David Beauchamp is young — very young — as far as being an owner of a junior A hockey team goes.
Not yet 30-years old, Beauchamp is about to begin his second season as an owner in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
To be sure, Beauchamp is hoping for better days in 2014-2015 as owner and general manager of the Mattawa Blackhawks, formerly the North Bay Trappers.
Beauchamp received off-season approval to move the North Bay franchise that he acquired in 2013 to Mattawa effective the 2014-2015 campaign.
With per-game attendance below 100 and issues with West Ferris Arena in North Bay, Beauchamp actually moved his team’s home games to Mattawa towards the end of the 2013-2014 campaign and the Trappers drew crowds of about 250 over several matches at cold-but-cozy Mike Rodden Arena.
Now settled in Mattawa, a town of about 2,000 residents located at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers just outside North Bay, Beauchamp is seeking a fresh start for the Blackhawks, nee Trappers.
He admits to making “rookie mistakes” as a first-year owner in the NOJHL.
“I made a lot of hand-shake deals with advertisers and sponsors that came back to haunt me,” Beauchamp told me in a candid interview.
“At the same time, I take my share of the responsibility for not operating the franchise as well as I could have,” he added.
Beauchamp readily admitted that he still has bills outstanding from his first NOJHL season.
“But I am paying those off,” he told me. “I want to do things right and run a good franchise.”
Beauchamp claims that the Blackhawks already have more than 20 players signed for the 2014-2015 season.
“We are in good shape on the ice and I am happy to tell you that we are in good shape off the ice to begin the season,” he offered.
Besides being the co-owner of the Blackhawks with his wife Justine, Beauchamp is also serving as general manager. Former GM Chris Dawson left the team at the end of the 2013-2014 campaign to take a similar position with the new Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL.
Beauchamp also has a new coach in place.
Aaron Corbiere was hired just a few days ago to replace Zane Neily, who abruptly quit the Blackhawks late last week.
“We are moving forward,” Beauchamp told me in a confident tone. “We want to make this a good first season in Mattawa.
“I learned a lot in my first year as an owner — who to trust and who not to trust,” he continued. “That is why I am talking to you. I read your site every day and I want to set the record straight.”