Ice Breaks in Kenora: SIJHL Welcomes the Islanders as Newest Junior A Hockey Club

Kenora Islanders Join SIJHL
Kenora Islanders Join SIJHL

Ice Hockey Returns to Kenora after Four Decades

KENORA – SPORTS – The Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) is thrilled to announce the addition of a new team to the league – the Kenora Islanders Junior A Hockey Club. This much-anticipated return marks the first time since 1982 that Kenora will have its own team, following the disbandment of the former Kenora Thistles Junior A hockey club. Notable hockey figures such as Dave Allison, Mike Allison, Ted Nolan, and Charlie Simmer once graced the ice for the Kenora side.

Homegrown Ownership and Leadership to Steer the Islanders

Kenora resident Jack Dawson owns the Islanders, with Tim Gosnell, a longtime minor hockey board member and former President of Lake of the Woods Minor Hockey, stepping in as the club’s first-ever President. The team’s nickname, the Islanders, pays homage to the thousands of islands that define the stunning Lake of the Woods and its 65,000 miles of shoreline.

Creating a New Identity While Honouring Kenora’s Hockey Legacy

While the Thistles’ legacy, as the famous 1907 Stanley Cup champions and Kenora’s last Junior A club, was considered, Dawson and his team decided to build their own unique brand. Yet, they fully intend to support the Thistles and the entire minor hockey community in Kenora.

SIJHL Celebrates Expansion into Kenora

SIJHL Commissioner Darrin Nicholas expresses his excitement as the league prepares to drop the puck in the province’s most-western part. The inclusion of Kenora in the SIJHL has been a long-awaited development and Nicholas praises Dawson and his team for their dedication and hard work in making this a reality.

A Busy Summer Ahead as the Islanders Prepare for Debut Season

With their regular-season debut less than 100 days away, Dawson and his team are gearing up for a busy summer. They are in the process of finalizing coaching contracts, procuring equipment and uniforms, and even preparing their team bus.

Solving Ice-Time Issues and Building Community Support

Despite the well-documented ice-time issues that have hampered previous attempts to reestablish junior hockey in Kenora, Dawson remains confident about finding a solution. He is hopeful that the Islanders will be able to play some of their schedule at the Moncrief Construction Sports Centre in Kenora without disrupting other user groups. Additionally, the support they have received from nearby communities like Vermillion Bay has been overwhelming.

SIJHL Gears Up for Its 22nd Season

As a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), the SIJHL is all set to begin its 22nd season of competition in 2023. The league consists of eight member clubs, with the teams vying annually for the Bill Salonen Cup, awarded each spring to the league’s playoff champion. The winning team then represents the SIJHL at the Centennial Cup National Championship Tournament.

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