T’hawks might earn automatic Allan Cup berth


The Fort Frances Thunderhawks are preparing to take flight for the 2010-11 season with promise.
The local senior ‘A’ men’s hockey squad has announced a bevy of games for the upcoming year, with a few more still to be determined.
This season is set to start off with promise as the Thunderhawks will find out this weekend if they automatically will qualify for the Allan Cup—Canada’s amateur senior men’s championship.
Host Kenora already is guaranteed a spot in the tournament, and the Quebec region is not slated to be sending a team for the third-straight year.
In past years, Hockey Canada has responded to that conundrum by opening up a second slot for the host branch.
And since Thunder Bay did not register a team this year, Fort Frances would gain that coveted berth by virtue of being the only other team in the Northwestern Ontario region.
However, nothing is set in stone quite yet as Hockey Canada’s senior directors will meet this weekend (Oct. 14-17) in Ottawa to finalize the Allan Cup schedule.
At any rate, the Thunderhawks are scheduled to play a series of games to help get into tournament shape.
The season is slated to kick off with games on Dec. 18-19 against the Kenora Thistles at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The first game will begin at 6:45 p.m. while the Sunday matinee goes at 12:30 p.m.
The season-opener will be a special one as the team will honour defenceman Clayton “Beef” Windigo, who passed away in a swimming accident this past summer.
The team also has agreed to a game against the Fort Frances Lakers on Dec. 28, and also are tentatively scheduled to take its first road trip to visit North Dakota State University-Bottineau on Jan. 15-16.
Thunderhawks’ GM Dean Bruyere added Bottineau is locked in for a return engagement here Jan. 22- 23 at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
The first game, on the Saturday night, is slated for 8 p.m., with the Sunday rematch scheduled for 1 p.m.
The T’hawks then have no games scheduled until a month later, returning to Kenora for games against the Thistles on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 4 p.m.
They’ll be right back in Kenora the following weekend for games March 5 at 7 p.m. and March 6 at 2 p.m.
To keep everything even, the Thistles will return for one other weekend, possibly in February for a pair at Bronco Arena in International Falls, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
While the Thunderhawks are not holding open tryouts, those interested in trying to crack the roster should send a hockey résumé and contact information to Bruyere at deanbruyere@shaw.ca
The team also is currently looking for sponsorship from local businesses to help offset operational costs.
For more information on how to become a sponsor, contact Bruyere at 275-7462.