After being on leave of absence for what became an abbreviated 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season, Elliot Lake is poised to return for the 2021-2022 campaign with new leadership and a new name.
Formerly the Elliot Lake Wildcats, the NOJHL team has changed its name to the Elliot Lake Red Wings.
Among the other changes that have been made has the Elliot Lake franchise in agreement with a management company headed by Paul Noad to look after team operations of the rebranded Red Wings, who will now sport red and white as their colours.
Further to that, holdover Elliot Lake president Len Kutchaw has named John Buchanan as the Red Wings general manager and Brian Noad as head coach.
“As an organization, we are very excited to bring Paul Noad, and his organization, on board to manage our operations for the upcoming season. Paul has a wealth of hockey experience both as a player and in management, and the team will also benefit from his extensive business background,” Kutchaw relayed.
“Last year we took a one-year leave of absence from the league due to COVID-19. It was a difficult decision to make, but we felt it was in the best interest of the players, the parents, the fans and the organization. Coming back we felt it was important that we give the team a fresh start,” Kutchaw added.
Elliot Lake’s most recent season, the 2019-2020 campaign, was a disaster. The Wildcats finished in last place in the 12-team NOJHL with a record of 7-46-3.
Meantime, NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca gave a quick take on the rebranding of the Elliot Lake franchise.
“Persevering through a very difficult time, which we all continue to deal with on a daily basis, many thanks go to Len Kutchaw and the entire organization. We look forward to seeing the Red Wings in action in the months ahead,” noted Mazzuca.
“Kudos to the entire Elliot Lake franchise on rebranding as part of its return to the league,” Mazzuca added.