By Jon Thompson
The new local SIJHL team will be known as the English River Miners.
The jersey’s logo was adopted from a baseball team in southern Illinois and modified to replace the baseball with a puck and the bat with a stick.
“We struggled with the name for a week or so just because it’s hard to incorporate both towns,” said club president, Jason Vinet, saying the new board had considered Highway 105 and Chukuni River as identities before deciding on English River to represent the area. “The cool thing about it (English River) is that it’s the backbone of the hydro that supplies power to both towns. The English River part will be secondary to the logo itself and if you have a tough miner on there, that’s the representative for this area.”
Season tickets for the fledgling team launched this week at $195 for between 26 to 28 home games. Eighty have already been sold and Vinet expects the team will sell at least 250 season tickets for the 450-seat Ear Falls Arena – where the team has arranged to share the Ear Falls Legion’s liquor license. Plans are underway to develop shuttle buses from Red Lake.
“We’re really intent on running a first-rate operation – no bush league stuff here,” Vinet said. “We want people to say, ‘it was fun to come up here and play. They showed a lot of respect to us, that we were welcomed.’”
Kevin Kahoot is the general manager and head coach for the Miners, responsible for all on-ice operations. Contacts from his days immersed in the mid-western United States game and others in western Canada have volunteered to reach out and recruit. Three or four local players are also expected to try out, including one that Kahoot foresees being among the top four defensemen.
The team will hold a prospect for up to 60 players in Thunder Bay on Aug. 24, from which it will cut the team to 30 for a main camp on Sept. 14, when they hope the ice in Red Lake to be ready. Once the final team is chosen, a 10-day on and off-ice camp will pull the laces as tight as possible in the short time frame before the season begins in the last week of September.
“It’s going to be tight but that’s the nature of the beast up here as far as the ice goes,” said Kevin Kahoot, the general manager and head coach for the miners, responsible for all on-ice operations. “We’re going to look at the first ten games to see what we’ve got as an expansion team. We’re not going to create our identity in training camp.”
The website www.englishriverminers.com is expected to come online by the end of June.
Founding executive of the English River Miners
President: Jason Vinet
Vice president: Sean Nichols
Treasurer: Michel Labonte
Secretary: Joanne Bennett
Head of hockey operations: Kevin Kahoot
Fundraising: Mark Barrow
Marketing: Donna Thiessen
Billing: Dave Lamme
Logistics/website/security/penalty box: Rob Doyle
Directors: Frank Ray and Shawn Parthenay