Junior hockey season faces off in Janesville, Soo and Columbus

By JIm den Hollander  



Junior Notebook Sept. 8, 2023 

The 2023-24 hockey season officially kicks off in a few hours with puck drops fpr a trio of MIdwest junior hockey teams and more to follow tomorrow. 

The NAHL will kick off its regular season with the traditional trek of the Alaska-based teams for a few weeks to the MIdwest to open their respective seasons.  

While the annual Showcase event at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN begins Wednesday bringing all 32 NAHL teams together for four games in four days event, there is always action the weekend previous. 

That kicks off tonight (Sept. 8) with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in Wisconsin to face the Janesille Jets at Janesville Ice Arena. The same two teams will square off on Saturday. 

Also on Saturday, the Chippewa Steel will host the Kenai River Brown Bears at Chippewa Area Ice Arena while the Anchorage Wolverines will travel to St. Lukes Sports and Event Center in Proctor, MN to face the Minnesota Wilderness for single game visits.  

After the Showcase event wraps up Sept. 16, the Wolverines will stay for an additional weekend while the Brown Bears and Ice Dogs will not head back home until the end of the month. 

Eagles open with rivalry game  

Another junior tradition sees the lone American outfit in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Soo Eagles heading across the bridge to the Ontario side to face the Soo Thunderbirds at the John Rhodes Community Center

The Eagles and Thunderbirds seem to run into each other in the opening game every season. The Eagles are looking to improve on a 2022-23 season that saw them finish out of the post season. They face a tough test right out of the gate as the Thunderbirds are almost always near the top in their division. 

Mavs begin rivalry with Spartans 

In the Tier 3 USPHL, the Columbus Mavericks will face off against the Nashville Spartans who moved from the Southeast Division to the Great Lakes following their first USPHL season. The game will be played at OhioHealth Chiller Rink 2. 

The Mavericks may have lacked incentive through the second half of last season as the four-team division saw a battle at the top between the nearly perfect Metro Jets and Toledo Cherokee, both finishing well in front of the third place Mavs who were equally as comfortable several miles in front of the fourth place Cincinnati Cyclones. 

Also new in the division will be the Buffalo Stampede who slid over from the Mid-Atlantic Division creating a deeper and likely more competitive Great Lakes Division for this season. 

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.