All posts by Randy Russon

T-Birds v. Express takeaways


Randy Russon
By
December 16, 2020

Soo Thunderbirds were, to be sure, full marks for a resounding 8-1 romp over the visiting Espanola Express in the first of four meetings between the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League foes.

The Thunderbirds out-shot and out-played the Express over the final 30 minutes of the match to turn a narrow 1-0 lead into a decisive 8-1 decision.

…[read more]

Birds dispatch the Express


Randy Russon
By
December 15, 2020

Cam Dutkiewicz

It was a close game through more than half of it.

But the Soo Thunderbirds eventually broke through to dispatch the visiting Espanola Express 8-1 in Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League play from tonight.

…[read more]

T-Birds home to Express


Randy Russon
By
December 15, 2020

Soo Thunderbirds and Espanola Express will begin a four-games-in-six-days series tonight when the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League cohort rivals meet in a 7 p.m. match at John Rhodes Community Center.

…[read more]

Nine OHL picks in Espanola


Randy Russon
By
December 14, 2020

Cameron Walker

A small market team in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the Espanola Express has become a major location for Ontario Hockey League draft picks to develop.

Notably, no less than nine players who are currently in the Espanola lineup are priority selection draft picks of seven different OHL teams.

…[read more]

Birds flapping their wings


Randy Russon
By
December 14, 2020

Michael Chaffay

They are the young Birds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

To be sure, of the 22 players — 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies — that dot the roster of the Soo Thunderbirds, no less than 17 of them will still have junior hockey eligibility remaining after this season.

…[read more]

NOJHL pre-Christmas action


Randy Russon
By
December 14, 2020

Eighteen games are on the slate between tomorrow (Dec. 15) and Dec. 23 as the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has confirmed its second session of cohort opponents ahead of a Christmas break.

…[read more]

Trio in tune for Jr. Hounds


Randy Russon
By
December 13, 2020

Soo Jr. Greyhounds forward Calem Mangone with coach Jamie Henderson. (photo by Allana Plaunt)

Veteran Calem Mangone and rookie line-mates Lincoln Moore and Cooper Foster teamed up for seven goals and 12 points as the Soo Jr. Greyhounds put the finishing touches on the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in Great North Under 18 Hockey League activity from Saturday.

Mangone netted three goals and two assists, Moore had the hat trick and a helper while Foster scored once and set up two others in a 7-2 Soo romp over Sudbury.

…[read more]

Express on the right track


Randy Russon
By
December 11, 2020

Espanola captain Josh Boucher. (photo by Chelsea Solomon)

It is still early in the 2020-2021 regular season.

But with a record of 3-1-2 through its first six games, the Espanola Express seems to be on the right track from what has been somewhat of a train wreck through its first five seasons as members of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Christmas and the Canadiens


Randy Russon
By
December 10, 2020

It was 1958, when I was six years old — and still believed in Santa Claus — that I have my first memory of Christmas and hockey.

I had asked Santa Claus for a Montreal Canadiens jersey for Christmas and I remember my Dad and Mom telling me that they would try to make sure that I got one.

Puzzled, I said to my Dad that I thought it was up to Santa Claus whether I got the Canadiens jersey or not.

…[read more]

Soo crew hops the Express


Randy Russon
By
December 8, 2020

Cole Delarosbil

It will be an early trip home before Christmas for two Sault Ste. Marie lads when the Espanola Express visits the Soo Thunderbirds for a pair of Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League games next week.

The Tuesday, December 15 and Thursday, December 17 games will be part of the second cohort segment of the season for both teams.

Jordan Ritchie

Of note, as part of its Sault Ste. Marie connection, Espanola has a pair of 2001 birth year skaters aboard the Express in forward Cole Delarosbil and defenseman Jordan Ritchie.

…[read more]

Cohort competitors confirmed


Randy Russon
By
December 8, 2020

Savignac and Bugeja are recent NOJHL player of the week recipients.

The next round of regular season play within its West Division has been scheduled by the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

In new, head to head, cohort matches that will take them to a Christmas break, Espanola Express and Soo Thunderbirds will face off against each other four times and the Blind River Beavers and Rayside Balfour Canadians are slated to do the same.

…[read more]

RIP, Andy Mantha


Randy Russon
By
December 7, 2020

A true gentleman and a hockey legend from his playing days of many years ago with the Soo Greyhounds, Andy Mantha has passed away at age 94.

After retirement from the game, Andy would become a long-time fixture on Greyhound hockey broadcasts as a commentator alongside legendary CKCY Radio play by play man Harry Wolfe.

…[read more]

Good old days of Jr. B hockey


Randy Russon
By
December 7, 2020

There were rabid rivalries with games that were high scoring and penalty filled as part of a rough and tumble junior B league with teams in towns that highlighted local and area hockey players.

Games were played in cold rinks where fans braved the chills of winter to hoot and root for the home team and boo and hiss the visitors.

Before there was the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, there was the International Jr. B Hockey League with teams such as the Blind River Beavers, Chapleau Huskies, Elliot Lake Vikings, Marquette Americans, Soo Indians, Soo Thunderbirds, Thessalon Flyers and Wawa Travellers.

…[read more]

Great North gets it going


Randy Russon
By
December 6, 2020

Soo Jr. Greyhounds defenseman Kolby Fellinger, in season-opening action on Saturday. (Photo by Bob Davies)

Soo Jr. Greyhounds took two wins and a tie from the visiting Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves as regular season play finally got underway in the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.

In modified form, the rules were much different from the norm as the teams played four games with their respective 22-player rosters divided into groups of 11, featuring 10 skaters and one goalie per squad.

…[read more]

Major returnees in Timmins


Randy Russon
By
December 4, 2020

Brandon Perry

Fourth year head coach Brandon Perry and his staff of assistants will look to the experience of a smattering of seasoned performers as the Timmins Majors skate into the 2020-2021 Great North Under 18 Hockey League season.

The 31-year old Perry, a hometown hombre who progressed to play four seasons of Canadian university hockey with the Queen’s Golden Gaels and a term at the minor pro level before returning to Timmins for work and to help raise what is now a growing young family, has a peerless, peppery passion as the coach of the Majors.

…[read more]

Denny digs the NOJHL gig


Randy Russon
By
December 3, 2020

Denny Lambert

He has played the game at its highest level, suiting up for more than 500 National Hockey League games in what was an inspiring, improbable rise to the top.

He was later an assistant and head coach of eight seasons in the Ontario Hockey League for the same team that he played for, the Soo Greyhounds.

And now, 50-year old Denny Lambert is combining a career as a police officer with being the first year head coach of the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Cross-river return for Szabo


Randy Russon
By
December 2, 2020

Dylan Szabo (20) and the Soo Indians celebrate a recent victory

After skating for several seasons on the Ontario side of the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie — including the past two in the Great North Under 18 Hockey League — Dylan Szabo has returned home to play for the AAA Soo Indians of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association.

A 2003 birth year forward who is well known for his hustle and work ethic, the 5-foot-11, 175 pound Szabo developed his game over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 terms playing for coach Jamie Henderson and the Soo Jr. Greyhounds.

…[read more]

No lack of story lines


Randy Russon
By
December 1, 2020

Connor Toms

Junior hockey is being played throughout northern Ontario, albeit in modified form, with no deliberate contact, restrictions on team to team travel, and few fans allowed in the rinks.

And unlike the Ontario Hockey League, which is planning on an early February start date to its regular season, the 2020-2021 campaign is already several weeks underway in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

To that end, there are good story lines galore relative to the NOJHL, including sports writers who previously ignored the league only to all of a sudden be on the bandwagon with plenty of printed words.

…[read more]

Catch the ace for SMHA


Randy Russon
By
December 1, 2020

Mike Creedon, who is the first year president of the Sault Major Hockey Association, hopes to make the game more affordable to more players, especially at the elite level.

…[read more]

Keaston ‘n Kobe in Cochrane


Randy Russon
By
November 30, 2020

Keaston Blais

They both hail from the resilient northeastern Ontario town of Iroquois Falls.

Having both been born in the latter months of 2002, they played minor hockey together in their hometown and surrounding area as childhood friends.

Graduates of different programs from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League, they are now teammates again with the Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Kobe Barrette

Separated for a couple of seasons, defenseman Keaston Blais and forward Kobe Barrette took different roads to get to the NOJHL in Cochrane, which is located about 30 miles from Iroquois Falls along rugged Highway 11.

…[read more]

Wild ways in NOJHL West


Randy Russon
By
November 29, 2020

Jacob Kelly of the Blind River Beavers and Caleb Wood of the Soo Thunderbirds in action. (Photo by Bob Davies)

Good winds of the north are steady and sweeping through a regional junior hockey league.

Yes, it is only three weekends into the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season.

But four cohort counterparts from the league’s West Division have become formidable foes with three games that have already been decided by shootout.

…[read more]

Here are the Timmins Majors


Randy Russon
By
November 29, 2020

Returning goalie Evan Nicholls of the Timmins Majors

Head coach Brandon Perry and his staff have selected the 22-player roster that will represent the Timmins Majors of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League for the 2020-2021 season.

By position, the Majors lineup, with players birth year in brackets, is as follows.

…[read more]

Savignac sparks the Express


Randy Russon
By
November 28, 2020

Devon Savignac

There is little doubt about the ability and skill level of Devon Savignac.

And what the 2003 birth year forward and Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft pick of the North Bay Battalion is capable of was on full display for the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in a rousing victory over the French River Rapids.

…[read more]

Walleye shoots past the Stars


Randy Russon
By
November 28, 2020

Trenton Morriseau

Trenton Morriseau hit for the hat trick and Talon Thomas tallied twice as the expansion Kam River Fighting Walleye made its official debut on Friday with a 6-2 win over the defending champion Thunder Bay North Stars.

The game marked the start of the 2020-2021 regular season in the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Hendo is high on his Hounds


Randy Russon
By
November 27, 2020

Michael Beltrano, Kolby Fellinger, Adam Barone, Calem Mangone, Stephen Pszeniczny and Noah Metivier are all returning players for the U18 Hounds

An effervescent Jamie Henderson could barely contain his excitement as he talked rapidly into the microphone during a recent guest appearance on local radio station Eagle 95.1 and its Hockey North Show.

The chatty head coach of the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 AAA Hockey League was pumped up big time as he talked about his team and the slated return to play after eight months of game activity shutdown relative to the coronavirus health crisis.

…[read more]