The Sioux Lookout Flyers are taking the rest of the year off.
Superior International Junior Hockey League president Ron Whitehead on Thursday confirmed the team, which postponed its last three games, cannot find enough players to ice a team and will take the next 11 months to regroup.
The Derek Levanen-coached squad lost its only three games of the season, scoring four times while allowing 23 goals.
Whitehead called it a disappointment.
“My understanding is it’s a combination of recruiting and some sort of a mix-up between the coach and the ownership group,” Whitehead said, reached by phone.
“They found themselves short of players with an inability to get other players in a timely manner. So it looks like they’re going to take a leave of absence for a year and restructure.”
The team, which cancelled it's first game on Sept. 26, a scheduled contest against the Fort William North Stars, confirmed the news on its website.
“The Sioux Lookout Flyers regret to inform the public that the club has suspended hockey operations for the 2012-13 hockey season. Due to a series of unfortunate events our organization has found itself in a position in which it is unable to continue in a competitive and professional manner for the season,” the unsigned note to fans reads.
“The club has worked with all remaining players to help them secure spots on other teams for the hockey season. We believe it was in the best interest of our fans, volunteers and sponsors to take a year leave of absence to restructure and hopefully come back next season stronger than ever.”
The team went on to thank the community, its fans and volunteers for their loyalty over the past four seasons.
“We would also like to thank our volunteers and our players for their hard work and dedication as we look towards a strong successful future within the game. The Sioux Lookout Flyers Hockey Club again apologizes for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”
Whitehead said it’s a hurdle for the now six-team circuit, but the roadblock can be overcome.
“These things are always a problem, but they’re a much bigger problem when the league has already started because now it’s a nightmare trying to change the schedule and get the number of games in for the players that are required.”
Whitehead said the league held a conference call on Wednesday night to discuss the matter, and a tentative schedule has been completed, which team officials will vote on during another conference call scheduled for Thursday night.
This is not the first time the SIJHL has had to deal with a team dropping out in mid-season. The Schreiber Diesels abruptly folded in December 2007, but were later bought by a group of fans who kept the team afloat.
Later that season the Marathon Renegades collapsed for similar reasons as the Flyers demise, a shortage of available players.
Other teams that have come and gone include the Thunder Bay Bearcats and Thunder Bay Bulldogs and the Borderland Thunder. In 2009 the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres quit the SIJHL, only to be bought by the community and renamed the Lakers.
The Fort William North Stars dropped out early last season, only to be resurrected almost immediately and rebranded as the Thunder Bay North Stars.
The Flyers joined the SIJHL in 2008-09.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.