All posts by Randy Russon

SIJHL reacts to lock down


Randy Russon
By
January 16, 2021

Kam River Fighting Walleye and Thunder Bay North Stars, in action prior to the government lock down. (photo by Gary Moskalyk)

The commissioner of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League did not mince words in addressing the Ontario government’s latest lock down and state of emergency edict.

SIJHL commissioner Darrin Nicholas has issued a terse statement on behalf of the northwestern Ontario based league.

…[read more]

Beavers first won with Capy


Randy Russon
By
January 15, 2021

The early years of the Blind River Beavers in what is the modern day Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League yielded very few victories for the small market franchise.

To be sure, the Beavers won just 31 of 178 games over four seasons that began with their debut campaign of 2000-2001.

…[read more]

Bad News, Billy the Kid et al


Randy Russon
By
January 14, 2021

They didn’t win many games.

But for the most part, they tried hard, worked hard, were entertaining to watch and fun to write about.

In short, they were a collection of delightful rogues who played together and stuck together as the Manitoulin Islanders of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

It was a first for the Hounds


Randy Russon
By
January 12, 2021

Craig Hartsburg, as a 16-year old rookie

They had missed the playoffs in each of their first three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, beginning with their debut campaign of 1972-1973.

And fans and supporters of the Greyhounds — who were used to the winning ways from the team’s days in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association — were becoming restless and impatient.

…[read more]

NOJHL is ahead of the game


Randy Russon
By
January 11, 2021

NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca

This is positive news in a time of uncertainty.

That is, as it plans to return to play when and if it is cleared to do so by the provincial government via regional public health units, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is already ahead of the game.

…[read more]

All even on the Express


Randy Russon
By
January 10, 2021

Espanola players (left to right), Josh Kavanagh, A.J. Favot and Ben Anderson. (photo by Chelsea Solomon)

A .500 mark through 10 games is at least a passing grade.

And what is worth noting is that the teacher — in this case the head coach — has given his students an ‘E’ for effort.

…[read more]

Buffam moving on to KL


Randy Russon
By
January 7, 2021

Jackson Buffam

As the Powassan Voodoos have officially opted to take a leave of absence from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, players on their roster are free to sign with other teams for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season.

One such player is Jackson Buffam, a highly regarded forward with a December, 2002 birth date who signed with Powassan prior to the start of the current ’20-21 campaign after three productive seasons with the New Liskeard Cubs of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.

…[read more]

Working hard in Espanola


Randy Russon
By
January 6, 2021

Espanola Express forward Cameron Walker, in NOJHL action against the visiting Soo Thunderbirds. (photo by Chelsea Solomon)

There have been ups and downs as evidenced by an 0-0-2 start through its first two contests to a 3-1-2 mark after six outings to the 4-4-2 record that it has 10 games into the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season.

…[read more]

Rock on to Rayside


Randy Russon
By
January 5, 2021

Chris Innes

The holiday embargo on player transactions in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has been lifted.

And Hockey News North has confirmed that the Timmins Rock has traded 2003 birth year defenseman Chris Innes to the Rayside Balfour Canadians in a cash exchange.

…[read more]

Chelsea takes the Express


Randy Russon
By
January 5, 2021

Members of the Espanola Express skate off the ice following a home-ice win over the Soo Thunderbirds. (photo by Chelsea Solomon)

She takes aim and shoots.

And she scores with some really good close-up photos.

We have the work of another good Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team photographer to share.

…[read more]

Bob shoots the Birds


Randy Russon
By
January 4, 2021

Michael Chaffay of the Soo Thunderbirds and Cole Delarosbil of the Espanola Express head up the ice. (photo by Bob Davies)

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

And, it says here, there are a number of independent photographers who do exceptional work on behalf of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

NOJHL January play update


Randy Russon
By
January 2, 2021

As 2020 has moved into 2021, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has confirmed key components relative to a poised resumption of play for the ’20-21 campaign.

Notably, any return to activity is based on upcoming decisions by the Province of Ontario and the multiple regional public health units as they relate to the current COVID-19 lock down that is slated to end in northern Ontario on January 9, which is one week from today.

…[read more]

MVP to BR assistant coach


Randy Russon
By
January 2, 2021

Caleb Serre

Given his druthers, Caleb Serre would be in uniform this season as a freshman forward with the Laurentian Voyageurs of Ontario University Athletics.

But with no university hockey being played relative to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 21-year old Serre has found an unexpected role as an assistant coach with his hometown Blind River Beavers.

…[read more]

Brick boosts baby Beavers


Randy Russon
By
January 1, 2021

They have their share of veteran performers who have helped vault the Blind River Beavers to five victories in eight outings through their first two sessions of cohort play in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

But four rookie players — two with 2004 birth dates and two others who were born in 2003 — are baby Beavers who have made an early splash in Blind River for veteran coach-general manager Kyle Brick.

…[read more]

Net worth of the NOJHL


Randy Russon
By
December 31, 2020

Alex Bugeja

Through 41 games among the nine Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams that have been active thus far in the 2020-2021 regular season, no less 21 goalies have stood between the pipes.

And in a league that features so many good goalies, following is a Hockey News North look at six of the top twine tenders in the NOJHL through the early going of this season.

…[read more]

At home on a back yard rink


Randy Russon
By
December 30, 2020

Brothers Brett and Nik Rossetto

No access to indoor arenas due to the current shutdown relative to COVID-19 hasn’t kept the Rossetto hockey family of the Sault off the ice.

To be sure, this could well define the classic ‘love of the game’ phrase.

…[read more]

Here ‘n there in the north


Randy Russon
By
December 28, 2020

Meaningful games have already been played.

Forty one regular season contests have taken place in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

And the major teams from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League have played as many as eight mini matches apiece.

…[read more]

What’s next for the OHL?


Randy Russon
By
December 27, 2020

OHL commissioner David Branch

Regular season action in junior hockey leagues that span northeastern and northwestern Ontario got underway in November with new playing rules that ban intentional contact — and with very few spectators allowed in the arenas.

But while the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League began regular season play on November 13 and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League started two weeks later, the higher level, higher stakes Ontario Hockey League has remained idle.

…[read more]

NOJHL is passing the test


Randy Russon
By
December 24, 2020

Since the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League began 2020-2021 regular season play back on November 13, a total of 44 games have been scheduled.

Of the 44, only three were not played relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it is worth noting that all three games were postponed by the NOJHL itself as precautionary measures — with not a single player, coach or official testing positive for the virus.

…[read more]

Ritchie on the right track


Randy Russon
By
December 22, 2020

Jordan Ritchie, in action for the Espanola Express. (photo by Bob Davies)

No opportunity to play at home?

No problem, just head down the road.

That is what Sault Ste. Marie product Jordan Ritchie is doing as a 2001 birth year defenseman with the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

The free agent defender had been out skating with his hometown Soo Thunderbirds prior to the start of this 2020-2021 NOJHL season.

…[read more]

Drive for five in NOJHL West


Randy Russon
By
December 21, 2020

Gavin Disano

Teams in the cohort tent of the West Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are now on holiday recess until slated resumption of play in January.

And, to be sure, the Blind River Beavers, Espanola Express, Soo Thunderbirds, Rayside Balfour Canadians and French River Rapids have all wrapped their share of presents from regular season action during these modified days of play that began in mid November.

At any rate, following are some notable notations relative to the five active teams of the NOJHL West. Team records are in brackets.

…[read more]

Express stays with the Birds


Randy Russon
By
December 20, 2020

Cole Delarosbil of the Espanola Express and Connor Toms of the Soo Thunderbirds battle for the puck in NOJHL action at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex

Younger and less experienced, the Espanola Express nonetheless showed a good compete level against the veteran-laden Soo Thunderbirds this weekend.

After scoring a dramatic, come-from-behind, 4-3 win over the Thunderbirds on Saturday, Espanola dropped a 4-1 decision — including empty net goal — to the visitors from the Soo this afternoon.

…[read more]

Espanola overcomes the Soo


Randy Russon
By
December 19, 2020

It was a frantic finish to a back and back forth contest.

With the game tied 3-3 and time ticking away, forward Cameron Walker scored his second goal of the third period — and third of the day — with 35 seconds left on the clock to lift the Espanola Express to a 4-3 win over the visiting Soo Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League action from this afternoon.

…[read more]

Hendo & Hounds on hiatus


Randy Russon
By
December 19, 2020

Jamie Henderson

They have shown well through eight games to date with their COVID-19 cohorts from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.

To be sure, head coach Jamie (Hendo) Henderson and his Soo Jr. Greyhounds have posted an impressive record of 4-2-2 against the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in eight mini matches thus far this season.

But aside from inter squad competition and scheduled skill sessions, the Jr. Greyhounds and the rest of the teams in the Great North are now on hiatus from game play until a yet to be determined date in January.

…[read more]

Noah Zeppa to Renfrew


Randy Russon
By
December 19, 2020

Noah Zeppa is an OHL draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds

At last, the wait and see game is over for Noah Zeppa.

A Sault Ste. Marie native, the 5-foot-11, 170 pound goalie with a December, 2002 birth date has signed with the Renfrew Wolves of the Central Canada Hockey League.

Zeppa will report to Renfrew in early January.

…[read more]