Fort lands inaugural SIJHL all-star game next month

Fort Frances will host the inaugural Superior International Junior Hockey League all-star game Feb. 5, it was decided last week.
League officials held a general meeting Jan. 5 in Thunder Bay, where the majority agreed to award Fort Frances the game.
“They have a great crowd for it. There’s a lot of community support in Fort Frances,” said SIJHL president Jerry Blazino.
SIJHL officials then approached the Thunder management last week whether they would organize the all-star game.
“I think it will help our team greatly and our league, and hopefully the players will continue to get exposure,” said Borderland Thunder president Shawn Jourdain.
“We’re hoping a number of scouts will be down here,” he added.
The game will feature a team of 22 SIJHL all-stars, including five from the Borderland Thunder, squaring off against the OCN Blizzard of The Pas, the three-time defending Manitoba Junior Hockey League champions.
(This team was profiled during CBC’s “Hockey Day in Canada” broadcast Jan. 5).
Thunder players cracking the all-star lineup include goalie Rob Hrabec, defenceman Jay Phillips, and forwards Matt Johnson, Ian Lockman, and Kevin Webb.
The first-place Dryden Ice Dogs had six players named to the roster, including goalie Ryan McGillis, defencemen Alex Kavanaugh and Mike Kavanaugh, and forwards Mike English, Briank Rankin, and Konrad Bruetsch.
Like the Thunder, the Feather-men Hawks (Thunder Bay) will be represented by five players—defencemen Jarris Blacksmith and Wesley Trapper, and forwards Charly Washipabano, Brent Greene, and Naaman Cooper.
Rounding out the SIJHL all stars are goalie Ryan Hrisca (Yellow Jackets), defencemen Matt Alexender (Yellow Jackets) and Ian Ross (Wolves), and forwards Tyler Bruno (Bulldogs), Brian Dzijak (Bulldogs), and Alex Barber (Knights).
Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan was selected to coach the team.
His assistants will be Al Trotz (Dryden Ice Dogs) and Todd Howarth (Feathermen Hawks).