As we are gearing up for the new hockey season, the Greater Toronto Hockey League and the Thunder Bay Kings have officially announced Thursday that three Thunder Bay teams will join their respective U15, U16, and U18 AAA divisions of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL).
This latest addition to the GTHL was endorsed and approved by the Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO). Also, the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) gave their blessing for this move too. And, Hockey Canada approved the move as well.
Also, the Thunder Bay Kings president was vividly excited about this partnership.
According to president Michael Power, this move represents a monumental step forward for AAA hockey in northwestern Ontario. He stated that the “The GTHL is a premier AAA hockey league in Canada. And one of the most scouted organizations by the OHL, CJHL, NCAA, and U SPORTS.
Also, the GTHL officials expressed their excitement that a team of this calibre joined their league.
According to Chief Operating Officer of the GTHL, Scott Oakman, the participation of the Thunder Bay Kings will create an improved player environment. It will reduce travel and it will reduce other expenses, to the families and to the organization. Additionally, it will allow the players the opportunity to spend significantly more time at home. Therefore, their participation in the upcoming GTHL season is the logical choice.
The move is seen as necessary due to the high uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And because of the current cross-border travel issues associated with Thunder Bay playing in the U.S.-based North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL). Therefore, the Kings will require an annual formal approval from Hockey Canada as per the out of branch competition, as was the case with them playing in the NAPHL.
The Thunder Bay Kings will have all the benefits and obligations as a full-time member of the GTHL as per the agreement between both parties. Also, that means that their AAA sides will be scheduled for 36- games as part of the regular-season schedule, plus playoffs, where they would compete for league championships in their respective divisions.
The Thunder Bay Kings will face the already established GTHL teams including the Toronto Titans; Don Mills Flyers; Markham Majors; Mississauga Rebels; Toronto Jr. Canadiens; Mississauga Reps; North York Rangers; Toronto Jr. Canadiens; Toronto Marlboros; Toronto Young Nationals; Mississauga Senators; Toronto Red Wings and the Vaughan Kings.
So, it will be exciting to see how they will fare in this reputable Canadian hockey league after being a regular fixture in the NAPHL.
Everyone at the 6ix Hockey organization is excited and we are looking forward to seeing the Thunder Bay Kings compete in the GTHL during the upcoming season.