The Sudbury Kal Tire Junior Wolves are making the old new again. As of May 20, the local NOJHL team will once again be known as the Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs.
“What we wanted to do was bring some of the past and some of the traditions we've had here in Sudbury,” Scott Ginson, president and director of hockey operations with the team, said.
“1991 was the last time Sudbury competed in the Centennial Cup — now the Royal Bank Cup — and did that as the Sudbury Cubs. We thought it was really important to bring back that tradition, and at the same time, bring some of our identity to the city.”
The Cubs will continue to be affiliated with the OHL's Sudbury Wolves; however, the NOJHL squad will now sport a logo that is unique and “our own.”
“As an organization, we are very proud of where we have come from and recognize the accomplishments of those before us,” Ginson said. “However, with new ownership and management in place, it is our feeling that it is important for us to forge our own identity in the city, as well as pay respect to the past.”
The Junior Wolves organization was purchased by Bill Scott, a businessman from southern Ontario last October. He took over ownership of the team from the Burgess family, who had owned the team since 2005.
Ginson said there were a few other names tossed around, “but we always came back to the Cubs.”
“It's a name I think everyone's going to recognize and remember, so it's not too much of a leap.”
A native of the Nickel City, head coach Bryan Verreault said the Cubs' name conjures up a lot of memories.
“I remember when I played for the Rayside Canadians in the '80s, and we used to play against the Sudbury Cubs. It was always a heated battle. And you know when you're playing the Cubs, you were in a game that night.
“We want to make sure we continue this and make sure they're well-represented in the community,” he added.
Gagnon ready to lead the Cubs
As part of the announcement, coach Verreault introduced the team's new captain to the media.
“We're fortunate to have a player like Joel Gagnon to come back for his last year of junior hockey to play in the NOJHL,” the coach said. “He didn't wear a letter last year, but he didn't need one — he played hard every day.
“We think ... giving Joel the opportunity to be our captain for the 2011-2012 season, with the new logo and the new team name — he'll be the first team captain of that team and be remembered forever,” Verreault added.
Gagnon, who was named the NOJHL's best defenceman for the 2010-11 season, said he is excited to take on the role as captain for the upcoming season.
“Bryan (Verreault) told me at the end of the season he wanted me to lead us to a championship this year,” he said. “I'm really excited to see the new players on our team.”
He said his role will be to bring up the players' morale in the dressing room and on the ice.
As for the team's new look and new name, he said “I think it's a really good start for us.”