FORT FRANCES—Between personal tragedy and paperwork problems, this was not a weekend Dean Bruyere will want to re-live anytime soon.
The manager of the Fort Frances Thunderhawks senior men’s hockey team was called to Thunder Bay on Friday just in time to say goodbye to his eldest sister, who passed away early Saturday morning due to illness.
At the same time, Bruyere was trying to wrap up the process of getting his team members registered with Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO) so they could take part in Fort Frances’ season-opening games against the Thunder Bay Twins on Saturday night at the Ice For Kids Arena and again Sunday afternoon at the Emo-La Vallee Arena.
But the process was not able to be completed, forcing the cancellation of the two games.
The Thunderhawks now hope to have the situation resolved in time for their scheduled game Tuesday night against the Kenora Thistles at the Ice For Kids Arena.
“I owe all the hockey fans in the area a big apology,” said Bruyere. “I should have had the paperwork done before now.
“But things happened that didn’t allow for the games to go on this weekend.”
Bruyere got a call from HNO on Friday morning saying all transfers of players to his roster had to be completed and the team roster officially registered before the Thunderhawks took the ice.
Without being registered, the players could not have competed because they would not have had any health insurance coverage related to their athletic activities.
Bruyere tried to chase down the signatures he needed from the players throughout Friday before receiving the news about his sister.
He still tried to put everything together while in Thunder Bay, but with no one working in the HNO office during the weekend, he was unable to get everything done that was necessary for Fort Frances to play the Twins.
Bruyere said the two games will not be made up due to a lack of available ice time, paring the Thunderhawks’ season schedule from 12 to 10 games.
He added anyone who had tickets for either of the weekend games can use them for any future Thunderhawks’ game, including Tuesday’s tentatively-scheduled contest against Kenora.
If the game goes ahead, a special opening ceremony is planned which will involve surviving members of the 1952 Fort Frances Canadians, which won the Allan Cup that year.
Canadians’ captain Walter (Sambo) Fedoruk will conduct the ceremonial pre-game face-off.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)