August 9, 2020
From one week to another and from once facility to another.
Originally slated for August 12-14 at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have moved their main training camp dates and location.
Instead, the Eagles will now hold their main camp a week later, from August 21-23, at Lake Superior State University’s Norris Center facility.…[read more]
August 8, 2020
Kingston Frontenacs figure to have a new general manager in place towards the end of August.
Frontenacs president Doug Springer told the Kingston Whig Standard that the Ontario Hockey League team has narrowed down a list of candidates to take over from Darren Keily as GM.
Springer said he hopes to have a new GM in place within three weeks.
Keily was surprisingly fired by Springer earlier this month after having helped to guide the Frontenacs through two rebuilding seasons.…[read more]
August 7, 2020
On to the next level for this dandy duo.
A pair of top performers from the New Liskeard Cubs of the Great North Midget Hockey League have signed with the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
They are forwards Ben White and Jackson Buffam.
White and Buffam were New Liskeard’s top two point producers during the 2019-2020 season. They were also sixth and seventh, respectively, on the Great North scoring chart.…[read more]
August 7, 2020
Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have stayed local with the signing of 2003 birth year goalie Jake Marois.
As a member of the fourth place Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves, the 6-foot, 175 pound Marois was the top goalie in the Great North Midget Hockey League in 2019-2020 with a 2.16 goals against average in 1,280 minutes of action.
Marois also played in the Great North in 2018-2019.
His work in the Great North loop was enough for Marois to earn an invitation to attend the upcoming Ontario Hockey League camp of the London Knights as a free agent.…[read more]
August 6, 2020
It spells cautious optimism and hope, albeit with some lingering uncertainty.
It is a date that players, coaches, fans — and anyone with any sort of association to the Ontario Hockey League — can focus on and look forward to.
And while there is still so much to do as the COVID-19 pandemic remains in our midst, the recent announcement by the OHL that it plans to begin the 2020-2021 regular season on December 1 has at least partially pulled the major junior league from the state of relative dormancy it has been in since the 2019-2020 season was shut down in mid March of this year.
For players like 19-year old forward Nick Porco, a Sault Ste. Marie native and member of the OHL’s Barrie Colts, it is something to work towards.…[read more]
August 5, 2020
A conditional plan is in place.
That is, Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch has confirmed a return to play for all 20 teams.
Planned start date is December 1, 2020, subject to ensuring that the players, fans, staff and community are able to play and attend games safely, said Branch.
Training camps for all 20 teams are expected to begin around the middle of November.…[read more]
August 3, 2020
There is no panic coming from Robert Mazzuca.
No panic in his voice. No panic in his plans. No panic in his actions.
Instead, the 10th year commissioner of the 11-team Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is playing the waiting game relative to when the 2020-2021 season might begin.
Meanwhile, the veteran NOJHL boss remains optimistic that the junior league — which includes 10 teams from northeastern Ontario and one northern Michigan based squad — will play at some point this season.…[read more]
August 1, 2020
This adds up as a commitment coup for the Kingston Frontenacs.
That is, forwards Martin Chromiak and Vitali Pinchuk have both committed to return to Kingston for the upcoming Ontario Hockey League season.
Both players were selected by Kingston during the 2019 Canadian Hockey League import draft and are coming off their rookie season with the Frontenacs.
After back-to-back losing seasons in which it won just 33 of 130 regular season games, Kingston is positioned to be an Eastern Conference contender in 2020-2021.…[read more]
July 31, 2020
Overachieving defenseman Keaston (Sticks) Blais has signed with the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
An ever-improving, hard-working, right-hand shooting defender with a late October, 2002 birth date, Blais has spent the past two seasons with the Timmins Majors of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
A character individual who hails from the northeastern Ontario town of Iroquois Falls, Blais greatly advanced his game over two seasons with the Timmins midgets under the watchful eye of no-nonsense Majors coach Brandon Perry.…[read more]
July 29, 2020
Junior hockey and the way it operates and carries on can be cyclical, trendy and copycat.
And while some may say or feel that junior hockey is a young man’s game when it comes to the art of coaching, that is simply not the case.
For example, as the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League both boast exceptional coaches who are in their 30s and 40s, so too do they feature high end bench bosses who are in their 50s and 60s.
In other words, when it comes to the NOJHL and OHL as two junior hockey leagues of illustration, a good coach is a good coach, regardless of age.…[read more]
July 28, 2020
There are multiple Birds flying into the junior hockey nest.
Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have commitments from more than 10 players ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
Included in the double digit list are confirmations from six local skaters — four returnees and two newcomers — that they will don the blue, orange and white jerseys of the Thunderbirds for the upcoming campaign…[read more]
July 28, 2020
The best team in the Central Canada Hockey League from the 2019-2020 season has added a crackerjack coach to its staff.
Hockey News North has confirmed that Marc Lafleur has joined the staff of the Carleton Place Canadians as an assistant coach under owner, general manager and head coach Jason Clarke.
The 45-year old Lafleur and the Hearst Lumberjacks recently parted ways, just over a year after he led what was a second-year franchise to the 2018-2019 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship.…[read more]
July 27, 2020
Junior hockey leagues throughout Ontario have been working on various proposals relative to a return to play at some point in the 2020-2021 season.
Under the Canadian Jr. Hockey League umbrella there are four junior A leagues that are based in Ontario. They are the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the Central Canada Hockey League, the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.
The province is also home to the Ontario Hockey League, which is part of the major junior level, Canadian Hockey League.…[read more]
July 25, 2020
This one ranks as a stunner.
After 12 years with the Kingston Frontenacs — first as assistant coach, then as assistant general manager, then as director of hockey operations, and most recently as general manager — Darren Keily was unceremoniously let go by the Ontario Hockey League team earlier this week.
The surprise announcement by Kingston owner Doug Springer was shocking for a number of reasons including the fact that Keily had just guided the Frontenacs through two trying seasons of rebuild and had them poised to become an Eastern Conference threat come the 2020-2021 season.…[read more]
July 24, 2020
It is an optimistic sign. Not a definitive one, perhaps.
But there is definitely a Bird sighting on the horizon, as in a planned, first flap of the wings.
To be sure, we see Birds on ice in the foreseeable future.
As in a tryout camp for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.…[read more]
July 24, 2020
Score a couple more commitments for the Espanola Express ahead of the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.…[read more]
July 22, 2020
Sault Ste. Marie residents Brad Boyer and Chad Vresk have joined the scouting staff of the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, Hockey News North has confirmed.…[read more]
July 20, 2020
One by one, from here and there, passengers are boarding the Express.
The number of players — returning and incoming — who have committed to the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the upcoming season is now in double digits.
Rather impressively, Espanola president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz currently has commitments from 10 players to be on the Express train to the Spanish River town once the 2020-2021 season begins.
Rapcewicz and the Express are out to build on a 2019-2020 season in which Espanola made the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-2016 term.…[read more]
July 19, 2020
One of the very best Junior A hockey coaches in Ontario is on the market.
Marc Lafleur and the Hearst Lumberjacks have parted ways, just over a year after he led what was a second-year franchise to the 2018-2019 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship.
The soon-to-be 45-year old Lafleur, who is a Hearst product, also had prior championship success as an NOJHL coach and general manager with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.…[read more]
July 19, 2020
Let us hope and pray that junior hockey will be played at some point during the 2020-2021 season. However, for example, what happens if the junior hockey season gets the go ahead to begin play but the Canada-United States border remains indefinitely closed?…[read more]
July 18, 2020
It was a straight up one for one trade that delivered the Espanola Express a new passenger ahead of the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.
And Express president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz has an idea of what 2001 birth year center James Eng will bring to Espanola for the coming season.
Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, the 5-foot-11, 170 pound Eng netted six goals, 15 assists, 21 points in 56 games for the French River Rapids as an NOJHL rookie in 2019-2020.…[read more]
July 17, 2020
There is a new occupant in the Bird house.
That is, Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have added a productive forward to their lineup ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
Russell Oldham, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound front line skater, has landed in the Bird nest via the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Of note, Oldham is also a 2018 Ontario Hockey League under-18 draft pick of the Flint Firebirds.…[read more]
July 16, 2020
Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will be holding their main tryout camp in less than a month.
Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has confirmed the mid August main camp dates and details.
The Eagles are one of 11 teams in the NOJHL and its lone American entry.…[read more]
July 14, 2020
Sault Ste. Marie product Cole Ambeault is changing Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams.
The 2001 birth year forward is heading down Highway 17 from the Blind River Beavers to the Rayside Balfour Canadians in a cash exchange between the NOJHL rivals.
Ambeault is making the move for school reasons, being that he is planning on going to school at Cambrian College in Sudbury in the fall.…[read more]
July 13, 2020
Rock and roll with a band of four.
Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has a firm, formidable foundation to build on ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
Hockey News North has confirmed that four Rock stars — goalie Ty Masternak and forwards Derek Seguin, Josh Dickson and Gabby Kioki — have committed to return to Timmins for another season.
Seguin, of note, is a local product and team captain.…[read more]