|Fort William North Stars|
|City:||Thunder Bay, Ontario|
|League:||Superior International Junior Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||Fort William Gardens|
|Colors:||Black, Gold, and White|
|General Manager:||Gary Cook|
|Head Coach:||Todd Howarth|
|2000-2002:||Thunder Bay Wolves|
|2002-2003:||Fort William Wolves|
|2003-Present:||Fort William North Stars|
History[edit | edit source]
After the fall of the mighty Thunder Bay Flyers in 2001, the Superior International Junior Hockey League was founded. The Thunder Bay Wolves, who had played for a short while in the Thunder Bay Junior B Hockey League, were a founding team, but after one season they changed their name to the Fort William Wolves. Fort William is one of the original names of the city of Thunder Bay. After two rather average seasons, the North Stars came to life. The team has won both the regular season and the playoff titles from 2004 through 2006.
Their first trip (2004) to the Central Canadian Championship, the Dudley Hewitt Cup, saw them finish in third place. In the round robin, the Stars lost to the North Bay Skyhawks of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League 5-4, lost again to the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League's Aurora Tigers 4-0, then came around to beat the NOJHL's Soo Thunderbirds 7-4 to make the semi-final. In the semi, the Stars kept it real close, but were not able to defeat the North Bay Skyhawks for the second time in the tournament, losing 3-2.
Their second Dudley Hewitt Cup (2005) saw them finish second in the round robin, but third overall. In the round robin they beat the OPJHL St. Michael's Buzzers 6-4, lose to the host OPJHL Georgetown Raiders 4-0, and then finally beat the North Bay Skyhawks with an 8-2 blowout. The semi-final put them up against the host Buzzers who put the boots to the Stars in a 6-2 victory.
After winning their third straight of league championship, the Stars competed in their third straight Dudley Hewitt Cup. Going into the playoffs, the Stars finished the regular season with a phenomenal 50-2-0-0 record—the best in the entire Canadian Junior A Hockey League. The Stars took out the K&A Golden Hawks 4 games to none and then swept the Dryden Ice Dogs in the 4 game final as well. The Stars went to the Dudley on a high and kept rolling. They were lucky enough to be hosting the 2006 event. The team beat up the NOJHL's Sudbury Jr. Wolves 6-1, but were then thrown around by the tournament favourite St. Michael's Buzzers 7-1. In the final round robin game, the Stars played their SIJHL rival, Dryden Ice Dogs, and beat them 3-0. By an interesting turn of events, the tourney tie-breaker was head-on-head victories. Fort William and Sudbury both finished with 2-1 records, but because the Stars won their game, the Stars received a bye to the finals. Dryden and St. Michael's also finished tied with a 1-2 record, but because the Ice Dogs shocked the Buzzers with an unlikely 3-2 victory, the powerhouse Buzzers were eliminated. Sudbury defeated Dryden 5-4 in the semi-final. The Stars and Wolves had a tight, but highscoring game. They were tied 6-6 and ended up going into overtime. The Stars scored quickly in extra time to win their first Dudley Hewitt Cup and earn the right to compete in the Royal Bank Cup 2006.
The Stars started up their first Royal Bank Cup with a loss to the host OPJHL Streetsville Derbys 3-2. The second game saw them defeat the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League's Joliette Action 4-3 in overtime. In the third game, the British Columbia Hockey League's Burnaby Express beat them 3-2. The fourth game had to be won to avoid the chance of elimination and to lock up 3rd seed in the semi-final. To do this, the Stars defeated the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Yorkton Terriers in a hard fought 2-1 victory. The semi-final saw the luck fade from the North Stars. Up 2-0 with less than two minutes to go in the semi against the Burnaby Express, the Express scored two quick goals to send the game into overtime. Roughly a minute into the overtime, the Express sniped again, leaving the North Stars to sit on their bench and wonder about what could have been.
Nevertheless, the North Stars are now the only team in SIJHL history to have ever won the Dudley Hewitt Cup or play in the Royal Bank Cup.
For the 2007-08 season, the North Stars have switched to a Black, Silver, and White colour scheme as opposed to their traditional Green, Yellow, Black, and White one.
Season-by-season results[edit | edit source]
|2003-04||48||40||6||1||1||270||119||82||1st SIJHL||Won League|
|2004-05||48||42||2||4||0||322||66||88||1st SIJHL||Won League|
|2005-06||52||50||2||0||0||353||101||100||1st SIJHL||Won League, Won DHC|
|2006-07||50||41||6||3||0||307||132||85||1st SIJHL||Lost Final|
|2007-08||50||35||11||1||3||218||134||74||2nd SIJHL||Lost Final|
|2008-09||50||39||7||-||4||307||129||82||1st SIJHL||Won League|
|2009-10||52||45||5||-||2||270||104||92||1st SIJHL||Won League|
Notable alumni[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
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