The Fort Frances Lakers were the last ones left standing in the SIJHL last season and will be the last ones to hit the ice for meaningful action this fall.
It will be the two-time defending Bill Salonen Cup champions heading to Ear Falls to take on the English River Miners on Sept. 22 to kick off their portion of the SIJHL regular-season schedule, which was announced today by the league.
The Miners will host the Minnesota Iron Rangers on Sept. 18 to start the season, while that same night, the Thunder Bay North Stars will be on the road against the Dryden GM Ice Dogs.
Both matchups will be the first of a two-game series between the teams that will conclude in the same locations the following night.
The Lakers’ second of 56 regular-season games will be their home opener on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena against Dryden, whom the Lakers both beat in the Salonen Cup final and then eliminated from the Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament in the Fort.
There will only be one Lakers home game scheduled outside of the IFK Arena, with the Fort taking on Thunder Bay on Feb. 19 at the Couchiching First Nation Arena (“The Duke).
The annual SIJHL Showcase will be held from Jan. 25-27 at a still-undetermined location.
Regular-season action wraps up on March 19, with the Fort slated to host English River that night.
The Lakers will hold their main training camp at the IFK Arena from Aug. 27-29.
They will then play two home-and-home pre-season series against the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons (Sept. 4 at home and Sept. 11 in Steinbach) and the Iron Rangers (dates undetermined at this point).