Thunder welcome Bodnarchuk’s return

Justin Bodnarchuk’s moving plans have been put on the backburner.
The continuing saga involving the Borderland Thunder forward and the Superior International Junior Hockey League team took another twist last night when head coach Dave Allison announced Bodnarchuk would be back in action for the Thunder this weekend against the Nipigon Feathermen Hawks.
“He’s not coming back, he’s just returning to the line-up,” said Allison. “It’s like he’s been injured.
“He called to see what the status was with his rights. We asked him where he would like to play for the rest of the year, and he said here,” Allison added.
“We look forward to having him in the line-up Saturday night.”
Bodnarchuk, who was third in team scoring for the Thunder last season, had one goal and two assists in two games this year when he was traded Sept. 22 to the Hawks, along with veteran defenceman Terry Parisien and forward Mike Fair, for all-star forward Brent Greene.
But Bodnarchuk and Greene both voiced opposition to the trade, with Bodnarchuk saying two weeks ago there was “no way” he would report to the Hawks.
Bodnarchuk also had said at the time he intended to move to the London area, where his parents currently live, and possibly join a junior ‘A’ or ‘B’ team there.
When contacted last night, Bodnarchuk declined to comment other than to say he was “stunned” by the offer to return to action with the Thunder.
“I’ll find out more [today],” said Bodnarchuk, who has missed the Thunder’s last four games.
Allison, who said the Thunder had gotten a call recently from the Dryden Ice Dogs about acquiring Bodnarchuk’s services, didn’t anticipate any difficulties in the players dealing with him suiting up again with the team.
“We expect Justin to come back a better player, and the team to be better for it,” Allison said. “We’re shorthanded right now and he’s going to play.”
The original deal was complicated by the fact the Hawks had signed an agreement with the SIJHL when they originally were established in Thunder Bay last year, stating they reserved the right to maintain an all-aboriginal roster.
Meetings between the SIJHL and the Hawks to discuss the issue were postponed over the last two weeks.
This morning, SIJHL president Jerry Blazino said negotiations were underway with a prospective new owner for the financially-troubled Hawks, whom he declined to name at this time.
“This individual has already arranged to pay for the Thunder’s room and board costs this weekend in Nipigon to compensate the Thunder for paying those costs for the Hawks’ trip to Fort Frances at the start of the regular season,” said Blazino.
Nipigon’s organizational turmoil led to general manager Vern Ray, head coach Terry Menard, and assistant coach Paul Gossman resigning from the team earlier this week.