SIJHL still waiting it out

The Thunder Bay North Stars faced the Thief River Falls Norskies during

the SIJHL Showcase last season in February in Spooner, Wis.

The Superior International Junior Hockey League is all dressed up with

nowhere to go. The tentative start date of Nov. 15 is still in play.

Having said that, there’s no schedule and the border’s still closed.

“Everything is up in the air,” opened SIJHL Commissioner Darrin

Nicholas in a phone interview. “We still think the case load is

relatively low, but that’s not up to us to determine.

“We’ve said all along we’re not looking for any special exemptions or

clearances from the health authorities. We’re going to let them govern

as they see best. We’ll just constantly monitor it and see if it

presents an environment that we can start a season.”

Thunder Bay’s two local franchises — the established Thunder Bay North

Stars and the expansion Kam River Fighting Walleye — have 50 horses

chomping at the bit to get going.

The Stars hit the ice on Tuesday at noon at Port Arthur Arena for the

first time. No ice at Fort William Gardens yet, and none in the

foreseeable future.

The Walleye have been practicing for a couple of weeks now. They

transition to their home rink in Stanley for their next one.

“The city has so many restrictions it’s even hard to do anything right

now,” said head coach Rob DeGagne of the North Stars, who cited a city

maximum of 25 on-ice participants per rental. “And there’s a maximum of

25 spectators per rental. So, we can’t see anything happening with only

25 spectators.”

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