End to T’hawks season a real disappointment

After defeating the Kenora Thistles in a great 4-1 performance at the Ice For Kids Arena here last month, the Fort Frances Thunderhawks senior men’s hockey team seemed to have things going in a great direction as they tried to return to the Allan Cup after making it to the semi-finals last spring in Kenora.
But instead of preparing for the Gary Cook Cup, the season has ended for the local squad due to a lack of players being unable to commit to play for the squad this past weekend in Kenora.
And to be honest with you, it’s pretty disappointing for a number of reasons.
On one hand, to have only eight players able to make the trek to Kenora for Sunday’s game not only is a staggering low number, but it’s also pretty sad.
I mean, having already beaten the Thistles in the opening leg of the two-game, total-goal series to determine this year’s hosts of the Gary Cook Cup, you’d think that the Thunderhawks would be raring to head north to finish the job.
However, as I’ve written before, senior men’s hockey is always tough to get players, especially when you have family and work commitments that you have to try to work around.
With that said, though, the fact it wasn’t until the last minute that a final decision had to be made leaves those involved with the team with a bit of a sour taste in their mouths.
You can’t help but feel sorry for those players who were able to make the trip, along with coach Gary Noga and team co-managers Kevin Webb and Travis Green, who all joined the squad this past season.
This season was an interesting one for the Thunderhawks in their three games, as they were throttled by the Thistles in Kenora back in December, took the Fort Frances Lakers to a shootout at Christmas, then defeated Kenora here in what proved to be their final game.
In that win, the Thunderhawks’ squad was very impressive, with a mix of young players and veterans meshing well after only being together for a little bit, which seemed to bode well for the upcoming regional championship.
But now, we will never know how good they could have been.
Looking towards the future, it probably is too early to say what exactly this means for the Thunderhawks’ team—something that Green himself stated earlier this week.
While there’s surely enough players in the area who have the talent to compete in a senior men’s event, the fact of the matter is they also need to show they are able to commit to a full run, especially if the team makes it to the Allan Cup.
But that, in and of itself, is a lot easier said than done.
Here’s hoping those involved with the Thunderhawks are able to get things going once again next year despite the unfortunate end to this campaign.
The senior men’s style of play is a very unique one to this area, and it’s quite impressive that a town the size of Fort Frances is able to sport a team, especially when much larger communities in Northern Ontario, such as Thunder Bay and Sudbury, are unable to do so.
If it were to go by the wayside as a result of what happened over the weekend, that would be the biggest disappointment of all.

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