Kalin Roy remembers watching the Sioux Lookout Flyers when he was a child.
A few of their games got rough and eventually his mother forbid him from playing junior hockey in his hometown.
Roy, who will turn 19 on July 7, is now gearing up for his second year with the Sioux Lookout Bombers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League, which joined the circuit for the 2022-2023 season after receiving expansion approval in April of 2021.
Roy said his mom now sees the passion and professionalism her son has for the game of hockey, and was okay with him trying out for the expansion Bombers.
“[Mom] was pretty relaxed and let me play the game in Kenora, Dryden and all [of those other locations in Northwestern Ontario]. Her letting me step up to the next level instead of playing high school hockey was a good choice. She wants the best for me and is letting me do my thing,” Roy added.
Before the Bombers, the Flyers were in the league from the 2008-2009 season until the early stages of the 2012-2013 campaign, where the team dropped out after only three games citing the inability to “continue in a competitive and professional manner for the season.”
The Bombers went 29-20-3-0 in their first season back in the Junior A circuit but ultimately fell in the quarterfinals to the Wisconsin Lumberjacks.
Roy credits a few groups for the solid first year, including the coaching staff.
“[Head Coach] Carson Johnstone and [Assistant Coaches] Luc Beaulne, Kevin Chabbert and Austen Hoey. They wanted the best, they were doing the most for us. They were going to each player seeing what they need to improve upon,” said Roy.
“I have to give credit to the 20-year-old players as well. They played a good leadership role, even if they didn’t have a letter [on their jersey] they helped out the younger guys, including myself. Our captain Lucas Trimarchi, he’s someone that I really up to. I also had help from Ty Baum and Graeme Patrick. That’s why I think our season was successful is because of the leadership and coaching staff that we had.”
Roy finished his rookie year in junior hockey with four goals and six points in 33 regular season games, to go along with an assist in five post-season match-ups against the Lumberjacks.
Roy looks back at the season opener as perhaps a turning point in their season.
“We put our foot down as a group and told the rest of the [Superior International Junior Hockey League] that we weren’t going to roll over easily, and we are going to work hard this year and not be the team that everyone thinks we are going to be,” Roy said.
Roy is a modest individual, so you’ll never see him boast about playing for his hometown team. He is proud of it, as well as the story as to how he became a Bomber.
“My high school hockey coach at the time [Austen Hoey] knew Carson, he was involved in helping with the Bombers,” Roy recalled. “He let Carson know that he had a player in mind because I was captain of the high school team. Carson said he liked my hard work, so I just tried to show him that I could play at a higher level.”
Roy feels 2023-2024 will be much better for the Bombers.
“It was a real eye opener, [seeing] the skill level [of the league, and] what we need to do for trades. [Our coaching staff] will have more contacts and more players will want to come to Sioux Lookout to play junior hockey thanks to the previous twenty year olds that we had from the [Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League] and [Ontario Junior Hockey League].”