Sudbury junior hockey fans now have another way to get their fix.
The Sudbury Royals are one of eight teams in the new Canadian International Hockey League that begins play in September.
The league is the brainchild of Tim Clayden, owner of the Espanola Rivermen, who played last season in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
The Royals made their biggest move so far by naming Trevor Blanchard as their first head coach.
“Now that the league is off the ground and there are great teams, ownership and coaches, I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Blachard told NorthernLife.ca.
Blanchard played four years in the Ontario Hockey League, including 98 games with his hometown Sudbury Wolves. The 31-year old has coaching experience with the Sudbury Nickel Barons of the NOJHL, the Sudbury Wolves AAA Bantams and the Nickel City Sons AAA Bantams.
“I would like to go after the younger players from the outlying areas like Val Caron, Hanmer, Chelmsford, the Waldens of the world, bring them in and give them an opportunity for some added exposure” Blanchard said. “Going down south to play in centres like Barrie, Milton and Collingwood will give the 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds a chance to showcase their skills in front of NCAA” scouts.
The Sudbury Royals are owned by Dr. Martin Beals and his son KB Beals, who is acting as the team’s director of hockey operations.
They will play a 50-game schedule and will be based out of the Capreol Arena with a majority of their games played on Sunday afternoon. Because of a shortage of ice, the Royals will also play some games at the Confed and Centennial arenas.
The Royals will be holding an open tryout this Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
“Word of mouth and a year under its belt will demonstrate that we’re going to have a good product on the ice while making sure the kids are taken care of in the classroom,” Blanchard said.
Other teams in the CIHL include the Batchewana Attack, Espanola Rivermen, St. Charles Spirit, Central Ontario HTI Stars, Colborne Cramahe Hawks, Milton Battle Arts Cobras and Collingwood Ice.