Thin Thunder need fresh legs

Brent Tookenay must feel like the little Dutch boy—and he’s running out of fingers.
The general manager of the Borderland Thunder is working as fast as he can to try and plug all the leaks his roster has sprung so far this season.
But because of injuries, trades (both completed and intended), and the recent end to the teachers’ strike across the river, Tookenay is now on a desperate scavenger hunt to track down quality players to fill the job vacancies on his team.
The list of wounded has been steady in the early going of the team’s second season in the Superior International Junior Hockey League. Currently, that list is down to two players—but determining their return date at this point is purely guesswork.
Forward Aaron Grynol has taken longer than first thought to recover from a rotator cuff injury. He was scheduled to see a specialist today to get an update on his status and the timeframe for his return.
Meanwhile, defenceman Ryan Hampton continues to work through the after effects of a concussion received while playing soccer this past summer.
Tookenay estimated the blueliner could be back by December, but with the complexity and risk factor involved with concussions, the date of Hampton’s re-emergence in the Thunder’s line-up is etched in sand, not concrete.
The trade of defenceman James Raymond for future considerations, and the parting of ways between the Thunder and forward Justin Bodnarchuk, sliced the roster by two more—with no tangible compensation at this point.
To top it off, the return of Drew Fisher, Ryan Kramer, and Tyler Krzoska to their high school team after the end of the teachers’ strike over in the Falls meant more homework—and headaches—for Tookenay.
With only 15 healthy skaters at the moment, the Thunder’s current 10-day hiatus from SIJHL action couldn’t have come at a better time.
Tookenay will be searching high and low to recruit new troops, but it won’t be easy. With most junior-age players either already having started or getting ready to begin a new season, the crop of available fill-ins will be minimal.
I would offer my services, but have held out for one reason—a glaring lack of talent. Being a decade and a bit too old, and the slim chance of surviving longer than 30 seconds on the ice without getting myself broken in half with a stiff bodycheck, probably don’t help my cause, either.
But make no mistake: the pressure to bring in new players here will only increase with every passing day.
Tookenay will do all he can to beef up his roster as quickly as possible. And frankly, the Thunder’s stay atop the SIJHL standings depends on it.
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There were some slight alterations and two omissions from my report last week on the Mid-Canada cross-country championships held Oct. 26 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

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