Junior hockey is coming back to Collingwood.
Earlier this week, the Junior “B” Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) granted the town an application for an expansion franchise. The team is expected to begin play at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena in September and will be part of the league’s Midwest Division.
The town has been without junior hockey since the Collingwood Blackhawks (formerly the Collingwood Blues) folded in 2011. That team was part of the Junior “A” Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Andy Pritchard, who is part of the group that fought to bring junior hockey back to Collingwood, believes a sold-out Barrie Colts pre-season game played in Collingwood last September went a long way to helping the town secure a franchise.
“Really it just went to show and prove to all of us what we already knew, that this is a hockey town and that there’s a passion to come watch hockey at the Eddie Bush,” Pritchard says.
Terry Geddes, former mayor of Collingwood and another member of that group, agrees that the timing was right for an expansion franchise.
“The stars have all aligned,” Geddes says.
Geddes says the new team will focus on including local talent on its roster.
“If you want to draw good crowds and if you want community spirit… it’s imperative we put Collingwood kids on the ice,” he says.
Pritchard agrees, and believes the GOJHL gives local talent the best chance of success. “We think Junior B is the exact fit for the town of Collingwood,” he says.
For more information about the expansion franchise, check out their website here.
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