Congratulations to the Coach Stan Butler and the North Bay Battalion for an entertaining 2018-19 season.  Although the Battalion were eliminated on Friday night by the Niagara Ice Dogs, there were many highlights to the season, especially the play of Justin Brazeau and the season he has had.  The team provided some great entertainment over this past long winter and to all those players who will be moving on this year, thank you for being part of the community and doing what you do both on and off the ice.  There     appears to be a good nucleus of young and talented players that will return next season and the Chamber hopes that the community will return for the next season and support our OHL team through next winter.  With the winter we just experienced, it was a great way of getting out and making it through.

Staying on hockey, another local team the Powassan Voodoo’s have eliminated the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in the first round and will face Hearst Lumberjacks, in the East Division final.  The route to the Dudley Hewitt will be a tough one but the Voodoo’s have some strong talent and have had great support from its fans, at the Powassan Sportsplex.  Although our OHL club has been eliminated, there is still    some entertaining and great NOJHL hockey to be seen as the Voodoo’s move forward on their run to the Dudley.  If you still need a hockey fix, get down to Powassan and cheer them on in their quest.  Good luck to the players, coaching staff and management for another great season and we will be following closely as the post season continues.

April 11, 2019 will be the date for the Province of Ontario’s budget speech by our new Provincial government and more specifically, MPP and Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli’s, first budget.  I don’t think that anyone who has followed politics over the past few years will be surprised if this budget does not tackle a number of items that have been ignored, by past governments.  How this government deals with the recurring deficits and growing debt load that has continued to accumulate, will set the tone for the next three years.  The governments’ promise of being open for business and the reality of the fiscal position the Province has in front of itself, will be challenging to   balance out.  Having worked with Vic for many years,   I have no doubt that he will tackle the difficult challenges facing his government and start to put this Province back on track. 

Just a note for all readers, the next two weeks will see Patti Carr, Vice President of Policy and Communications for the NBDCC, will be penning the Chamber article as I will be away on vacation.  Look forward to reading Patti’s articles over the next few weeks.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.