Jr. Sabres could prove a cut above

They’ve yet to play a game and don’t have a player on the roster, but the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres look like they have a promising future.
Owner Carolyn Kellaway showed what the team was made of on Saturday – to be specific, a name, a logo, and a smattering of staff headlined by its coach, Wayne Strachan.
Strachan is not only the obvious candidate, but also an ideal candidate. With a full roster to be filled – and an assurance from the coach himself that the players will include “a lot of local talent” – someone with Strachan’s connections and stature within regional hockey circles is a real asset to get the new club off the ground.
Not to mention that the man has a pretty good record in the league. Strachan came into a similar situation in 2001 with the Borderland Thunder, heading that club to a 28-11-9 season, good enough to lead the then-nascent SIJHL.
If that was Strachan fresh out of his playing career, the potential is there for him to be even better now.
As for the visual look of the club, there’s a lot to like. The Jr. Sabres sport a sharp logo reminiscent of the recently retired Buffalo Sabres third uniforms, down to the colours. The look – red, white and black – isn’t even that far off from the old Thunder colours of black, purple and white (although Kellaway insists any similarity is purely coincidental). The seal logo adorned by a pair of sabres is detailed without feeling cluttered.
Most impressive is ownership’s devotion to the community. Kellaway’s only ties to Fort Frances is the Jr. Sabres, but she insists on all elements of the business staying local. Kellaway also seems quite aware of just what the ‘community’ is, stressing the importance of the local population outside of the town limits to the team.
Season tickets have gone on sale and the team’s schedule should come soon enough. The Sabres haven’t hit the ice, but there isn’t a history of losing SIJHL hockey in Fort Frances yet. Local fans of junior hockey have plenty to be excited about.

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