The Northern Ontario Hockey Association has given formal approval for the Mattawa Blackhawks to relocate and become the Iroquois Falls Eskimos, HockeyNewsNorth.com has confirmed.
With today’s NOHA approval, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League officially returns to the town of Iroquois Falls without ever having left it.
Iroquois Falls — a resilient town of about 4,500 which is located about six miles east of Highway 11 on the banks of the Abitibi River — was faced without having an NOJHL team for the first time since 1999.
Just a few months ago, the NOJHL and the NOHA had approved the relocation of the Abitibi Eskimos from Iroquois Falls to the much-bigger, nearby town of Timmins for the 2015-2016 season.
The new Timmins team will be known as the Rock.
Meantime, now that it has NOHA approval as the former Mattawa entry, fans and supporters up in Iroquois Falls can officially begin to get ready for the 2015-2016 season.
Allison Madden-Blais, community co-ordinator for the new Iroquois Falls Eskimos, could barely contain her excitement after hearing of the NOHA approval.
“This is so exciting,” Madden-Blais told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “I am almost speechless with excitement — and I am not usually at a loss for words. The community has been on pins and needles waiting to hear from the NOHA.”
Today’s approval from the NOHA is well-timed, according to Madden-Blais, as team owner Allan Donnan is slated to be the guest speaker tonight at an Iroquois Falls Chamber of Commerce meeting.
The NOHA serves as the governing body for the NOJHL.