THUNDER BAY, Ont. — The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced late on Tuesday that the SIJHL board of governors voted to revoke the Duluth Clydesdales member franchise, effective immediately. The SIJHL Board made the decision based on a number of determining factors, including Duluth not being able to ice enough players on a consistent basis for the remainder of the season. The Clydesdales had been scheduled to play the Thunder Bay North Stars Tuesday night at the Fort William Gardens.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that this step has been taken, but we must take into account that with the Clydesdales having postponed or forfeited a number of games already and an uncertainty of whether they would be able to have enough players on a consistent basis moving forward, it is in the best interest of player safety and the league as a whole that this decision has been made,” stated SIJHL President/Commissioner Ron Whitehead.
“Duluth is a great hockey market and the success of our two other Minnesota-based organizations this season bodes well for the league,” added Whitehead. “We certainly look forward to working with the people in Duluth in an effort to reestablish a franchise there in the not too distant future.”
Despite this decision the league is looking forward to the remainder of the regular season and upcoming playoffs. “Certainly we’ve had a couple setbacks this season, but we’ve also had some major positives as well,” offered Whitehead.
The Management of the Clydesdales issued a statement:
“We just received official confirmation of the league’s decision to revoke our franchise. Needless to say we’re disappointed the league made the decision they did, as we had a dedicated group of players and staff ready to finish out the final month and a half. We’re still investigating different paths, first and foremost is an appeal of the decision. Another option we’re seriously considering is playing an independent schedule the rest of the season, possibly involving a mix of nearby junior teams from the MnJHL, NA3HL, NAHL, and NOJHL. At any rate, we do not intend for the Clydesdales to have played their final game. Over the spring and summer, we’ll be seriously considering all options for the Clydesdales to compete within in 2013-14 and the foreseeable future.
“Above all, we want to thank all the fans, sponsors and other supporters we’ve had here in the Northland. Without your help, we wouldn’t have made it as far as we did. We hope you enjoyed watching our boys play and please, continue to follow them as they move on in their hockey careers. They’re the ones we’ve all worked so hard for.”
“The Minnesota Wilderness is currently the No. 2 team overall in the entire CJHL; the Minnesota Iron Rangers have done a great job getting things turned around there while Dryden, Fort Frances and Thunder Bay remain ultra-competitive with each member group having solid ownership, management and coaching staffs in place.”
An announcement on the remaining games in the regular season that were to have involved Duluth will be made once that is finalized.