All posts by Randy Russon

Birds fly into top spot


Randy Russon
By
February 28, 2021

Cooper Smyl

Fast skating power forward Cooper Smyl fired three goals today to spark the surging Soo Thunderbirds to a 7-2 triumph over the Blind River Beavers.

The road win for the Thunderbirds boosted their record to 7-3-1 and moved them into first place in the West Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, just ahead of the idle Espanola Express, which has a 5-4-3 mark.

…[read more]

Beavers earn tough point


Randy Russon
By
February 27, 2021

Blind River Beavers goalie Gavin Disano, making one of 37 saves against the Soo Thunderbirds in NOJHL action from Friday. (photo by Bob Davies)

It wasn’t a victory.

But Blind River Beavers coach Kyle Brick credited his team for a hard fought effort in gaining a point from a 6-5 shootout loss to the Soo Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League action from Friday night.

The visiting Beavers forced the shootout with a power play goal by Matt Cato with less than three minutes to play in the third period.

…[read more]

NOJHL games postponed


Randy Russon
By
February 26, 2021

Tonight’s and Saturday’s scheduled Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League games between the French River Rapids and the Espanola Express have been postponed, multiple sources have confirmed to Hockey News North.

…[read more]

Nicholls boards the Express


Randy Russon
By
February 25, 2021

He has served a full two year apprenticeship in the Great North Under 18 Hockey League. And now, 2003 birth year goalie Evan Nicholls has been granted the liberty to tend twine in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

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NOJHL: So far, so good


Randy Russon
By
February 25, 2021

Caleb Wood of the Soo Thunderbirds and Mason Chitaroni of the Blind River Beavers in NOJHL action from this week. (photo by Bob Davies.)

Tests have been passed through the early going of return to play in the 2021 half of the interrupted Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.

The resumption of play on Feb. 23 after a two month shutdown relative to COVID-19 has followed an impressive 2020 half for the NOJHL in which 41 of 44 scheduled games were completed.

…[read more]

T-Birds add seasoned skaters


Randy Russon
By
February 24, 2021

Noah Boman

As play resumes in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League this week following a two-month shut down, the Soo Thunderbirds have added a pair of veteran forwards to their lineup, Hockey News North has confirmed.

…[read more]

NOJHL rallies with rebound


Randy Russon
By
February 24, 2021

Let the record show that junior hockey returned to northeastern Ontario on February 23 after two months on the sidelines.

The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League — which got in an impressive 41 games between November 13 and December 22 of 2020 before Christmas holidays and then a province wide shutdown relative to COVID-19 led to the two month stoppage in play — is back on the ice with a safe schedule of games for the 2021 portion of the season.

…[read more]

Express v. Rapids etc.


Randy Russon
By
February 23, 2021

French River Rapids and Espanola Express will return to NOJHL game play tonight.

Better late than never.

The 2021 portion of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season will finally get underway tonight when the French River Rapids play host to their cohort rival Espanola Express in a slated 6:00 start.

The two teams have already faced off against each other six times this season with each side winning three games. Two of French River’s wins were in extra time.

…[read more]

NOJHL confirms return


Randy Russon
By
February 22, 2021

The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has just confirmed what Hockey News North had said would happen in a story posted earlier today — a return to play effective this week.

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NOJHL working on return


Randy Russon
By
February 22, 2021

Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds are under the Algoma Public Health unit umbrella. (photo by Bob Davies)

Sources are telling Hockey News North that the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will return to play this week.

And the same sources are saying that teams will be restricted to playing within their own public health units, at least to begin.

In the case of the five-member West Division of the NOJHL, there is an odd number of teams. That is, unless a guest team from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League is allowed in.

…[read more]

Soo via Kingston


Randy Russon
By
February 22, 2021

Even the best of teams can only have so many star players.

In fact, it is the best of teams who make good use of the grinders.

And it was during the Ontario Hockey League glory years of Sam McMaster as general manager and Terry Crisp as coach that the powerhouse Soo Greyhounds twice made trades with the lowly Kingston Canadians in which they exchanged high scoring forwards for fibrous left wingers.

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Sault High is all even


Randy Russon
By
February 21, 2021

A road victory at Big Rapids has lifted the Sault High Blue Devils to the .500 mark through four games of the recently started Michigan high school hockey season.

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Moving out of the dog house


Randy Russon
By
February 20, 2021

Brit Peer

As the 1984-1985 championship campaign ended a spectacular five year run for the Soo Greyhounds under the coach and general manager duo of Terry Crisp and Sam McMaster, the next five seasons would be all downhill for the Red and White.

But as the Greyhounds went from the penthouse in 1984-1985 to the outhouse in 1985-1986, a pair of right wingers escaped the dog house via trade and finished their Ontario Hockey League careers with a flourish.

…[read more]

Sam, Terry and the Hounds


Randy Russon
By
February 19, 2021

Members of the 1984-1985 OHL champion Soo Greyhounds

A decade before the Soo Greyhounds would have Ontario Hockey League and Memorial Cup championship success with Ted Nolan as coach and Sherry Bassin as general manager, the Red and White would power its way to a franchise record 227 victories over a five year, regular season span.

Led by the dynamic duo of general manager Sam McMaster and coach Terry Crisp, the Greyhounds would amass an amazing regular season record of 227-100-11 between 1980 and 1985.

…[read more]

NOJHL guest team scenario


Randy Russon
By
February 18, 2021

As amateur hockey teams and leagues try to stick handle around COVID-19 and return to game activity with the blessing of public health units, there are various scenarios in consideration.

One such suggestion would have, for example, the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League joining the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League as a guest team.

…[read more]

Eskymos 5, Blue Devils 4


Randy Russon
By
February 18, 2021

Sault High Blue Devils have yet to pass a road test in the early going of the Michigan high school hockey schedule.

The Blue Devils came up just short on Wednesday, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Escanaba Eskymos.

Sault High will have another road test on Saturday afternoon when it travels to Big Rapids for a 2 p.m. start.

…[read more]

On the road and on the air


Randy Russon
By
February 17, 2021

Sault High Blue Devils will continue a 10-game regular season slate tonight with a road match.

The Blue Devils are in Escanaba to play the Eskymos in what will be the third outing of the COVID-19 delayed, 2020-2021 season for Sault High.

…[read more]

Assistants for the Rock


Randy Russon
By
February 16, 2021

Timmins Rock president Ted Gooch has told Hockey News North that the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team will not hire a new head coach until after the 2020-2021 season.

Gooch confirmed that in the wake of today’s resignation of Corey Beer, who was in his fourth season as bench boss of the NOJHL team.

…[read more]

No more Beer in Timmins


Randy Russon
By
February 16, 2021

Corey Beer

Corey Beer has resigned as head coach of the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League to accept a position with the Okanagan Hockey Group.

The move to the Whitby, Ontario-based academy will allow Beer to be closer to his family. Beer and his girlfriend are expecting their first child.

…[read more]

NOJHL poised to return


Randy Russon
By
February 15, 2021

Soo Thunderbirds and Espanola Express, in December action. (photo by Bob Davies)

Barring any sort of setback relative to COVID-19, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League could resume regular season play within a week or so.

Sources have told Hockey News North that NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca and team representatives have scheduled a conference call for Tuesday evening relative to a return to play.

…[read more]

Sault High slate is set


Randy Russon
By
February 15, 2021

A 10-game regular season to be followed by the playoffs is what has been set up for the Sault High Blue Devils.

Having now played two games in a 2020-2021 regular season that finally began on February 10 relative to COVID-19, Sault High has three more matches slated for this month and another five in March.

Playoffs will then begin on March 15 as part of a state format in which all high school hockey teams in Michigan qualify for the post season.

…[read more]

Devils night goes to Gaylord


Randy Russon
By
February 14, 2021

The battle of the Blue Devils went to Gaylord. Playing at home, Gaylord Blue Devils hissed past the Sault High Blue Devils 7-3 in Michigan high school hockey action from Saturday night.

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Battle of the Blue Devils


Randy Russon
By
February 13, 2021

Brewer Koleszar

The chilly confines of the Otsego County Sportsplex will serve as the frozen stage for a Michigan high school hockey showdown tonight when the Gaylord Blue Devils play host to the Sault High Blue Devils.

Sault High, which began the 2020-2021 season earlier this week with a 2-1 win over the Cheboygan Chiefs, will face off against a Gaylord squad which will be playing its third game in four nights, having blanked the Cadillac Vikings 4-0 before dropping a 6-4 decision to the Midland Chemics.

…[read more]

Michigan Sault hockey hub


Randy Russon
By
February 11, 2021

There are four high profile hockey teams that are based in the small town of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which has a population of less than 14,000 full-time residents.

They include the Lake Superior State University Lakers, the Soo Eagles juniors, the under 18 Soo Indians, and the Sault High Blue Devils.

And following clearance from the state of Michigan, high school hockey has finally been able to begin the 2020-2021 regular season. Thus, the return to play of the Sault High squad.

…[read more]

OHL boss is optimistic


Randy Russon
By
February 10, 2021

The 18 teams of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League have already combined to play well over 150 games thus far into the COVID-19 affected, 2020-2021 regular season.

Meanwhile, the 22-member Western Hockey League is slated to begin play on February 26 with games involving its Alberta-based teams.

Over to the Ontario Hockey League — where COVID-19 cases continue to drop province wide — no firm start date has been determined for its 20 teams, three of which are American-based. But commissioner David Branch is optimistic that the OHL, which along with the QMJHL and WHL are under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League, will play hockey this season.

…[read more]