|Lakehead Junior Hockey League|
|Head Office||Thunder Bay, Ontario|
|Official Web site||TBJBHL|
|Vice Chairman||Bob Marks|
The Lakehead Junior Hockey League is a Junior "B" league in Ontario, Canada, sanctioned by Hockey Northwestern Ontario and Hockey Canada. The Thunder Bay League has produced one Keystone Cup Western Canada Junior "B" champion and five Brewers Cup Western Canada Junior "C" champions.
History[edit | edit source]
The TBJBHL league has mixed itself in with Juvenile and Midget "AAA" teams in the Thunder Bay region for regular season games. Only the Junior teams are eligible for the playoffs. The league is sometimes referred to as the Thunder Bay Junior B/Juvenile/AAA Hockey League. The playoff champions earn the right to compete for the Keystone Cup, the Western Canadian Junior "B" Crown. This is the only Ontario Junior "B" league with this distinction as the Ontario Hockey Association Junior "B" leagues playoff for the Sutherland Cup and the 22-team Eastern Ontario Junior B Hockey League plays for the D. Arnold Carson Memorial Trophy. The league was renamed during the 2016 offseason from the Thunder Bay Junior B Hockey League to the Lakehead Junior Hockey League.
From 1996 until 2004, the TBJBHL competed against the North of Superior Junior B Hockey League in the Northwestern Ontario Regionals for the right to compete at the Keystone Cup. After the 2003-04 season, the NSHL folded with their last champion, the Wawa Travellers, losing the league's final game in the Regionals to the TBJBHL's Thunder Bay Northern Hawks.
The Fort William Hurricanes, best known for winning the TBJBHL's only Keystone Cup, have announced on their webpage that they are interested in restarting their Junior "B" franchise for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Hurricanes won four league titles in six years between 1995 and 2000.
1994 Hurricanes[edit | edit source]
The Fort William Hurricanes did not manage to win the league championship in its first year, but it won the league's first National medal. The Westfort Maroons won the league championship, and the Hurricanes played host to the Keystone Cup. The Hurricanes finished the round robin with a 3-1-1 record and lost second place to the North Saskatchewan Junior B Hockey League's Kinistino Tigers do to a head-to-head 4-1 loss. The Hurricanes defeated the North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League 8-7 to win the Keystone Cup Bronze medal game.
1999 Huricanes[edit | edit source]
The Fort William Hurricanes were 1999 Thunder Bay Jr. League champions. In the Northern Ontario regionals, the Hurricanes were dropped by the Hearst Elans of the North of Superior Junior B Hockey League. Fortunately for the Herks, they were due to host the 1999 Keystone Cup regardless of qualifying. The Hurricanes finished the Keystone Cup round robin in a 3-way tie for second place and a berth into the gold medal game with the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League's Campbell River Storm and the South Saskatchewan Junior B Hockey League's Assiniboia Southern Rebels. During the robin, the Herks defeated Assiniboia 7-5 and Campbell River 6-4, thus winning the tie breaker. In the final they met the Edmonton Royals of the Capital Junior Hockey League and defeated them 5-3 to win the Keystone Cup. This championship marked the first and so far only Western Canada Jr. B championship since the leagues inception in 1993.
2004 Northern Hawks[edit | edit source]
In the 2004 playoffs, the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks came at out as the dominant champion with a 22-0-2 perfect record and a Thunder Bay Junior B championship to boot. In the Northern Ontario Regional Junior B Hockey Championship, the Northern Hawks defeated the Wawa Travellers 4-games-straight to advance to the Keystone Cup tournament in Schreiber, Ontario. At the Keystone Cup, the Norther Hawks finished with 2 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties, which earned them a spot in the tournament's bronze medal game. The Hawks fell in the Bronze Medal Game 7-5 to the Heritage Junior B Hockey League's Red Deer Vipers.
2009 Wolverines[edit | edit source]
The K&A Wolverines were awarded the right to host the 2009 Keystone Cup. For the first time in over ten years, a Thunder Bay Junior B team finished the Keystone Cup round robin with a perfect record. The Wolverines, 5-0, went into the final against the Pacific International Junior Hockey League's Richmond Sockeyes, but fell 6-5 in double overtime to take the Silver Medal. The finish was the best performance by a Thunder Bay Junior B club since the 1999 Fort William Hurricanes, who won the Keystone Cup. At the end of the season, the Wolverines jumped to Junior A with the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
2011-12 Northern Hawks[edit | edit source]
The Northern Hawks finished first in the league with a 30-2-0 record. They blasted the Schreiber Falcons 3-games-to-none in a lopsided semifinal playoff series and then defeated the Nipigon Elks 4-games-to-1 to win the Thunder Bay championship in a very hard-fought series. The Northern Hawks shipped out to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the 2012 Keystone Cup. Despite leading 3-1 at one point, the Northern Hawks lost their opening game to the Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League 7-4. The Northern Hawks then went on a tear, defeating the Host Saskatoon Royals 6-3, Keystone Junior Hockey League's Arborg Ice Dawgs 7-5, North West Junior Hockey League's Whitecourt Wolverines 7-4, and the Prairie Junior Hockey League's Pilot Butte Storm 3-1 to earn a berth into the gold medal game with a 4-1-0 record. After four victories in-a-row, the Northern Hawks fell to the Pilots in the gold medal game 9-1.
Teams[edit | edit source]
Former teams[edit | edit source]
- Aguasabon River Rats (2004-05)
- First Nation Screaming Eagles (2010-11)
- Fort William Hurricanes (1993-2000)
- K&A Wolverines (2003-09) - Joined Superior International Junior Hockey League; folded after 2009-10 season.
- NNEC Wolfpack (2002-03)
- Northern Hawks Juvenile AAA (2009-11)
- Northern Renegades (2011-13)
- Northwestern Wildcats (1993-97) - Joined North of Superior Junior B Hockey League; folded after 2001-02 season.
- Smooth Rock Falls Thunder (2015-2015) expansion team folded just prior to start of 2015-16 season
- Superior Eagles AAA (2008-09)
- Thunder Bay Kings AAA (2008-11)
- Thunder Bay Wildcats (2015-2015) folded November 4, 2015 after forfeiting several games
- Thunder Bay Wolves (2000-01) - Joined Superior International Junior Hockey League.
- Westfort Maroons (2000-06)
Playoff Champions[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
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