All posts by Randy Russon

St. Thomas to Espanola


Randy Russon
By
July 10, 2020

We have tracked an Express delivery to Espanola from St. Thomas.

Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has signed big winger Colton Wiacek away from the St. Thomas Stars of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League, Hockey News North has confirmed.

In 63 games with St. Thomas over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-1, 200 pound Wiacek produced 10 goals, eight assists, 18 points.

…[read more]

Express, Rapids make a deal


Randy Russon
By
July 8, 2020

A pair of 2001 birth year forwards have changed teams in a classic one for one Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League trade.

…[read more]

Six locals in the Bird house


Randy Russon
By
July 6, 2020

Shop local. Stay local. Play local.

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have been playing the local theme thus far this off season.

To be sure, the Thunderbirds now have commitments from six local skaters — four returnees and two newcomers — ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

Business as unusual


Randy Russon
By
July 5, 2020

These are unusual times. And in the hockey world, the so-called ‘new normal’ means the phrase ‘business as usual’ may no longer be applicable.

…[read more]

Two more for the Birds


Randy Russon
By
July 3, 2020

Another day. Another pair of returning commitments.

Trev Zachary

Soo Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary has confirmed to Hockey News North that veteran forwards Avery Rebek and Kurtis Rogers will be returning to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team for another season.

The return of Rebek and Rogers follows the day earlier confirmation of two other veteran forwards for the 2020-2021 NOJHL season.

…[read more]

D-man Daca to Soo Eagles


Randy Russon
By
July 2, 2020

Soo Eagles have committed to free agent defenseman Hayden Daca, Hockey News North has confirmed.

Hayden Daca

The December, 2001 birth year skater spent the 2019-2020 season with the Elliot Lake Wildcats, who finished in last place in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

The Wildcats have since ceased operations ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

Back in the Bird house


Randy Russon
By
July 2, 2020

A pair of local products have confirmed their planned return to the Soo Thunderbirds for the upcoming season.

They are forwards Cooper Smyl and Brock Santa Maria.

Both were rookies on a Thunderbirds team that finished in third place in the West Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League last season.

…[read more]

Spitfires swoop a defender


Randy Russon
By
July 1, 2020

Windsor Spitfires have added another defenseman to their blue line brigade.

The Spitfires have acquired 2002 birth year defender Michael Renwick from the Hamilton Bulldogs for a second round pick at the 2022 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.

Of note, Renwick is a grandson of former Spitfires assistant coach Dave Prpich.

…[read more]

Three to be for RBC


Randy Russon
By
July 1, 2020

Rayside Balfour Canadians general manager Jeff Forsyth has confirmed the signing of three rookie players ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

Jeff Forsyth

The Canadians are coming off of a 2019-2020 regular season in which they finished atop the West Division standings of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with a record of 40-11-5.

It was a season of firsts for RBC in 2019-2020 under the new ownership of Mark Burgess, managing director Blaine Smith, Forsyth as the GM and Dan Cuomo as head coach.

…[read more]

Frontenacs take a pass


Randy Russon
By
June 30, 2020

Kingston Frontenacs general manager Darren Keily is more than happy with the two import forwards that the Ontario Hockey League team has on its roster.

Thus, the Frontenacs — who are poised to become a very competitive OHL team after two seasons of major rebuild — have opted to pass on taking part in today’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

Instead, the Frontenacs will retain their two players from the 2019 CHL import draft — forwards Martin Chromiak and Vitali Pinchuk.

…[read more]

Chris Thorburn: What a story


Randy Russon
By
June 29, 2020

Chris Thorburn had what might be called an improbable National Hockey League career.

Chris Thorburn, as a member of the Winnipeg Jets

Thorburn was nearing the end of his four-year Ontario Hockey League run in 2003 and had yet to be signed by the Buffalo Sabres, who had taken him two years earlier, in the second round of the 2001 NHL draft.

But the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product would finish his OHL career with a flourish after being dealt by the Saginaw Spirit to the Plymouth Whalers at the 2003 trade deadline.

…[read more]

Return ticket to Espanola


Randy Russon
By
June 28, 2020

All aboard the Express! Destination: Espanola.

Espanola Express president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz has confirmed the commitment of four more returning players for the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.

The planned returned of the four skaters — three defensemen and a forward — brings to eight the number of players that Rapcewicz already has commitments from for the upcoming NOJHL season.

…[read more]

Northern lights in Espanola


Randy Russon
By
June 27, 2020

Jason Rapcewicz, who is the president and general manager of the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, says he has and will — along with his scouts — search far and wide for players.

Cole Delarosbil

But as the owner and operator of the small market Espanola franchise, Rapcewicz noted that he takes particular pride in having as many capable northern Ontario players on the Express as he can.

And among those who have now committed to board the Express for the 2020-2021 NOJHL season are three returning players with northern roots — forwards Cole Delarosbil and Brennen Martel and goalie Carson Boutin.

…[read more]

Back in the Express net


Randy Russon
By
June 25, 2020

Carson Boutin is slated to return to the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the 2020-2021 season.

Goalie Carson Boutin of the Espanola Express

The 2002 birth year goalie joined the Express from the Komoka Kings of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League via the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL during the 2019-2020 season.

Boutin, who stands in at 6 foot, 185 pounds, hails from the northeastern Ontario town of Iroquois Falls.

…[read more]

RBC makes net exchange


Randy Russon
By
June 24, 2020

Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have an opening for a goalie.

David Bowen

The first place team in the West Division of the NOJHL from the 2019-2020 season has dealt 2002 birth year goalie Nicholas Heinzle to the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League in a cash exchange.

With Heinzle headed to the prairies, veteran David Bowen is now the only goalie on the Rayside roster.

…[read more]

Soo Eagles nab Nick Jameus


Randy Russon
By
June 23, 2020

Free agent forward Nick Jameus has a new Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League home.

Nick Jameus

Hockey News North has confirmed that the Soo Eagles have committed to Jameus ahead of the 2020-2021 NOJHL season.

A Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native, Jameus spent the 2019-2020 season with the lowly Elliot Lake Wildcats.

…[read more]

Eagles confirm tryout camp


Randy Russon
By
June 22, 2020

Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have received the go ahead to hold their main tryout camp later this summer.

Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has confirmed the main camp dates and details.

The Eagles are one of 11 teams in the NOJHL and its lone American entry.

…[read more]

Junior hockey’s new normal


Randy Russon
By
June 21, 2020

In one way at least, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has a potential advantage over the Ontario Hockey League.

Pullar Stadium is a jewel of an NOJHL facility.

That is, should attendance restrictions be mandated once junior hockey is cleared for game activity, the NOJHL would be in a more enviable position than the OHL.

Attendance is the major source of revenue for the OHL. And while NOJHL teams do rely on attendance as a means of survival, they are also enhanced financially as a ‘pay to play’ league.

As well, NOJHL teams are in a favourable geographical region relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.

…[read more]

OHL trade reprise


Randy Russon
By
June 20, 2020

Trade season in the Ontario Hockey League opened on June 1.

And while there has not been a flurry of activity, several seasoned skaters have been swapped from one OHL team to another.

North Bay Battalion has been involved in two significant transactions while frequent trade partners, Flint Firebirds and Guelph Storm, made yet another exchange with each other. In the space of 12 months — from last off season to this one — Flint and Guelph have made no less than five trades with each other.

Meanwhile, Saginaw Spirit pulled off what could be a helluva heist in getting a former first round pick from North Bay for a bargain price.

…[read more]

Mauro makes his points


Randy Russon
By
June 19, 2020

At 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Justin Mauro isn’t big.

Justin Mauro of the Blind River Beavers

But he has certainly made big contributions as a productive junior hockey forward.

To be sure, Mauro has put up pretty good point totals over two full seasons with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Jr. Hockey League.

And with a 2002 birth date, the Sault Ste. Marie native still has three years of junior eligibility remaining.

…[read more]

Eagles have eyes on Zeppa


Randy Russon
By
June 18, 2020

Soo Eagles have received permission from the Hearst Lumberjacks to talk to goalie Noah Zeppa relative to a potential transaction between the two Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams.

Noah Zeppa

Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo confirmed to Hockey News North that he has received the go-ahead from Lumberjacks coach-GM Marc Lafleur to speak with Zeppa.

Zeppa, who has a December, 2002 birth date, is coming off of a 2019-2020 season in which he played in only nine games because of concussion-related issues.

…[read more]

Blind River brother act


Randy Russon
By
June 17, 2020

Oh, brother. There is double trouble ahead.

Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will have a brother act in place for the 2020-2021 season.

Hockey News North has confirmed that Devin Mauro will join his older brother Justin Mauro in Blind River for the upcoming NOJHL season.

…[read more]

Flint, Guelph make a deal


Randy Russon
By
June 16, 2020

Flint Firebirds have bolstered their blue line brigade via Ontario Hockey League trade with the Guelph Storm.

Highly-touted defenseman Zack Terry is on the move from Guelph to Flint for a pair of 2023 draft picks.

In confirming the trade, Firebirds general manager Barclay Branch referred to Terry as “both an impressive player and person.”

…[read more]

News from the North reprise


Randy Russon
By
June 15, 2020

It is mid June, which is still early in the junior hockey off season.

Brennen Martel of the Espanola Express

In fact, the start of the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season is at least three months away — and maybe longer.

Still, some teams in the NOJHL have re-opened for the business of signing players — returning and incoming — ahead of the 2020-2021 campaign.

Following is a reprise of signings and commitments from three NOJHL teams as first reported by Hockey News North.

…[read more]

The tree to the Bird house


Randy Russon
By
June 14, 2020

It is another branch on the hockey tree.

Michael Chaffay and Ty Zachary

The climb from major midget to junior A hockey is one that some opt to make sooner than others.

But in this case, a pair of more than capable forwards in Michael Chaffay and Ty Zachary took their time in moving up from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League to the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Beavers make a nice splash


Randy Russon
By
June 13, 2020

Blind River Beavers have confirmed a foursome signing of incoming players with northern roots ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

The Beavers are coming off four straight winning seasons in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League including a 37-15-4 mark from the 2019-2020 campaign.

…[read more]