It is expected that the Innisfil Spartans Junior C Hockey Club will start playing next season and will likely play in the same division as the Orillia Terriers.
For the first time since 1985, when the Innisfil Bruins played their last game at the Stroud Arena, Innisfil has a junior hockey team.
On Wednesday at the Innisfil Recreational Complex, new owner George Floros announced the launch of the Innisfil Spartans, a junior “C” hockey team of the OHL Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) who will train and play at the red ice rink of the complex, in the 2022-2023 season.
Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin and members of the local council, Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard, a representative from MP Andrea Khanjin’s office and PJHL Commissioner Terry Whiteside participated in the announcement.
Whiteside oversees all 63 teams in the League, which was created in 2016 by the amalgamation of eight junior leagues – Central, Empire B, Georgian Mid Ontario, Great Lakes, Midwestern, Niagara & District, Souther and Western.
There are now eight divisions, organized into four conferences, all playing for the Clarence Schmalz Cup – or they were, before COVID hit.
The 2020 season was cut short in the Division Finals, due to the pandemic, but the 2021-2022 season is slated to open on October 1, if all goes well – although the Spartans will only play next year.
Junior C is a highly competitive league that is “fifteen percent a development league, 80 percent a destination for players who choose school or career first,” Whiteside noted.
The ages of the players vary from 16 – “They are entitled to a 16-year-old.” – at 21 (a maximum of four players. “Everyone is in between,” he explained, with an average age of 19.
For now, it looks like the Spartans will be playing in the Northern Conference, in the highly competitive Carruthers division against teams like the Alliston Hornets, Schomberg Cougars and Orillia Terriers.
“It’s my expectation, but it’s still pending,” Whiteside said.
For Floros, along with his wife Wendy and sons Jesse and AJ, the launch was the culmination of years of hard work and a dream.
He plans to form the new team, to play in the 2022-2023 season. As he noted in a press release, “C Innisfil Spartans Junior Hockey Club is an organization committed to the development and success of our young hockey players as team members and student athletes. Our goal is for our players to be exceptional role models in the Innisfil community.
During the red carpet ceremony in the center of the ice rink, Floros thanked all of those who have been instrumental in supporting the “great new Innisfil hockey team… and making it a reality”.
He added: “It has been an exciting journey… Today we find ourselves in the arena which will be the home of the Innisfil Spartans.”
Mayor Lynn Dollin spoke of Floros’ determination to bring a junior level hockey team into the community, describing the team owner as “someone who doesn’t take no for an answer, someone who is so passionate about hockey ”.
Although the rink, which can seat up to 1,000 people, is currently closed to spectators, Mayor Dollin said, “I hope we can fill the stands when the team starts playing here… in the post world. -pandemic.
The Junior C Spartans will not only provide Innisfil youth with the opportunity to engage in an active lifestyle, but also to stay in Innisfil while they hone their hockey skills, she noted.
“There is nothing that brings the community together more than hockey,” said Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard. “It brings the community together. This allows players who may not have other options to continue their hockey skills. “
Brassard pointed out that the Innisfil Recreational Complex was designed to support competitive teams who can build a strong fan base.
“The vision of this community really led to this day,” he said, adding that not only is hockey a sport, “it’s also a business… It’s an exciting day here at Innisfil. I can’t wait to let go of the puck in 2022.
The PJHL has approximately 1,450 players playing at the Junior C level. “We’re the biggest junior hockey league in the world,” said Whiteside, welcoming the Spartans to the league. “We see a lot of young men who have a great community spirit and give back to their community. “
Floros, Mayor Dollin, Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson and Councilors Bill Van Berkel, Kevin Eisses and Ken Fowler all donned orange ‘Innisfil Spartans’ t-shirts, but the official team jerseys and colors are still in use. preperation.
Generic red and white jerseys, marked with the number “22: – for 2022 – were unveiled at launch, but do not represent the finished product, nor the logo.” We have a design in progress, and I assure you that we “I’ll have one of the hottest jerseys,” Floros promised. The final color scheme will be red, white and gold.
The Town continues to work with the team and the Innisfil Sports Group, owners of the Spartans, on the availability of ice time.