By Lindsay Briscoe
The Superior International Hockey League (SIJHL) has announced it will expand to include a new Ear Falls team, the Eagles, for the 2013-14 season.
“An instant rival for one of our original franchises, the Dryden Ice Dogs, the Ear Falls/Red Lake area of Northwestern Ontario is a good fit geographically and we look forward to working with the Eagles organization heading into the 2013-14 season and beyond,” said SIJHL president and commissioner Ron Whitehead in a May 9 statement.
The Eagles will make the Ear Falls Arena their main home venue with Kevin Kahoot, who is incidentally also the mayor of Ear Falls, acting as coach and general manager.
Kahoot says he expects between three and five local players on the team. The other players would come from other parts of Canada, the United States and possibly Europe. According to league rules, the team could accept a maximum of seven players from outside of Canada.
Kahoot has been in touch with one local who has experience recruiting players in Western Canada, and two other potential recruiters in the United States and Thunder Bay area but the group working to form the team knows recruitment – along with finding billet families for players to stay with and fundraising – will be one of the main challenges in the coming months.
“One of the other hurdles we may have…I don’t really see it coming but traditionally there’s been the Red Lake-Ear Falls thing. Ear Falls people have always travelled to Red Lake, whether it be swimming lessons, dance classes, hockey…Red Lake is not accustomed to travelling to Ear Falls for anything like that. So there is a little bit of a challenge there too,” added Kahoot.
Kahoot and a number of other locals will host a public meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Red Lake Legion where they will form the team’s executive and decide how to move forward with fundraising efforts.