Congratulations go out to the Cochrane Crunch and the entire community of Cochrane for winning the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Championship last night.


Congratulations go out to the Cochrane Crunch and the entire community of Cochrane for winning the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Championship last night. Cochrane won the game in double overtime 2-1 over the just as impressive Rayside Belfour Canadians. Down 2 games to 0 in the series, Cochrane zoned in and won four straight to win the championship in six games. Other than two games, the rest of the series was very tight, with three games going to overtime and another won by one goal. In its fourth year of building the inaugural Junior A program in Cochrane, Ontario, the Crunch have been to two championship series, winning one and also winning the Eastern Division Crown twice. They have one of the most successful programs and one of the best winning records in the NOJHL during that time.
The community of Cochrane itself has benefitted from an economic impact of about $750,000 per year along with precious exposure and marketing of the community right across North America. At the same time, the Town and region have benefitted from the intangibles that sometimes get missed but still bring high value to the final outcome. There were 742 fans at the Tim Horton Events Center to witness the game. For perspective, in the surrounding larger centers in the North, that would be proportional to about 7,500 fans in their Barns. For a community of 5,000 people, this number is impressive. What’s more impressive is how a large part of this are fans from across the region coming together as northerners. There were Timmins Rock fans who two weeks before were opposing the Crunch, wearing Cochrane sweaters in full support. There were fans from Kapuskasing and Hearst who brought their renowned passion and fighting spirit to stand behind their brothers and sisters here in Cochrane. There were fans from Smooth Rock Falls, Iroquois Falls, Kirkland Lake and from all areas in between, dressed in Cochrane colours and voicing their opinions and unequivocal support of the region’s representative, the Cochrane Crunch – #NORTHERNSTRONG
The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey league, who provide the small towns of our region the opportunity to experience this kind of outcome, usually reserved for larger centers, have set roots in North Eastern Ontario for the long term. With this, the NOJHL provides our region the opportunity to not only benefit from the tangibles mentioned, but the intangibles too. One of the main intangibles for small towns to engage in and initiate such a program is that of building community profile and pride. It’s through your community team that everyone in that community see themselves through, form an identity, and personally embrace that identity. Little contributes to community pride more than competition among friends and peers. So, if pride is one of the reasons we do this, then it was on full display and in its full glory last night. As I looked around and seen all those regional folks embracing their northern family, as family; as I listened to rabid jeering and witnessed the overwhelming electricity that comes from all that, as I saw people crying with elation, I remember beaming with that very pride. I remember feeling the inspiration of seeing our community and our entire region not only caught up in a moment of unbridled unity, but in also making history and writing this page together. In all this, there are still about 23 young men and their entire families from all across North America who also no doubt rode their own emotional roller coasters on this journey with us – #APAGEWELLWRITTEN.
Some in our community sought out to try and bring Junior A Hockey to our Town about six years ago. I wonder if they all realized just how impactful it would be to not only us here locally, but regionally and intercontinentally. On behalf of our Council and entire community thank you to: the Leonard’s for not only bringing their program here, but becoming part of our community family; to the NOJHL for being the catalyst to the opportunities; to the region for your unconditional love and rock solid support; to the players and their families for writing this chapter with us.
But most of all, thank you to the Hockey Gods for coming through on this one! #ONWARDANDUPWARD
Peter Politis, Cochrane Mayor, 705-272-9527;