What is next for the Blind River Beavers?
Will they remain a part of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League?
Does the NOJHL even want anything to do with the Beavers as they currently exist?
To be sure, it is a sad state of junior hockey affairs in Blind River where the once-proud Beavers were a shambles on and off the ice during the 2014-2015 season.
For starters, the Beavers failed to win a game with a record of 0-55-1, regular season and playoffs included.
Warren Lavoy was let go as general manager early and head coach Don Gagnon and goalie coach Frank Arcangeletti departed midway through the campaign.
In came Angelo Gallo as the supposed saviour of team president Bob Haworth. But Gallo didn’t make it to the end of the season as NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca suspended the Beavers coach for the duration of the campaign for allegedly bullying his players.
Attendance took a tumble as well with many games that drew fewer than 100 spectators to the cold-but-comfortable confines of the Blind River Community Centre.
In retrospect, it would seem that Haworth is in over his head as Beavers president. And Mazzuca, as NOJHL commissioner, is “concerned” — to use a nice word — with the state of the Blind River franchise.
Whether the Beavers remain a part of the NOJHL in 2015-2016 or look at joining the fledgling Canadian International Hockey League — should it move forward into next season — it seems logical that any house-cleaning should start with the team president.
The NOJHL can work in small-market Blind River.
It has worked before and with the right people involved as board members and in hockey management, I don’t see why it can’t work again.
But I don’t think status quo can be maintained.
From an NOJHL standpoint, I don’t think Mazzuca would allow that.
And from a possible CIHL standpoint, I think league president Tim Clayden would need to bring his broom with him to Blind River.