Sioux Lookout stung by loss of Flyers
The Sioux Lookout Flyers will be missed by the community.
Winter’s are long in Sioux Lookout, and local fans will miss their evenings out to cheer on their favourite team in the SIJHL, says Florence Bailey, the town’s economic development officer and vice-president of the local chamber of commerce.
On Thursday the Sioux Lookout Flyers suspended operations for the remainder of the 2012-13 season with an intent to return next fall. The SIJHL stated in a news release that due to the team’s “lack of available players . . . the organization felt it could not continue on this season at a competitive level.”
Bailey said Friday that the players “will very much be missed by local businesses and residents.
“Not only were they a local team, they were part of the community . . . volunteering for events, community clean up, mentors and role models for local youth,” she said, adding that “many of them held part time jobs, assisting with our local labour market in our growing economy.”
Bailey noted that the team contributed to the local economy in many ways; through the draw of other SIJHL teams and fans during Home Games as well as through the purchase of local goods and services.
The former head coach and general manager of the Sioux Lookout Flyers told The Chronicle-Journal that the team was close to staying afloat in the league before ultimately sinking on Thursday.
Derek Levanen, who had resigned as the Flyers head coach and general manager earlier this week, said only 16 skaters were available when the team postponed three games last month, but that was on the way to being fixed despite the lack of finding enough billet families to house the out-of-town players.
The former Flyers have found other SIJHL teams since the closure, Levanen said. Three of the U.S. imports — goaltender Arthur Haase and forwards Nick Haase and Zac Olin have signed with the Thunder Bay North Stars.
The Flyers were winless in their only three games of the season, including the last outing — an 8-2 penalty-filled drubbing at the hands of the North Stars on Sept. 25 that yielded 39 total powerplays. Initially, the team said suspensions and injuries were the main reasons for postponing three games after the tilt with the North Stars.
Sioux Lookout had been outscored 4-23 in the three losses. The Flyers joined the SIJHL prior to the 2009-10 season.
In three regular seasons entering this campaign, the team sported a record of 34-111-13.
(This story originally appeared in the newsprint edition of The Chronicle-Journal on Saturday, Oct. 6.)