Around The SIJHL



SIJHL member clubs gearing up for 2012-13 season

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The start of the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s 12th season is just six weeks away with its seven-member clubs busily preparing for the commencement of the campaign.

Here is a look at some of the recent goings on within the SIJHL.

NEW LOOK: The SIJHL has reached a multi-year agreement with both FASTHockey and TST Media to provide both live webstreaming of games during the course of the 2012-13 season as well as new websites for the league and each of its seven teams.

Also being provided will be live in-game scoring of every SIJHL contest throughout the regular season and playoffs.

Both companies have extensive background in hockey providing their services for a plethora of leagues and organizations across North America.

A new league website will be launched in the coming weeks and can be found online at either or

2012-13 SCHEDULE: The SIJHL’s 2012-13 regular season schedule is expected to be released shortly.

Each of the member clubs will play a 56-game slate with 27 apiece being contested at home and away while the other two match-ups will be part of the SIJHL Showcase, which will go Dec. 21-23 in Duluth.

DRYDEN ICE DOGS: The Ice Dogs, an original member of the SIJHL, have added a couple of players to their roster that boast championship resumes.

Among the newcomers joining the club are 20-year-old defenceman Patrick Murphy along with 18-year-old forward Rory Court.

Murphy, who hails from Windsor, Ont., had spent the past four seasons in the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the LaSalle Vipers winning a Sutherland Cup crown in 2010. That same year he also saw action in 13 games with the Ontario Hockey League and Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

Dryden general manager and director of hockey operations Brad Boyko offered these thoughts on the signing.

“Patrick will be a great addition to our blueline and brings with him a winning attitude and plenty of experience.”

In Court, the Noral, Man., product skated for the Winnipeg Thrashers of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League the previous three years, which included a TELUS Cup Canadian National Midget Hockey Championship in 2011.
Among those committed to return from last year’s squad are Jesse Linner, Tyson Holder, Kim Wildhaber, Bryden Izzard, Ryan Wilgosh, and Jared Stratford. Linner’s 60 points were second on the club in 2011-12 and tied him for 10th in the SIJHL.

DULUTH CLYDESDALES: Entering their third season in the league the Clydesdales recently announced the hiring of Duluth native Aaron Haupert as the team’s new head coach.

Among his coaching experiences, Haupert spent five years as the men’s junior varsity head coach and assistant varsity coach from 2000-05 at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota and then another five seasons as an assistant with the women’s varsity squad.

A USA Hockey Level 3 coach, Haupert returned to his hometown serving as an assistant coach the past couple campaigns.

Six players from last season’s squad have moved on to university programs commencing this fall.

Defenseman Andrew Doig has committed to attend St. John’s University in Minnesota where he will join-up with teammates forward Matt Morsette and goaltender Jason Dzurik.

Meanwhile another ex-Clydes trio in Reed Armstrong, Ryan Palm and Chris Palm will attend Northland College in Ashland, Wis.

FORT FRANCES LAKERS: As finalists for the Bill Salonen Cup last season the Lakers have announced a number of signings heading into 2012-13.

Among the newcomers coming on board are defenceman Owen Stauber who helped lead Hermantown High School all the way to the Minnesota State final this past season.

Fort Frances head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan likes what he sees in Stauber’s game.

“Owen took part in our prospect camp and showed he has the ability to make the next step to Junior A,” offered Strachan.

“He is a good skater, moves the puck well and reads the ice to jump into the offensive play. As many of our young prospects Owen will need some seasoning to adjust to the pace and skill of Junior but we feel he will be a solid defenseman for us and play in key situations.”

Four other new players signed by the club are D-man Ethan Brekke from Detroit Lakes, Minn., forward Mason Meyer, who joins the team from across the border in International Falls, Brennan Nesrallah, a forward from Moosonee, Ont., along with big-bodied winger Mathew Chasse from Brossard, Que.

Among the returnees already secured are Tanner Hamilton, Merritt Rysavy and Colton Spicer.

Fort Frances will look upon all these players to help fill the void of the loss of two of the SIJHL’s top five scorers last season.

Gone is Pizza Hut player of the year and league-leading point producer Byron Katapaytuk who is off to play Canadian University hockey with the Nipissing Lakers of the OUA in North Bay, Ont.

Also off the club’s roster is SIJHL rookie of the year Jordan Larson who saw his playing rights dealt to the 2011 Royal Bank Cup champion Pembroke Lumber Kings for a player development fee.

Larson topped all first-year players in offensive production last season and also finished tied for fourth in overall league scoring with 69 points in 56 games.

“We sure hate to see Jordan leave as it would have been nice to have him skating on our top line and building on the success of his rookie campaign,” stated Strachan. “However we understand his needs and wish him the best of luck with his new team and we will be watching his progress as a player in the future.”

The Lakers will open their main training camp on Aug. 30.

MINNESOTA IRON RANGERS: The new-look Minnesota Iron Rangers recently brought on board Chris Walby to serve as the club’s new head coach and general manager.

Walby served as a coach for Middleton High School in Middleton, Wis., for nine years where he helped the school win three Big Eight Conference titles, three Sectional Six Championships and a trio of trips to the WIAA State Tournament.

He coached the Madison Capitols AAA major midget program in Wisconsin this past season.

“I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible organization,” offered Walby. 

“I look forward to working closely with the Paine family and the communities of the Iron Range as we build a franchise that we can all be proud of on and off the ice, stated the Iron Rangers’ new coach and GM.” 

“From Hibbing to Hoyt Lakes, the Iron Range is rich in hockey tradition and I am devoted to putting product on the ice that reflects the members of these towns.  Through hard work, attention to detail and a high hockey I.Q., I am confident that our fans will be pleased during our inaugural season,” added Walby.

MINNESOTA WILDERNESS: A major move has occurred with the two-time defending SIJHL champion Wilderness.

The club has relocated to Cloquet, Minn., after spending the first two seasons in the league based out of Spooner, Wis.

Remaining on board as head coach and general manager of the Wilderness is Rod Aldoff who in his first two campaigns at the helm has led his squad to two regular season crowns as well as a pair of Bill Salonen Cup playoff championships.

Coming on board as the new majority owner of the Wilderness is Scott Thielen. The Burnsville, Minn., native played NCAA hockey at the University of St Thomas before going on to serve, as a pilot, for 13 years in the United States Air Force.

Thielen’s son Zach skated in the SIJHL last season with Sioux Lookout, but was acquired this off-season from the Flyers in a deal involving future considerations.

SIOUX LOOKOUT FLYERS: The on-ice prowess of Sioux Lookout’s top two point producers last season has helped them move on to the next level of their hockey careers.

This fall the Flyers’ duo of Anthony Wolfe and Chris Hoffman, who both starred in the SIJHL during 2011-12, will be off to St. Paul, Minn., to play collegiately in the NCAA at Hamline University and skate for the Pipers.

Wolfe was second in the entire league last season registering 84, including a SIJHL-best 60 assists.