Kam River is number one

May 4, 2023

A franchise in only its second full season of existence is the no. 1 team in the Superior International Jr. Hockey League. Kam River Fighting Walleye edged the crosstown Thunder Bay North Stars 5-4 on Wednesday in Game 7 of the SIJHL championship series.

Kam River general manager Kevin McCallum, with the SIJHL championship trophy.

Kam River will represent the SIJHL as one of 10 teams at the Centennial Cup national tournament, which is slated for May 11-21 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The Centennial Cup tournament brings together nine champions from the Canadian Jr. Hockey League as well as the host Portage la Prairie Terriers from the Manitoba Jr. Hockey League. The northern region of Ontario will be represented by the SIJHL champions from Kam River and the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Back to Game 7 of the SIJHL finals, Thunder Bay scored first only to have Kam River lead 2-1 after the opening frame and 3-2 after the second period. The Fighting Walleye then a built a 5-2 lead in the third before the visiting North Stars scored at 16:09 and 19:53. But it was all too late for the North Stars as the Fighting Walleye skated off the ice as champs of the SIJHL before a Norwest Arena crowd of almost 900 fans.

It was a comeback series victory for Kam River, which lost the first two games of the set before winning the next three. Thunder Bay then forced Game 7 with a decisive Game 6 victory.

Geoff (Smiley) Walker

Homegrown goalie Eric Vanska backstopped the Game 7 verdict for Kam River with a 34 save performance while Ryan Doucette, Kobe Braham, Riley Borody, Euan Morrison and local lad Max Leduc handled the scoring. Doucette (Blind River Beavers of the NOJHL), Braham (Espanola Paper Kings of the NOJHL) and Borody (Dauphin Kings of the MJHL) all arrived in Kam River this season via trades made by Fighting Walleye general manager Kevin McCallum. Borody, by the way, is from Portage la Prairie and will be heading home for the Centennial Cup tournament as an SIJHL champion.

Notably, the SIJHL championship is the second in a row for Kam River head coach Geoff Walker. Walker was the head coach of the Red Lake Miners last season. Ironically, Red Lake defeated Kam River four games to tto win the 2022-2023 SIJHL title.

What you think about “Kam River is number one”

  1. A fitting end to a great season and the final series with the Thunder Bay North Stars was the best you can get with a very narrow difference in talent and opportunity for both teams.
    A well deserved congratulations to both teams for excellent seasons and a final series to be remembered.
    Sault College Cougars

  2. Why would Thunder Bay have 2 Junior teams is beyond me. It just spreads out all their good players.

    Thunder Bay has produced some real good hockey players over the years.

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