History (Sun County Panthers)


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Prior to 1989, if you didn’t live in Windsor or some other City with an AAA centre, you were not eligible to play AAA hockey.

During the early 1980’s there was talk (much talk) regarding AAA Hockey in Essex County, but no agreement was ever reached and the idea shelved.

In 1989 the OMHA created “AAA ZONES” (“in order to create a system where players, regardless of their residency, were afforded the opportunity to play AAA hockey”). Essex County was one of these “ZONES”.

In 1994 Mike Bergeron, the then current OMHA Regional Representative felt that the time was ripe for the activation of the “AAA ZONE” in Essex County. He convened a meeting with representatives from all the local Minor Hockey Associations. They would go on to form the first Essex County AAA Zone Committee.

Following were the representatives:
Belle River District M.H.A - Mary Bauer
Essex M.H.A.– Rick Wellwood
Harrow & Colchester South M.H.A.- George Winter
LaSalle M.H.A. – Gary Thomsen
Southpoint M.H.A. - Rob Williams
Tecumseh Shoreline M.H.A. – Mike Rocheleau
Tri Community M.H. A. (Amherstburg) - Mike Hallock
Kingsville was unable to send a representative, but Sandy Repko agreed to be the contact.

These representatives, along with the help of the OMHA, developed the Constitution, By Laws, Rules & Regulations of the newly formed Sun County AAA Minor Hockey Association.

Sun County AAA M.H.A. became incorporated January 1995 as a not for profit corporation.

The first 2 seasons (1995-96; 96-97) we had no league to play in but we were allowed to play in the ALLIANCE league, ice time was difficult to find and our teams played their home games out of Walpole Island & London. That changed with the construction of the Windsor Ice Park.

The next 2 seasons (1997-98; 98-99) we played in the Michigan National Hockey League. It should be noted that during those 4 years all our teams were required to participate in the OMHA playdowns.

In 1998 the OMHA informed us that for the upcoming season we must play in an OMHA league.

Based on costs of time and travel we appealed the decision and lost.

With support from the membership, the Board of Directors made the decision to seek membership in the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario (ALLIANCE), the main reason being that geographically the furthest ALLIANCE team was closer that the closest OMHA team, discounting Windsor M. H. A.

We started our 1999-2000 season as ALLIANCE members.