Fans click the NOJHL turnstiles

September 13, 2015

On the ice, the reigning champion Soo Thunderbirds, Cochrane Crunch and Rayside-Balfour Canadians are all off to quick 2-0 starts. At the gate, there have been good-sized crowds on hand as the 2015-2016, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season is underway.

To be sure, as the NOJHL debuts in French River and returns to Rayside-Balfour and the Michigan Soo, the turnstiles have been clicking.

Among the highlights:

In Noelville, home of the French River Rapids, Friday’s first-ever NOJHL match drew a sold-out crowd of more than 400.

In Chelmsford, home of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, Saturday’s home-opener attracted a packed house of more than 400 as the NOJHL returned to town after an 11-year hiatus.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, home of the Soo Eagles, more than 800 fans made their way into Pullar Stadium for Saturday’s home opener against the cross-border Soo Thunderbirds. The Eagles are back in the NOJHL after three seasons in the North American Hockey League.

And what about the Blind River Beavers? After failing to win a single game in 2014-2015, the new-look Beavers won their 2015-2016 home opener on Saturday, cuffing French River in front of close to 400 fans.

Elsewhere, the Iroquois Falls Eskis drew more than 800 fans for their home opener, Cochrane Crunch brought in more than 600 for its first game and more than 500 spectators took in the season debut of the Elliot Lake Wildcats.

The NOJHL is off to a good start — on the ice and at the gate.

PHOTO: Fans of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians packed the rink in Chelmsford for their home opener.

What you think about “Fans click the NOJHL turnstiles”

  1. What a difference that a Season can make with the Beavers looking like a team that are well coached. I have not met Coach Brad Barton yet but the Players look confident and I am sure that as Coach that he has them beleiving in what he is teaching. Nice crowd too by far the most that we have had in a couple of years. Good Article RR.

  2. Great ceremony for our season opener @ The Igloo last night . Very classy to recognize the Eskimos history .
    As for our on ice product ……well it`s work in progress . Now I know how the Maple Leafs fan feel……

  3. Its like the over-all level of play which date’s back to the last few yrs is having a rippler effect. Also our League is more better promted thru Randy Russon, Tom Perry, Joe Slatery etc. that gives so much credability to our League.

  4. Cmon RR give your hometown Gold Miners some love man LOL.
    It was a bad one for our boys in Timmins. Timmins made it look easy is like Gagne playing possem with the Miners. It is only 2 Games in and nothing to were about yet.
    Back to you RR I am not buying the 1st round until you come up here for a Game so there. Last time we had one was in Temang for f–k sakes LOL.

  5. The only disappointing crowd was Espanola’s to be honest. The NOJHL site has them at 346 for their home opener, but there was likely a bit more. The last season they had in the NOJHL, they led the league in attendance.

    Just find it odd seeing as how efforts were made by tons of fans to save the team when the Town of Espanola decided to say goodbye to Tim Clayden and his CIHL. With the efforts by council and the coaches to bring the team back to the NOJHL, seeing the arena half full was kind of a let down for me.

    But it was great seeing Blind River drawing fans and pummeling a team for once, instead of the team getting pummeled.

    1. Hey Brad that number was the actual number was just that the actual number from the tickets sold. It’s amazing when people count accurately what numbers really are. I will let you read between the lines in that one :).

  6. someone should clue in the French River fans to stand and remove their hats when the national anthems are played. A most disgraceful show of respect on Friday night. Otherwise Al Donnan and crew did a great job.

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