The Fort Frances Lakers held their annual general meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020, with a change in leadership. After 10 years as President of the Lakers Association, Milt Strachan announced his departure from the club. “After many years in this game, it’s time for me to step aside. I’ve enjoyed working with our Board and you couldn’t ask for a harder working group of people” lauded Strachan, “but I’m looking forward to enjoying hockey again as a spectator.” Strachan continued “I’m very proud of everything our team has accomplished over the years and wish the Lakers success.”
The Fort Frances Lakers has also seen a change in coaching. Long-time Head Coach of the Lakers, Wayne Strachan, has also moved on. “Wayne has coached our team for the last 10 years and we understand this move he has made,” stated Vice President Wayne Allen. “He’s accomplished a number of honours in his years of coaching the Lakers which include five-time Coach of the Year within the SIJHL as well as leading the Lakers to a “three-peat” league championship from 2014 to 2016.”
“We thank both Milt and Wayne Strachan for their dedication, management and years of service to the Fort Frances Lakers. Their leadership has laid a great foundation for years to come and we are dedicated to continuing the success of the organization,” commended Lakers Director, Melanie McPherson, “they’re pillars of hockey in our community and we were fortunate to have them both working hard for the Lakers for so long; their absence will be noticed for sure.”
The Lakers new President, Gary Silander was elected to two-year term on the Lakers Board of Directors already demonstrating leadership amongst his peers. “I had no idea exactly what I was getting in to but I’m working with a good group of people that will help take the pressure off. We have a lot of work to do but are all looking forward to the 2020-21 Lakers season.”
In other Lakers news, the club has been working diligently with the SIJHL to run an unconventional 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season is set to start on November 14, 2020, with the Lakers looking at an early to mid-October main camp. “We are still waiting to hear about ice time in Fort Frances,” stated McPherson. “We’ve been talking with management at “the Duke” who has been fantastic in doing their best to accommodate us as well as other clubs in the district.”
At this time, the Lakers will be kicking off their annual sponsorship drive as well as searching for billet homes for the season. “We understand that people may not be comfortable welcoming players into their homes during this time but we are committed to work with our billet families for a safe and healthy welcome and stay for our players and everyone involved,” McPherson assured. “As for season sponsorships for the team, although its been an uncertain and nervous year for many area businesses and organizations, we hope to garner support from our dedicated sponsors,” stated McPherson. “Operating expenses are increasing and because we are a community owned and operated team, we rely on the generosity of sponsors and contributors to keep Junior A hockey in our district; they are the driving force.” The Lakers have varying levels of sponsorship opportunities and will work with sponsors to achieve what best suits their needs.
The 2020-21 Fort Frances Lakers Board of Directors:
President, Gary Silander Vice President, Wayne Allen Treasurer, Angie Korzinski Secretary, Amy Gushulak Director, Gord Hyatt Director, Donna Handburg Director, Ria McPherson Director, Mary Polz Director, Melanie McPherson Director, John Kotnik Director, Ron MacKinnon Director, Sarah Kivimaki Director, Nina Sokoliuk