Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lakers win bid to host Cup

It finally can be carved in stone.
The Fort Frances Lakers officially revealed Saturday that they’ve been selected as the host team for the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup (the Central Canadian Junior ‘A’ championship), which will run April 28-May 2.

Saturday’s much-anticipated announcement came during the SIJHL’s annual general meeting held on the floor of the Ice For Kids Arena—the site where the four-team field will battle for the right to advance to the RBC Royal Bank Cup in Portage la Prairie, Man.
“We’re pretty excited to have the tournament here and we’re looking forward to it,” said Lakers’ president Milt Strachan.
The Dudley Hewitt Cup will feature the champions of the SIJHL, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL), and the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), as well as the host Lakers.
Should Fort Frances repeat as SIJHL champs this coming season, their opponent in the Bill Salonen Cup final automatically will earn a berth to the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
Fort Frances last hosted the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2003, when the Borderland Thunder served as hosts while winning the SIJHL title that season.
The Thunder made it to the semi-finals of the tournament that year before losing 3-2 to the eventual champion Wellington Dukes.
Strachan delivered the message Saturday due to a change at the top of the SIJHL.
Ron Whitehead, who has been on the SIJHL’s executive since the league’s inception in 2001, and has been president and commissioner since 2005, was voted out of his position during Saturday’s meeting.
Whitehead may have been aware his time in charge of the league was up as he chose not to attend the meeting here.
“I am no longer associated with the SIJHL,” Whitehead said today.
“I’ve been with the league since it started,” he noted. “I put a lot of energy into it.
“I wish them well.”
In other news, the SIJHL’s MVP from last season is jumping to the next level.
Daniel Del Paggio of the Thunder Bay North Stars signed with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL late last week.
The 18-year-old forward from Thunder Bay was second to the Lakers’ Lucas DeBenedet in scoring last year with 105 points, and led the SIJHL in assists with 69.

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