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DAILY DISH: So long Soo? Not So Fastů, RIP MnJHL Junior Hockey News

Published: Wednesday, 29 Apr 2015  
By: Stephen Heisler,

DAILY DISH: So long Soo? Not So Fast...

The North American Hockey League's Soo Eagles may be forced to move their membership closer to the footprint of the league.  A number of eastern states have been rumored to be the landing zone for Bruno Bragagnolo's team.

I know that we kind of made a rule around here to not utilize unnamed sources, I'm afraid that rule has to be broken today.  I'm fairly certain that doing so is not going to result in a lawsuit, so with that said, here it goes.

A source, at the highest level of the organization, has confirmed that Soo Eagles hockey will continue at Puller Stadium, for next year and beyond, with or without the North American Hockey League.  The most obvious scenario has the Eagles returning to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

I find this news to be quite ironic considering the fact that an entire truckload of I told you so's could be delivered to Eagles' owner Ron Lavin.  Let's not go there.

Can the Eagles return to the NOJHL be facilitated in time for next season?  A few things will have to happen in order to make that work, including approvals from both USA Hockey and Hockey Canada; I see those approvals being little more than a formality.

The Eagles return has to be good news for the Soo Thunderbirds.  Renewing that rivalry is simply great for the community and the league. 

One question remains, will the Eagles be restricted to players within a certain branch like the proposed restrictions being placed on the Wenatchee Wild's potential move to the British Columbia Hockey League?  I doubt it, but it certainly shouldn't be out of the question.

What does this say about NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld's failure to secure qualified ownership in hockey rich states like Michigan? Sault Ste. Marie joins Marquette, Alpena, Traverse City, Flint, Port Huron, Detroit, and Kalamazoo as failed markets.  That has to be a blow to the justification of inflated league membership values.

The NAHL will potentially lose two markets to the Canadian Junior Hockey League for next season.  Will there be more?  I'm afraid so.

There are a number of teams, in the league's Midwest division, that would rather play in the CJHL's Superior International Junior Hockey League than continue traveling to Alaska.  Could we see the Wilderness return to the SIJHL?  Let's ask that question again after this weekend.

Speaking of Minnesota...



The membership of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League met last night to go over a number of topics including the disbanding of the league.  All but two of the teams have committed to moving from the MnJHL to the USPHL.  Only the Rochester Ice Hawks and dormant Minnesota Northern Lights were left off the USPHL dance card.

The league elected to not renew registration with USA Hockey for next season. Commissioner Mike Staloch's name inevitably becomes synonymous with the destruction of the MnJHL. The sad part of this is that a lot of folks saw it coming... especially the ones in Wisconsin.

I think it's now fair to say that Dells Ducks (and Wisconsin River Kings?) owner John Schwarz may have lost a few battles but eventually won the war.

The folks here at are just happy that our teams' have captured the last two Bush Cups. Just sayin'...



Sioux Falls Stampede vs Tri-City Storm, United States Hockey League Western Conference Final, (8:05 PM Eastern) -The Storm lead the series 1-0 after Friday night's 4-2 win. The Stampede can't afford to lose again tonight and will be feeling the pressure.



It's time for the site to take things to an entirely new level. We are looking for regional writers to cover the Canadian Junior Hockey League, United States Hockey League, major junior and women's level of play. Interested? Give me a call at 281-973-2050.


Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Now semi-retired, he spends his time in Florida with his children Sonia and Tomas.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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