Out with one, in with another. Having honoured the trade request of goalie Matthew Vahramian and dealing him to the Sudbury Cubs, the Massey-based Elliot Lake Vikings have added veteran net minder Braydon Garnhart to their crease via the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
Garnhart, who has a 2004 birth date, has the best numbers of any of the six goalies who have tended twine for Kirkland Lake this season. The American born Garnhart had a 3-4-1 record with a .898 save percentage and 4.43 goals against average for Kirkland Lake, which takes a record of 7-24-4 into play this weekend.
Elliot Lake is in last place overall among the 12 teams of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with a record of 5-23-5. But the Vikings, under first year owner Jef Jarmovitch, have stood tall in the face of adversity since the first week of the 2023-2024 season when structural issues forced the indefinite closure of Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake.
The nomadic Vikings now practice and play their home games 45 minutes from Elliot Lake at the Massey and District Community Centre. With a seating capacity of about 235, the clean and cozy Massey and District Community Centre was nicely upgraded just over eight years ago. But it had to be further enhanced to meet the standards of housing an NOJHL team.
And Jarmovitch remains beyond thankful to the Township of Massey for doing all that It has to accommodate the Vikings for at least the balance of this season.
“Absolutely, big thanks to the Township of Massey,” an appreciative Jarmovitch relayed to Hockey News North. “They put about $100,000 in upgrades (to the Massey and District Community Centre) just for us.”
Then there are the merchants from Elliot Lake who have further stepped up to support the Vikings as the team has forged ahead without the use of its own home rink.
“We would not have been able to survive this season without the help of so many businesses and supporters from Elliot Lake,” confirmed Jarmovitch, who also noted the generosity of the Soo Eagles, who are an NOJHL West Division rival of the Vikings.
“Special thanks to (Eagles president and general manager) Bruno (Bragagnolo) and the Soo Eagles,” said Jarmovitch. “Twice we played there (in November) and both times Bruno not only gave us some proceeds from the gate but he fixed us up with food for us to take back home on the bus. That is something that I as the owner of the Elliot Lake Vikings will never forget.”