Lac La Biche Accepted as 11th Franchise of the NEAJBHL

It’s been an interesting summer so far for hockey in Lac La Biche. With the Portage Voyaguers move to Cold Lake, Lac La Biche will still have competitive hockey at the junior level. The North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League voted last night to accept Lac La Biche as the 11th franchise. They will begin play this upcoming season (2017-2018).

League territory expands

Mark Hines, the newly elected President of the NEAJBHL, is looking forward to the confidence the Lac La Biche organization brings. One thing to note is the proximity Lac La Biche has to three clubs in the north side of the league. Cold Lake, Saddle Lake, and St. Paul are all within an hour and a half drive of Lac La Biche.

“They sound confident. Talking to the other teams, Cold Lake might lose one player. St. Paul might lose one player. They say they aren’t going to affect Saddle Lake to draw guys. They say they are going northwest to Boyle and Athabasca. They aren’t really going to be taking away from other teams.” Mark Hines says.

Lac La Biche excited to have Jr. B back

“I think we have a core of six or seven kids already. We have a couple Boyle kids who are ready to come here. We are just waiting on Athabasca to see what’s there. I’ve got a couple calls for coaches already. They’re all interested to coach.” Willy Abougouche, one of the representatives at the meeting for Lac La Biche, says.

The Lac La Biche team is pending on a couple things still. A rink deal still has to be finalized, but as of right now it looks like the franchise will play home games at the Bold Center. Support was good for the Lac La Biche franchise at the NEAJBHL scheduling meeting last night.

“We expected to get approved. We weren’t sure about the long distance guys like Wainwright and Killam. We thought they would buck a bit more than they did, but it worked out good. They’re all here to work with us.” Abougouche adds.

The Clippers return

Lac La Biche’s franchise will be called the Lac La Biche Junior B Clippers. They were last in the NEAJBHL from 1995-2000. The NEAJBHL has made a few returns to lac La Biche since then. The St. Paul Canadiens have played a couple home games in Lac La Biche in recent years.