Kam River Fighting Walleye joining SIJHL for 2020/21 season
Team currently in process of hiring a head coach
The Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) is expanding, adding a second Thunder Bay team that will begin play next season.
The Kam River Fighting Walleye was unveiled as the new team at a media event on Thursday. The team is moving up from the Junior B-level Lakehead Junior Hockey League.
"We've been in the Junior B league now for three years, and we've had some success there, and really looking to move on into the next level," said Fighting Walleye President Derek Geddes. "We got the group together, and we're really excited about the passion that we all have together to really make this thing work."
Geddes is joined by Kevin McCallum, Brad Collins and Colin Campbell in the ownership group. McCallum is also the team's general manager.
A head coach has yet to be named; the team said putting someone in that position will be its first order of business.
Player recruitment is also underway, Geddes said.
"We're going to look to the Thunder Bay Kings, their organization, and also the Double A midgets in town," he said. "And obviously, we are going to be going throughout North America. We have scouts in place, and we're going to be looking to put the best team we can on the ice."
The Fighting Walleye will play out of the Thunder Bay Tournament Centre. They'll bring the number of SIJHL to seven.
League commissioner Bryan Graham said he's looking forward to rivalry between the Fighting Walleye and the SIJHL's other Thunder Bay team, the North Stars.
"We're hoping that will spike attendance a little bit on both sides, especially when the two teams play each other," he said. "The league was kind of founded around Thunder Bay after they lost the Thunder Bay Flyers and there was a need for Junior A hockey in this area.
Having two teams in Thunder Bay for the 20th season is icing on the cake."
Geddes said the hope is for Fighting Walleyes season tickets to be available in April.