The North Bay Battalion will be sending some of its prospects to develop in Pembroke.
The Battalion announced a new affiliation with the Pembroke Lumber Kings at a press conference in Pembroke on Monday afternoon.
The Lumber Kings have already signed three local Battalion prospects including former Trappers goaltender Reece Proulx and forwards Jesse Kirkby and Jack Stockfish.
The Lumber Kings, who play in the Ottawa area CCHL junior 'A' hockey league, replace the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL, who was the Battalion affiliate team since the Voodoos joined the NOJHL in 2014.
The Battalion and Voodoos were unable to agree on an affiliation agreement this off-season which led to the new arrangement with the Lumber Kings.
“We tried to reach an agreement with Powassan but were unable to do so,” stated Stan Butler, Battalion director of hockey operations and head coach in a release.
“We think we’ve got a suitable arrangement with Pembroke.”
Alex Armstrong, Lumber Kings general manager and coach, believes the agreement offers an opportunity to enhance the Lumber Kings lineup.
“It will provide our team with access to some great junior hockey players who may not be ready to take a regular shift at the major junior level but could benefit from honing their skills in our league,” said Armstrong in a Battallionhockey.com release.
Pembroke, 150 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, is the largest commercial centre between the Canadian capital and North Bay.
The Lumber Kings are among the oldest members of the CCHL, tracing their history to 1958, before the league’s antecedent was formed in 1961. The club was suspended for the 1979-80 season, when it was replaced by the Pembroke Royals, but rejoined the CCHL the following season.
Pembroke, which boasts the most titles in league history, won 13 Art Bogart Cup championships from 1973 to 2011, including a record five in a row from 2007 to 2011. The club has appeared in five Fred Page Cup tournaments for the Eastern Canadian title, including 2006 as hosts, winning in 2007 and 2011 and finishing as finalists in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Some of the top players who moved on from the Voodoos to the Battalion as part of the affiliation were Steve Harland, Daniel Walker, Eric Allair, Andy Baker and Joe Vrbetic.
Scott Wray, served as the Voodoos’ coach for their first three seasons through 2016-17 when they won the NOJHL championship. Wray then joined the Battalion as an assistant coach.
In 2013, the Battalion affiliated with the NOJHL's North Bay Jr. Trappers in that club's final season in North Bay before the NOJHL team moved to Mattawa in the fall of 2014.
The North Bay Battalion open up training camp at Memorial Gardens on August 26.