Keene on the EL Vikings

July 31, 2023

There is new net worth in Elliot Lake. Following the graduation of Sean Guerin to the U.S. college hockey ranks and the trading of Cameron Smith to the Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the rebranded Elliot Lake Vikings of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are slated to have a new goalie tandem between the pipes this coming season.

Sam Keene

One of the goalies that Elliot Lake has signed this summer is Sam Keene. On the small side at 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, Keene is poised to compete for crease time for the new look Vikings — formerly the Red Wings — with fellow newcomer Matt Vahramian over the course of the 2023-2024 NOJHL season.

Keene, who has a 2005 birth date, is committed to move across the northern regions of Ontario from the Thunder Bay Under 18 Kings to Elliot Lake with the current plan being to form a Vikings crease duo with Vahramian this coming season.

Meanwhile, the once vaunted Vikings are back to reclaim their age old junior hockey status in Elliot Lake. Long-time local resident Jef Jarmovitch recently took over operation of the Elliot Lake Red Wings from Paul Noad and rebranded the NOJHL franchise as the Elliot Lake Vikings.

Junior hockey has had a presence in Elliot Lake since 1965. It began with the Vikings, who first played in the old International Jr. B Hockey League, then the NOJHL. And since 1997, when the Vikings went off to sea, there have been the Elliot Lake Ice, Elliot Lake Bobcats, Elliot Lake Wildcats and Elliot Lake Red Wings of the NOJHL. (The Bobcats were also part of the Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League.)

But now, thanks to Jarmovitch, the Vikings are back in Elliot Lake and will return to their vintage green and gold colours of the old days effective the looming ’23-24 season.

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