Espanola will once again take to the ice, this time as the eighth team in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
The NOJHL’s eighth team had been unanimously approved at league meetings held in Elliot Lake over the weekend.
Heading up the group that brings Espanola back to the NOJHL following a 10-year absence is Tim Clayden, who will serve as the club’s director of hockey operations.
Guiding the team’s fortunes behind the bench will be head coach Tom McCarthy while Randy Blake will work in the role of general manager.
The trio are no strangers to the NOJHL having most recently led the North Bay Trappers to the league’s regular season and playoff titles in 2012-13.
Espanola too has NOJHL roots dating back five decades as the Espanola Eagles were inaugural members of the league during the league’s first season in 1962-63 where they would go on to capture the first-ever playoff championship.
Espanola mayor Mike Lehoux said he is extremely pleased to have Jr. A hockey and the NOJHL back in the community.
“The addition of an NOJHL franchise hockey team in Espanola is a significant win for both the community and hockey fans alike,” offered Lehoux.
“Jr. A hockey is good business; a boost to both our economic and community development.”
For Clayden, he looks forward to the return of Espanola to the NOJHL.
“It is an honour that our fellow NOJHL governors have put faith in our organization to resurrect junior hockey in the Town of Espanola,” said Clayden.
“The community, Mayor Lehoux and his fellow council members and staff have been second to none in making our organization feel welcome.”
Echoing the sentiments of Lehoux and Clayden is NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“We at the NOJHL are extremely pleased to welcome Espanola back into the fold,” said Mazzuca.
“Strengthening our league with an eighth franchise, especially one with such historic roots, only further enhances the NOJHL moving forward,” added Mazzuca.
“We look forward to working with the franchise in what is sure to be a memorable 2013-14 campaign.”
As part of the buildup to the season, the franchise is letting the fans' voice be heard by holding a name the team contest along an opportunity to design the club’s logo.
More information on the name the team and logo design contest along with other organizational news, visit the club’s website at www.espanolajuniorhockey.com