Thunder Bay Flyers

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Thunder Bay Flyers
Thunder Bay Flyers.png
City Thunder Bay, Ontario
League Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League/
United States Hockey League
Operated July 10, 1980–2000
Home arena Fort William Gardens
Colours Red, Black, Gold, and White
Head coach Jim Montroy, Mario Minoletti, Paul Mitchell, Dave Siciliano, Rick Adduono, Larry Wintoneak, Dave Bragnalo, Doug Colbon, Gary Wenzel, and Todd Jones
Franchise history
1980–1984 Thunder Bay Kings
1984–2000 Thunder Bay Flyers

The Thunder Bay Flyers were a Junior "A" ice hockey team from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

History[edit]

On July 6, 1980, the Degagne Buccaneers and Thunder Bay North Stars were informed by the TBAHA that they would not be permitted to field teams in the 1980–81 City League. On July 10, 1980, the executive of the Thunder Bay Kings was formed and gave life to the city's premier junior squad for the next twenty years.

From 1980 until 1982, the Kings played in the Thunder Bay Hockey League with the Allan Cup-contending Senior "A" Thunder Bay Twins, the Hardy Cup-contending Intermediate "A" Thunder Bay Blazers, and the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union's Lakehead University Nor'westers. Their first season saw them finish in second and meet the Intermediate Blazers in the league semi-final, which the Kings won 3-games-to-2. In the finals, they were swept by the Senior Twins 4-games-to-none. In the second year, the Flyers finished in third and drew the Blazers again. They defeated the Intermediates 3-games-to-1, to meet Lakehead University in the final. Lakehead upset the Twins 3-games-to-1 in the other semi-final. The Kings won the final in seven games to win the City Championship.

In 1982, the Thunder Bay Hockey League was disbanded. The Blazers folded into the Twins, and the Twins joined Manitoba's Central Senior A Hockey League. The Kings, with the newly formed Thunder Bay Hornets and the Schreiber North Stars Junior "B" hockey teams, formed the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League. The Kings won the league in 1983. In the 1983-84 season, the North Stars were replaced by the Jr. B Thunder Bay Maple Leafs. The Kings celebrated an 18-game perfect season before winning the city championship for the third straight year.

In 1984, the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League folded. The Kings changed their name to the Thunder Bay Flyers and jumped to the United States Hockey League. The Hornets and Maple Leafs merged under the Thunder Bay Hornets banner and jumped to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

After the Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League folded in 1984, hockey players of the Hockey Northwestern Ontario region were left with few choices on where to play. Many players made the jump to the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League or the current version of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League; some even made the jump to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Due to the region where Thunder Bay is, the league is closer to Manitoba and Minnesota than the closest franchises in the other Ontario Junior "A" Leagues.

With no leagues for the abundance of top level players in Northwestern Ontario, to help stop the exporting of players to other regions, the Thunder Bay Flyers of the dead Thunder Bay League were kept alive. With no cost-effective regional leagues to travel to play in, the closest being in Manitoba, the Flyers jumped the border—they played in the top tier of American junior hockey, the United States Hockey League, with great success. From entering the league in 1984–85 to their exit after the 1999-2000 season, the Flyers are credited with four Anderson Cup regular-season titles in five years (1988, 1989, 1991, 1992) and two straight Clark Cup playoff championships in 1988 and 1989. No team under the leadership of Dave Siciliano (who coached in Thunder Bay from 1986-1993) finished lower than fourth or won less than 31 games out of a 48-game season.

Although their regular seasons were in the USHL, they came back to Canada for the playoffs to compete against the OPJHL and the NOJHL for the right to represent Ontario at the Centennial Cup. The Flyers won the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 1989, 1991, 1992, and 1995 to compete for the National title, they also made the 1988 Centennial Cup by default. The Flyers have also won 2 National titles. They won the 1989 Centennial Cup, defeating the Summerside Western Capitals then of the Island Junior Hockey League 4-1 in the final game, and they won the 1992 Cup, destroying the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League 10-1 in the Cup final after smoking the Halifax Mooseheads (Maritime Junior A Hockey League) 8-1 in the semi-final.

The Flyers played their last game in 2000. The end of the Flyers sparked the creation of the Superior International Junior Hockey League in 2001 to continue the tradition of the old Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League—a multiple team, self-dependent, local Junior "A" hockey League. The league has been successful since its founding with its top team being the Fort William North Stars. The departure of the Flyers also sparked the creation of the very successful Lakehead University Thunderwolves men's hockey program, playing in the Ontario Universities Athletics Conference of the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).

Season-by-Season Records[edit]

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA P Results Playoffs
1980-81 24 10 14 0 - 173 187 20 2nd TBHL Lost Final, Lost DHC SF
1981-82 23 9 14 0 - 119 177 18 3rd TBHL Won League, Lost DHC SF
1982-83 24 21 2 1 - 205 78 43 1st TBJHL Won League, Lost DHC Final
1983-84 18 18 0 0 - 138 51 36 1st TBJHL Won League, Lost DHC SF
1984-85 48 20 25 0 3 250 252 43 7th USHL
1985-86 48 15 32 0 1 210 300 31 8th USHL
1986-87 48 35 10 1 2 312 180 73 2nd USHL
1987-88 48 40 7 1 0 340 168 81 1st USHL Won League, Lost DHC Final, 4th at MCC
1988-89 48 40 6 2 0 340 189 82 1st USHL Won League, Won DHC, Won MCC
1989-90 48 31 16 1 0 277 210 63 3rd USHL Lost DHC SF
1990-91 48 36 10 2 0 293 176 77 1st USHL Won DHC, 5th at MCC
1991-92 48 36 11 1 0 265 173 74 1st USHL Won DHC, Won MCC
1992-93 48 31 14 2 1 243 163 65 4th USHL Lost DHC SF
1993-94 48 26 20 1 1 214 203 54 6th USHL Lost DHC Final
1994-95 48 27 18 1 2 216 184 57 5th USHL Won DHC, Lost MCC SF
1995-96 46 13 29 1 3 136 202 30 11th USHL Lost DHC SF
1996-97 54 19 33 0 2 186 251 40 6th USHL-N DNQ
1997-98 56 20 31 0 5 165 227 45 5th USHL-N DNQ
1998-99 56 19 30 0 7 164 247 45 2nd USHL-C Lost Quarter-final
1999-00 58 18 39 0 1 164 254 37 6th USHL-E DNQ
USHL Totals 798 426 331 13 28 3775 3379 0.534

Playoffs[edit]

Thunder Bay Kings defeated Lakehead Nor'Westers 3-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Twins defeated Thunder Bay Kings 4-games-to-none
Belleville Bulls (OPJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Kings 4-games-to-1
Thunder Bay Kings defeated Thunder Bay Blazers 3-games-to-1
Thunder Bay Kings defeated Lakehead Nor'Westers 4-games-to-3 TBHL CHAMPIONS
Guelph Platers (OJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Kings 3-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Kings defeated Thunder Bay Hornets 3-games-to-none TBJHL CHAMPIONS
Thunder Bay Kings defeated Ottawa Jr. Senators (CJHL) 4-games-to-3
North York Rangers (OJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Kings 4-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Kings defeated Thunder Bay Hornets 4-games-to-1 with 1 tie TBJHL CHAMPIONS
Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Kings 4-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Waterloo Black Hawks 3-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Madison Capitols 3-games-to-1
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Rochester Mustangs 3-games-to-1 USHL CHAMPIONS
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL) 4-games-to-none
Pembroke Lumber Kings (CenJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 4-games-to-none
Fourth and eliminated in 1988 Centennial Cup round robin (0-3)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Omaha Lancers 3-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated North Iowa Huskies 3-games-to-1
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated St. Paul Vulcans 3-games-to-2 USHL CHAMPIONS
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL) 4-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL) 4-games-to-none DUDLEY HEWITT CUP CHAMPIONS
First in 1989 Centennial Cup round robin (2-1)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Summerside Western Capitals (IJHL) 4-1 in final CENTENNIAL CUP CHAMPIONS
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated St. Paul Vulcans 3-games-to-none
Rochester Mustangs defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-games-to-2
Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 4-games-to-2
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated North Iowa Huskies 3-games-to-none
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-games-to-none
Omaha Lancers defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-games-to-1
Second in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (2-2)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Montreal Olympiques (QPJHL) 10-0 in semi-final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL) 5-1 in final DUDLEY HEWITT CUP CHAMPIONS
Fifth and eliminated in 1991 Centennial Cup round robin (1-3)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Rochester Mustangs 3-games-to-none
Dubuque Fighting Saints defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-games-to-1
Second in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (2-1)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Joliette Nationals (QPJHL) 5-2 in semi-final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Kanata Valley Lasers (CJHL) in final DUDLEY HEWITT CUP CHAMPIONS
Second in 1992 Centennial Cup round robin (2-2)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Halifax Mooseheads (MJAHL) 8-1 in semi-final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Winkler Flyers (MJHL) 10-1 in final CENTENNIAL CUP CHAMPIONS
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated St. Paul Vulcans
Omaha Lancers defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-games-to-1
First in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (3-1)
Chateauguay Elites (QPJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-1 in semi-final
First in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (3-1)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Caledon Canadians (MetJHL) 4-3 in semi-final
Chateauguay Elites (QPJHL) 9-5 in final
Second in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (2-1)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Caledon Canadians (MetJHL) 7-1 in semi-final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Brampton Capitals (OPJHL) 6-4 in final DUDLEY HEWITT CUP CHAMPIONS
Fourth in 1995 Centennial Cup round robin (2-2)
Calgary Canucks (AJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-3 in semi-final
Third in Dudley Hewitt Cup round robin (2-2)
Newmarket 87's (OPJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 6-3 in semi-final
  • 1997 DNQ
  • 1998 DNQ
  • 1999 Lost Quarter-final
Green Bay Gamblers defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-games-to-none
  • 2000 DNQ

Championships[edit]

  • Thunder Bay City Champions: 1982, 1983, 1984
  • Anderson Cup USHL Regular Season Champions: 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992
  • Canadian National Centennial Cup Championships: 1989, 1992 [1]
  • Clark Cup USHL Champions: 1988, 1989
  • Dudley Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Champions: 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995

Centennial Cups/Royal Bank Cups[edit]

1988[edit]

Round Robin
Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 7-4
Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 9-7
Halifax Lions (MJAHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 6-4 (OT)

1989[edit]

Round Robin
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Vernon Lakers (BCJHL) 8-2
Summerside Capitals (IJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-4
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Moncton Hawks (MJAHL) 6-2
Final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Summerside Capitals (IJHL) 4-1

1991[edit]

Round Robin
Halifax Jr. Canadians (MJAHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-4
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL) 10-4
Vernon Lakers (BCJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 3-2
Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-4

1992[edit]

Round Robin
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated St. James Canadians (MJHL) 7-4
Vernon Lakers (BCJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-4 (2OT)
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Winkler Flyers (MJHL) 9-2
Halifax Mooseheads (MJAHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 9-3
Semi-final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Halifax Mooseheads (MJAHL) 8-1
Final
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Winkler Flyers (MJHL) 10-1

1995[edit]

Round Robin
Winnipeg South Blues (MJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 6-4
Calgary Canucks (AJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 6-0
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Gloucester Rangers (CJAHL) 5-2
Thunder Bay Flyers defeated Joliette National (LHJAAAQ) 5-2
Semi-final
Calgary Canucks (AJHL) defeated Thunder Bay Flyers 5-3

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]


Preceded by
Notre Dame Hounds
Centennial Cup Champions
1989
Succeeded by
Vernon Vipers
Preceded by
Vernon Vipers
Centennial Cup Champions
1992
Succeeded by
Kelowna Spartans