After a months-long struggle for survival, good news has come for the OCN Blizzard.
The MJHL club announced in a news release it will continue operations for next season after OCN chief and council passed a motion to allow the team to operate independently.
The motion came after the team’s board of directors submitted a proposed budget and business plan to chief and council, showing the team’s plans to continue without band funding.
This ensures the Blizzard will play in 2017-18, but its survival beyond that is not assured.
The team’s future seemed in serious doubt in December after OCN decided to stop funding the team beyond this season.
The Blizzard, established in 1996, have received substantial funding from the band since the franchise began. OCN originally announced the funding cut would cause the team to fold after this season.
But the Blizzard soon announced plans to continue operations without band funding, reaching out to fans and former players for support.
The team held public information sessions and a fan rally in an effort to keep the team afloat.
“The Board of Directors are prepared to do whatever they can to keep the team beyond the 2016-17 season,” the club said in a Dec. 22 press release.
The Blizzard are known across the region for their outreach to northern communities, with several alumni like Jordin Tootoo and Konrad McKay hailing from the North.
The Blizzard won five consecutive MJHL league titles from 1998-99 to 2002-03.