Superior International Junior Hockey League: Wikis

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Superior International Junior Hockey League
OPJHL
Head Office Thunder Bay, Ontario
Official Web site SIJHL
Chairman Ron Whitehead
Referee-in-Chief Gary Nistico
Founded 2001
Regional Champions 1
National Champions 0
2008-09 Champion Fort William North Stars

The Superior International Junior Hockey League is a Junior A ice hockey league under the supervision of the Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada. The winner of the SIJHL playoffs competes for the Dudley Hewitt Cup with the winners of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The winner of the Dudley Hewitt Cup then moves on to compete for the Royal Bank Cup.

Contents

History

Although founded in 2001, the SIJHL is another chapter in a long history of Thunder Bay Junior "A" Hockey. The Fort William War Veterans were the first representatives of the Thunder Bay region, winning the 1922 Memorial Cup as Canadian National Junior "A" Champions. Although there is not abundant information on the subject, the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League may date back to the War Veterans, and may have existed on-and-off until 1984. From 1984 until 2000, the region (Hockey Northwestern Ontario) was represented by a single team at the Junior "A" level—the Thunder Bay Flyers. The Flyers played their regular season games in the United States Hockey League, America's Tier I of Junior Hockey, and returned to Canada for the playoffs. The Flyers won the Dudley Hewitt Cup as Central Canadian Junior Champions in 1989, 1991, 1992, and 1995. The Flyers were also National Champions in 1989 and 1992, winning the Centennial Cup. The Flyers folded after the 1999-2000 USHL Season.

The Northwestern Ontario region has also been well represented in the past in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. From 1968 until 1982, the city of Kenora, Ontario was represented by the Kenora Muskies/Thistles and in the mid-1980s, Thunder Bay had an entry with the Thunder Bay Hornets.

The folding of the Thunder Bay Flyers opened the way for a rebirth of Junior "A" hockey in the Thunder Bay region. The league came back to life under the "Superior International" label in 2001 with 5 teams, including the Thunder Bay Wolves (now the Fort William North Stars), the First Nation Featherman Hawks (now the Thunder Bay Bearcats), the Fort Frances Borderland Thunder, Dryden Ice Dogs, and the Thunder Bay Bulldogs.

In 2006, the Fort William North Stars won the Dudley Hewitt Cup to earn the team and the league its first regional title and its first shot at the national title at the Royal Bank Cup 2006.

The current SIJHL includes the Fort William North Stars, the Thunder Bay Bearcats, the Dryden Ice Dogs, the Sioux Lookout Flyers, the Schreiber Diesels, and the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres. The Sabres replaced the Borderland Thunder, who played in Fort Frances years before. The Bottineau Lumberjacks played a part time schedule with the league before returning to the US Junior College hockey ranks for the playoffs in 2005-06.

There are numerous potential markets in Northern Ontario like Kenora, Red Lake, Ignace, Atikokan, Geraldton, and Wawa yet to be explored by the SIJHL. League chairman Ron Whitehead has also spoken about the potential for expansion into the United States[1], with markets such as nearby Duluth and other towns throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin offering notable potential for growth in the SIJHL.

The presence of the SIJHL in Northwestern Ontario marks the first time since the 1970s that the region has effectively supported a junior hockey league.

On December 17, 2007, it was announced that the Schreiber Diesels folded mid-season, without warning. The organization claimed disappointment in the season's fan support, but also said it was not only reason for the cessation of play.[2] On December 21, the team was bought by a group of local fans in an effort to keep the Diesels alive.[3] But with good came the ugly. The Marathon Renegades at one point were as high as third place in the SIJHL this season, but after 37 games played were forced to resign from the rest of the 2007-08 campaign. Their problems resulted from weeks of playing with just over two lines of players. Injuries and early defections were blamed for this. Al Cresswell, team president, claimed that the shortage of players had become a health risk. The Renegades have not suspended operations, but have pulled out of the season.[4]

Although the 2008-09 season did not see a return to Marathon, the SIJHL did add the Sioux Lookout Flyers. In the 2008 off-season, the Thunder Bay Bulldogs elected to retract to embolden the Thunder Bay Bearcats. Despite a strong year from the Bearcats and the Schreiber Diesels, both teams elected to cease operation in the summer of 2009. The Fort Frances Jr. Sabres claimed that they would be back for 2009-10, but their owners sold the rights to their players to teams across Canada. In a last ditch effort, the town of Fort Frances bought the team and renamed them the Fort Frances Lakers, but were forced to find all new players due to the actions of the previous ownership. The Thunder Bay Wolverines elected to apply for promotion to the SIJHL for 2009-10 fresh off of their silver medal performance at the Keystone Cup Canadian Jr. B Championships. Back up to five teams, the SIJHL also made a 20-game interleague setup with the Minnesota Junior Hockey League's Wisconsin Mustangs to diversify the league's competition.

The Teams

2007-08 Team Locations in Northwestern Ontario
Team Centre 2009-10 Record Points
Fort William North Stars Thunder Bay 45-5-0-2 92
Dryden Ice Dogs Dryden 38-9-0-5 81
Sioux Lookout Flyers Sioux Lookout 20-27-0-5 45
Thunder Bay Wolverines Thunder Bay 19-28-0-5 43
Fort Frances Lakers Fort Frances 14-33-0-5 33
Interleague Teams
Wisconsin Mustangs Spooner, WI 4-15-0-1 9

2009-10 Bill Salonen Cup Playoffs

Line brawl breaks out between Sabres and Ice Dogs (2007)
For the next round of the playoffs, please go to the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
For the National Championship, please go to the 2010 Royal Bank Cup.
  Quarter-final Semi-final Salonen Cup
                           
   
  2  Dryden 1  
    5  Fort Frances 0  
4  Thunder Bay 3
  5  Fort Frances 4  
     
   
     
   
1  Fort William 2
    3  Sioux Lookout 0  
 
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Preliminary Round Robin

Home-and-home format between SIJHL's three top teams. No teams are eliminated, winner gets pick of opponent in semi-final.

Team W-L-OTL GF GA
Dryden 4-0-0 15 10
Fort William 2-0-2 12 9
Sioux Lookout 0-4-0 9 17

Bill Salonen Cup Champions

Year Champion Finalist
2002 Dryden Ice Dogs Fort Frances Borderland Thunder
2003 Fort Frances Borderland Thunder Thunder Bay Bulldogs
2004 Fort William North Stars Dryden Ice Dogs
2005 Fort William North Stars Fort Frances Borderland Thunder
2006 Fort William North Stars Dryden Ice Dogs
2007 Schreiber Diesels Fort William North Stars
2008 Dryden Ice Dogs Fort William North Stars
2009 Fort William North Stars Thunder Bay Bearcats
2010

Dudley Hewitt Cup Central Canada Championships

Year Champion Finalist Host
2006 Fort William North Stars Sudbury Jr. Wolves (NOJHL) Thunder Bay, Ontario

Former Member Teams

Former Teams
Team Centre Joined Left Status
Fort Frances Borderland Thunder Fort Frances, Ontario 2001 2005 Folded
Marathon Renegades Marathon, Ontario 2006 2008 Folded
Schreiber Diesels Schreiber, Ontario 2005 2009 Folded
Thunder Bay Bearcats Thunder Bay, Ontario 2001 2009 Folded
Thunder Bay Bulldogs Thunder Bay, Ontario 2001 2008 Merged w/ Bearcats

Former Interleague Teams

Team Records

  • Best Winning Record:
2005-06 Fort William North Stars - 50-2-0-0
  • Most Goals For in One Season:
2005-06 Fort William North Stars - 353 Goals For
  • Least Goals Against in One Season:
2004-05 Fort William North Stars - 66 Goals Against
  • Worst Winning Record:
2008-09 Sioux Lookout Flyers - 2-46-0-2
  • Least Goals For in One Season:
2004-05 Thunder Bay Bulldogs - 72 Goals For
  • Most Goals Against in One Season:
2006-07 Marathon Renegades - 404 Goals Against

See also

References

  1. ^ Justin Holmes (June 13, 2007). "SIJHL returning to town this fall". Fort Frances Times. http://www.fftimes.com/node/81196. Retrieved November 25, 2007. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]

External links


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