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Strategic Team Adjustments for 2024-25 Season

Thunder Bay Kings AAA Hockey Program Moves Forward with Strategic Team Adjustments for the Upcoming Season

Thunder Bay, ON, May 30, 2024

In order to respond to changing circumstances, the Thunder Bay Kings are announcing strategic team adjustments for the 2024/25 season. The Kings are actively working to address concerns regarding costs and perceived competitiveness raised by the hockey community and are committed to fostering a positive and supportive environment for its players, families, and hockey community members.


Enhanced Team Structure for U16/U18 Team

The Thunder Bay Kings are excited to begin preparation for the upcoming season as the U18 team will be heading to Kenora for the Telus Cup Western Regionals for an opportunity to play in the Telus Cup National Championships!

In effort to optimize resources and chances for success, the Thunder Bay Kings will combine the U16 and U18 age groups for the 2024-25 season. This strategic decision aims to create a more competitive team to enhance overall player experiences by providing continued player development and growth.  All U16s and U18s are welcome and encouraged to attend the upcoming U18 identification camp in addition to the summer programming offered by the Kings. Registration can be found here:  Commitments to the U18 team will not be required until later this summer.  The U18 team will continue to play in the GTHL.

Hockey Northwestern Ontario will also be applying for special dispensation from Hockey Canada to run a U16 HNO Branch team to participate in the OHL Cup during the 2024/25 season.


Continued GTHL Play for the U15 Team

The Thunder Bay Kings U15 team will continue to play in the GTHL for this upcoming season.  This year, the U15 players can expect increased off-ice training, focused individual skills and team development, along with continued exposure and the highest possible level of play.  In combining the U16 and U18 programs for the 2024/25 season, fundraising efforts by the Kings will help reduce the costs for all teams in the Kings organization.


U13 Team League Change with a Focus on Development

The Thunder Bay Kings has made the decision to withdraw its U13 team from the GTHL for the 2024/25 season. This adjustment is part of the club’s commitment to prioritizing player development and creating a positive hockey experience for all ages and skill levels within the organization. The Kings understand the concerns regarding cost, along with the U14 gap year, expressed by the hockey community and is dedicated to rebuilding trust and confidence through transparent communication and a continued focus on excellence both on and off the ice.


Player Development is a Top Priority

As discussed at the information session, The Thunder Bay Kings value and prioritize player development and continue to improve its programming for all ages.  Player families can expect consistent on-ice and off-ice training and development.  This will include more than 110 hours of on-ice development and team practice and a minimum of 90 hours of off ice development, including dryland, fitness testing, individual goal development and video review.  The Kings will also be hosting at least four information sessions, where topics of interest to the Kings players will be discussed.


Upcoming Tryouts

Skate Start Dates
U13 May 31st, 5:00 pm
U15 May 31st, 7:00 pm
U16/U18 June 1st, 7:30 pm

The tryouts and identification camps will continue as planned this coming weekend. U16s and U18s will attend identification camp, while U13 and U15 teams will be selected following this weekend’s tryouts.  Given the change in team structure, you may not have heard from your coach yet regarding tryout times, we apologize for this inconvenience. You should be hearing from them soon.  Tryout times are also available on our website.

If your player was signed up for team tryouts and you are no longer interested in participating in the Kings’ programs for the 2024/25 season, please reach out to for a refund (and please include the name of the person who made the purchase).  For those of you who feel that the program changes better meet your needs, you can register for tryouts online at until May 30th at midnight, at which time registration closes.  If you miss the registration deadline, please email the coach of the appropriate age group and they may be able to accommodate the late registration.


Further Review of Future League Play

The Thunder Bay Kings value the support and feedback of its players, families, coaches, and hockey community members, and is committed to working collaboratively to ensure many successful and rewarding hockey seasons ahead. Over the next six months, the Thunder Bay Kings will be reaching out via survey to existing and potential player families (born 2015 and older) to better understand the balance of cost, development, competitiveness and exposure.  The results will assist the Kings to determine appropriate age groups for teams as well as league play to provide the best development opportunity possible for players.

The Thunder Bay Kings acknowledge its key partners, including Thunder Bay Minor Hockey Association, the Greater Toronto Hockey League and Hockey Northwestern Ontario and thank them for their continued support. The Kings also thank player families for their understanding and continued commitment for this upcoming season. The Kings remain dedicated to fostering a supportive and welcoming environment for all its athletes, promoting skill development, sportsmanship, and a love for the game of hockey.

For more information and updates regarding the Thunder Bay Kings and its AAA hockey program, please visit or contact Brent Rau, President at




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