Friday, June 22, 2007

Soo Indians take one-year leave from NOJHL

The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League will operate with six teams come the 2007-08 season.

And while that’s one team less than what made up the NOJHL in ‘06-07, teams will play more games in ‘07-08 and the league will play host to a Showcase Tournament in January.

For the record, the ‘06-07 champion Soo Indians have been granted a one-year leave of absence and the league will work towards helping current owner Charles Perdicaro find a buyer, hopefully in the Michigan Soo.

In fact, Soo Thunderbirds’ managing partner Al Jones told that the league plans to pursue Dr. Kevin Cooper of the Michigan Soo to take over the Indians. Cooper had previously indicated an interest in buying the Indians from Perdicaro, but according to sources, was not comfortable in trying to make a last-minute deal that might have left him unprepared for the ‘07-08 season.

Perdicaro subsequently tried to sell the Indians to the Ville-Marie group that had been seeking an expansion franchise for ‘07-08 but that proposal and the expansion proposal were both turned down by the NOJHL governors at Thursday’s meeting in Sudbury.

“We’re comfortable operating with six teams for ‘07-08,” Jones added. “The six franchises are all stable and the last thing we need is a franchise that the rest of us would be worried about.
“Ville-Marie has indicated to us that they will take the next year to get their finances in order and I suspect we’ll see the same from a new group in Soo, Michigan. We fully expect to be an eight-team league come the ‘08-09 season.”

Now a six-team league, teams will play a 50-game regular season in ‘07-08, up from the 48 games of previous campaigns. Teams will play one another 10 times apiece and all teams will qualify for the playoffs.

Jones, meanwhile, confirmed a Showcase Tournament for the Soo for early January, of which details will be announced later. And the NOJHL is taking applications for the position of commissioner. Hector Seguin is currently serving as acting commissioner.

by Randy Russon, Osprey Media

No comments: