ELLIOT LAKE – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday that the Elliot Lake Bobcats have informed the league that they have made an official commitment to return for the 2013-14 season.
In their inaugural campaign in the NOJHL the Bobcats, under the tutelage of owner, general manager and head coach Ryan Leonard, steadily improved throughout the course of the 2012-13 campaign taking his club all the way to a thrilling seven-game playoff series with the Sudbury Nickel Barons before finally dropping their final contest.
“We’ve agreed to give it another go next season to see if it is viable to maintain a franchise here in Elliot Lake,” said Leonard.
“The whole community of Elliot Lake suffered dramatically after the devastating mall collapse and the repercussions of that horrific event took its toll on the entire town, including our hockey team,” stated the Bobcats owner.
Understandably season tickets sales and sponsorship took a hit and affected the off-ice bottom line numbers for the club.
“In our final season in the GMHL we averaged a good percentage of fans every night and the sponsorship was there,” stated Leonard.
“This season we still had a loyal following of about 300 fans per night, but to make it work we need to get back to where we were before, in the 450-500 fans a night range, to make it go.”
For its part, the NOJHL is extremely pleased to see the Bobcats back for another season in the league.
“Kudos to Ryan Leonard and the Bobcats organization for stepping up and committing to being part of the NOJHL in 2013-14,” stated NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“Despite an extremely difficult time, the entire community of Elliot Lake has shown their true Northern Ontario spirit along with a resiliency and anticipated support that will help keep the Bobcats there for many years to come,” added Mazzuca.
Plenty of off-season interest in Elliot Lake has Leonard optimistic heading into next season with commitments from over 100 season ticket holders already.
“There are lots of interested fans and sponsors coming on board to show their support for Jr. A hockey in Elliot Lake, so we’ve agreed to give it another shot to try make it work.”
For additional season ticket, sponsorship and team information on the Elliot Lake Bobcats, contact the Ryan Leonard at email@example.com or 705-257-0132.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)