Elliot Lake will again have a presence in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League after being on hiatus for the 2020-2021 season. Formerly the Elliot Lake Wildcats — which had the worst record in the NOJHL during the 2019-2020 campaign — the franchise now has new operators and will begin play for the 2021-2022 season as the rebranded Elliot Lake Red Wings. Meantime, Hockey News North has obtained a letter from a long-time junior hockey fan in Elliot Lake that was sent to the new operators of the franchise.
First, I would like to say how pleased I am that NOJHL hockey is returning to Elliot Lake.
My husband and I are avid hockey fans and will be in our regular season seats as soon as is possible.
Second, I have to apologize (somewhat) as I was probably one of the first people to complain about the entire “Red Wings” connection. I don’t really understand why that was chosen and definitely would have liked to see something more connected to the Elliot Lake area chosen as the team name and logo, etc. and involving the fan base in some of those decisions would have gone far in establishing a rapport within the city.
But, it is what it is and we will accept it and move on (although I am pretty sure that I won’t be buying one of the jerseys – if I do go with the red and white colour theme, I will probably be sporting my old Ottawa 67s jersey!)
Third, I am, and have been in the past, tremendously disappointed in the backlash created by people in Elliot Lake who do not see the benefit of having a junior hockey team in town. At the last council meeting, the Mayor read out a myriad of letters asking questions about the outstanding loan, etc. and many seemed to contain a lot of contempt for the very idea of the city supporting the team in any way. One does not see the same level of viciousness connected to the city supporting the golf course, ski hill, drag races, ice fishing derby or street dance. I really felt sorry for Councillor Pearce who had to sit through the same questions over and over as well as some pretty stupid ones (how many seniors play on the team?)
Obviously, I am a little biased towards having the NOJHL team here as I have been a season ticket holder for as long as I have lived here and have thoroughly enjoyed the games and watching the players develop. I do not play golf, ski, ice fish, hunt or “ski doo” but I realize that all of these types of activities are necessary to the health and well-being of our citizens as well as to attract new people to Elliot Lake.
I hope that, somehow, you will be able to make a success of the Elliot Lake Red Wings hockey franchise. And I hope you know that the loyal fan base really appreciates the efforts you are making to bring this exciting form of entertainment to our city once again.