far west as Hearst and far south as Temiskaming Shores and Timmins to build an audience and to continue to drive the region towards this team,” Politis added.

“The junior hockey club will not belong to the Town of Cochrane, it is private enterprise that is run by a private entrepreneur and in this case by somebody who is renowned for looking after his business in a way that is community oriented and respectful of all the other entities that are there,” Politis continued.

Ryan Leonard, owner-general manager-coach of the Elliot Lake team that will be moving to Cochrane, put his own numbers on some of what the community can expect from his hockey team.

“Dollar wise, when you are bringing 20 kids to the community that is bringing 20 more cars to the community, that’s $50 a week per car in fuel being spent at your gas stations, plus vehicle repairs,” said Leonard.

“The bus that we own, that is another $500 to $1,000 per week spent in fuel in the community.

“You bring kids in who might still be in high school, that hockey player who is not from your community is now into your school system and now your school system is getting more dollars for that student. If you get seven, or eight new hockey players that’s one more full-time teacher in school.

“The cycle just keeps on going, where money comes into the school and people just don’t see it, but the biggest thing is bringing these players in. They are getting $400 per month for room and board with the families they live with. You take $400 per month, times 25 players, times eight months, you do the math, that’s $75,000 to $80,000 being spent in local grocery stores in the area just to feed these kids. And that, in itself doesn’t cover most of these kids because they can really eat,” Leonard added.

That is good news as far as Politis is concerned.

“One of the reasons that we are comfortable with this direction, as a municipality, is Ryan Leonard himself,” Politis said. “I think we have one of the best entrepreneurs in the NOJHL, somebody who understands community involvement. He hasn’t pushed people away and is extremely good in bringing people in.”

Leonard confirmed that the transplanted Elliot Lake Bobcats will be known as the Cochrane Crunch.

What you think about “Buzz over NOJHL move to Cochrane”

  1. “We are going to be playing home games scattered throughout the region, as far west as Hearst and far south as Temiskaming Shores and Timmins to build an audience and to continue to drive the region towards this team,” Politis added.

    Playing home games away from Cochrane? Or am I reading that wrong?

  2. Not sure if I’m out in left field on this but i find the concept of playing your home games all over hell’s half acre somewhat unfair to the visiting teams. The most glarring example of that this year was when the nickel barons had to play an Elliot Lake home game in Cochrane . What should have been a close away game turned into a long roady. if the cochrane crunch ( really ??) have home games in hearst that would mean a minimum 6 hrs bus rides for most teams. I guess I dont understand the concept of expecting the visiting teams to have to pay more in travel costs and time on a bus so that you can make more money or solidify your fan base.

  3. The Cochrane Mayor said that but didn’t mean all year or all games….. We all played 28 home games this year so there is not enough weeks in a season to play every Friday or Saturday what ever night it is. So during our press conference it was said that there is a possibility of taking 3 or 4 of thoughs games if we have to play two games in same week to area communities that are close by like Smooth Rock Falls and Kapuskasing ect……to gain some outside interest from the area.

  4. Glad to see at least the Cochrane community is excited about this move….. Somebody has to be! Too bad mattawa is not showing the same support. Would it be safe to say that, the North Bay Trappers are done and Mattawa is not capable of supporting a NOJHL team when they received less than 300 paid tickets for the three games they played there ? I was told there was no heat and it was colder inside the arena then outside. Doesn’t sound promising in my opinion.

  5. Would it have been a better idea to make this announcement “after” the season so that at least the few loyal Elliot Lake supporters could cheer on the team through the playoffs?

  6. I agree fan man the league/team dropped the
    ball on this and should have waited for the end if the season
    to announce this. I know people got tired of team
    ownership but why upset the loyal fans to.
    I hope these people if Elliot Lake get some kind
    of team to cheer for again.

  7. I have been a supporter of our beloved Elliot Bobcats for some 7 seasons now . There was undoubtedly a change on the way, with the dwindling attendance.

    However what upsets me is Ryan Leonard’s lack of consideration for us oldtimers.

    When asked a few weeks back about their future in EL, Ryan stated he was waiting to hear from some local sponsors. Clearly by the CTV segment showing a new logo , jerseys and a signed agreement in Cochrane this was well in the works.

    Shame on you Ryan …the truth is all us old guys have — and all we ever asked for.

  8. I read on RR’s blog where someone said how could this be approved already. I remember last year the Rivermen having to wait forever to make it official

      1. I agree, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to fines and suspensions and rules. What was handed to Clayden was WAY over the top and reactionary, in my opinion.
        From my perspective some teams are able to get away with things that are others are not. Doesn’t look good on the NOJHL Commissioner, in my opinion.

  9. I thought my questions were valid, RR. Wasn’t trying to defame Mr. Leonard in any way but you choose not to publish my post. Unfortunately, you just lost me as a reader.

    1. Yimmy, I believe I did post one of your comments this morning. Check again. If there is another post in question, I did not receive it. Try sending it again. If it is not defamatory or libelous, it will be posted.

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