As Sault College has been granted official status as members of the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference that plays within the American Collegiate Hockey Association, the Cougars are in the process of putting together their roster ahead of the 2018-2019 season.
The only Canadian school to have full membership in the ACHA, Sault College has become an attractive alternative for junior hockey players looking to combine athletics and academics at an Ontario community college.
As an affiliate member, Sault College has played a smattering of games against ACHA competition over the past two seasons but is slated to play a full 30-game schedule as part of the MCHC in 2018-2019.
Players aside, the Cougars have credible, veteran hockey people on board as they prepare to prowl the rinks against MCHC opponents.
At the helm of the Sault College hockey program as its head coach is Mike Hall. The 53-year old Hall spent 15 seasons behind the bench of the Soo North Stars of the Great North Midget Hockey League, leading them to multiple regional and provincial championships.
Hall is looking forward to a full 30-game schedule for the upcoming season and sees the Sault College program as a credible option for hockey players seeking an education.
“Our program is starting to stabilize,” said Hall. “Players and their families are seeing the value of getting an education at a good school like Sault College.”
As a coach who develops players and recognizes the importance of education being a part of hockey, Hall’s track record from his days with the Soo major midgets speaks volumes about his credibility and passion for the game of hockey.
Rod Trudel will again assist Hall behind the Sault College bench this coming season.
Also on board are Mark Hebert as manager of hockey operations and Charly Murray as a scout. Between the two of team, Hebert and Murray have decades of experience in the junior game that includes management and scouting positions with teams in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
On the player roster, a recent commitment to Sault College for the 2018-2019 season is Mark Tassone, a left winger who is fresh from three successful seasons with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Tassone, who has a 1999 birth date, plans to forgo two more seasons of junior eligibility to play at Sault College and further his education in the Police Foundations program effective the 2018-2019 term.
Tassone played in 164 games for the NOJHL Thunderbirds, regular season and playoffs included and netted 52 goals, 63 assists, 115 points with the T-Birds over a three-year period.
Other commitments to Sault College for the 2018-2019 season include forward Austin Rowe from the NOJHL’s Soo Eagles and a pair of returning forwards with prior junior experience in Ryan Vendramin and Jason Uhl.
Of note, Vendramin played 20 games in the Ontario Hockey League as a former draft pick of the Sarnia Sting.
And like Tassone and Rowe, Uhl is also a former NOJHLer, having suited up for the Blind River Beavers a few years back.