By Neil Ravin, EHL Director of Communications
BOSTON, Mass. — The Eastern Hockey League (EHL) is pleased to announce that the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) will serve as the “Guest Team” at this week’s showcase in Newington, Conn.
The Gold Miners are currently in 1st place in the East Division of the NOJHL, with a record of 22-10-1 in their first 33 games.
“The offer to attend was a no brainer for us, as long as we could work it out logistically between the NOJHL, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada,” said Gold Miners head coach and general manager Ryan Wood.
“It took some time for approvals, but once it was done, we knew this could be great for our program going forward. It is also nice for both leagues to get a chance to play against teams outside of their own respective league.”
Thursday and Friday will mark the first match-ups in league history between an EHL team and a NOJHL team.
On Thursday, the Gold Miners will face-off with the East Coast Wizards at 3:30 p.m.
Kirkland Lake will then battle another South Division (NEW) team on Friday, as they hit the ice at 2:30 p.m. for a match-up with the Walpole Express.
Last, but not least, the Gold Miners will head north on Saturday for a matchup with the New Hampshire Avalanche at 6 p.m.
All three games will be exhibition match-ups, and played under the EHL rules.
“Overall, the location of the EHL Showcase was the biggest draw for us to attend as this will allow our players to get additional exposure and physically attend some schools in the area,” added Wood. “Many players in Northern Ontario do not physically get a chance to touch it and feel it when making a college decision, and having that experience to chat with coaches and see their programs will be a tremendous opportunity for our players.”
While the Gold Miners are very appreciative for the opportunity, the EHL is also excited about the door this may open.
“This could be the start of something special between the EHL and the NOJHL,” said Mark Kumpel, the EHL’s Director of Hockey Operations.
“In talking with both of our head coaches [Freddy Meyer and Jon Lounsbury], they know their teams are in for a challenge at the showcase. I am really looking forward to seeing how our teams and leagues match up.”
All EHL Showcase games will be streamed online at HockeyTV.com.