Denial of ‘AAA’ status surprises Edwards

After having the prospects of carding its players as ‘AAA’ Midgets dashed last week, the Muskie boys’ hockey team is left to ponder what could have been next season.
“I’m a little surprised and disappointed in the result,” said Muskie head coach Glen Edwards upon hearing the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association’s 10-person board of directors voted last Tues-day against giving the team ‘AAA’ status in favour of fostering its new Midget ‘AA’ squad.
“I think the real problem is for those kids who would have had the choice to play ‘AAA’ here or in Kenora [with the Stars]. It’s hurt them,” Edwards said.
“The Muskie program will be fine with or without ‘AAA’ status but the kids have been denied a chance.”
The new Midget ‘AA’ team—the Fort Frances Canadians—will make a return to the ice this fall for the first time since 1998.
FFMHA president Lynn Kellar said the board debated long and hard on the issue.
“It wasn’t an easy thing. There was a great deal of discussion on the merits,” he remarked. “Like what impact would it have [on ‘AA’ Midgets] if we did or didn’t do it.”
“We’re trying to get the ‘AA’ Midgets going and we feel it’s very important,” echoed FFMHA vice-president Wayne Allen.
The board includes Kellar, Allen, Barb Harris (secretary), and Gina Sigurdson (treasurer) as well as directors Dave Egan, Pat Dittaro, Darcy Mosbeck, Bob Miller, Brad Badiuk, and Tony Kadikoff.
The vote was “unanimous,” according to Kellar.
Edwards had asked the FFMHA to forward an application to Hockey Northwestern Ontario on the Muskies’ behalf back in April because the recent Canadian Hockey Association age changes in Midget (15-17) coincides with the elimination of OAC from highschool.
“[The FFMHA] have their perspective. I understand what they’re trying to do,” said Edwards. “[But] I don’t think the decision they made will put ‘AA’ Midget in any better position.”
Kellar also said there’s nothing stopping the Muskies from making this same request next spring.
“We’re not closing the book on this at all. Come next spring, we’ll sit down with them and discuss the possibility,” he noted.