T-Birds nab Soo boy Novello


Randy Russon
By
October 19, 2020

Yet another local product has caught the eyes of the Soo Thunderbirds.

Ethan Novello, a 2003 birth year forward, has signed a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League card with the Thunderbirds, Hockey News North has confirmed.

Novello is known for his work ethic, something that Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary alluded to, in correspondence with Hockey News North.

…[read more]

Junior hockey’s return to play


Randy Russon
By
October 18, 2020

Players such as Josh Boucher and A.J. Favot of the Espanola Express hope to soon be celebrating a return to play

Could this be the beginning of more junior hockey action?

The news that the 12 teams representing the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League have been cleared for an immediate return to the playing of games might be taken as good news for the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

As the province of Saskatchewan has relatively few cases of the coronavirus, so too does northeastern Ontario, where 10 of the NOJHL’s 11 teams are located.

…[read more]

T-Birds add to their net


Randy Russon
By
October 16, 2020

Alex Bugeja

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have solidified their goalie tandem ahead of the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.

Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary has confirmed the acquisition of 2001 birth year net minder Alex Bugeja from the Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.

Zachary referred to the 5-foot-10, 190 pound Bugeja as “a very good goalie with focus and work ethic.”

…[read more]

Eagles in flight with few vets


Randy Russon
By
October 15, 2020

Soo Eagles have a fresh faced look to them with no less than 18 newcomers to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League who have been signed by president and general manager Bruno Bragagnolo.

Still, the Eagles do have a sprinkling of time tested veterans for coach Doug Laprade and his staff to look to for leadership and experience over the course of the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

Busy slate for Soo Eagles


Randy Russon
By
October 14, 2020

Captain Bobby Price and the Soo Eagles in action against the USNTDP under 17 squad

Ice time aplenty, in the form of practices and games, is underway for one area junior A hockey team.

To be sure, exhibition matches against high level opponents are on the agenda for the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League over the next few weeks.

A pair of home games against the powerhouse United States National Team Development Program under-17 squad will be followed by two road trips and then another set of contests within the friendly confines of Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.

…[read more]

Local talent a T-Bird priority


Randy Russon
By
October 8, 2020

When the Soo Thunderbirds were admitted into the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League back in 1999, the locally operated franchise had a firm mandate.

Led by Sam Biasucci and several other Sault Ste. Marie business people, the Thunderbird owners vowed to be a haven for local products who were ready to move up from the town’s minor hockey and high school hockey ranks.

To be sure, Biasucci et al stayed true to form for the first couple of years of the Thunderbirds existence in the NOJHL. And later, when Pat Egan and Al Jones took over as operators and moved on from Jim Capy to Toots Kovacs as their head coach, the Thunderbirds were again made up of 95 to 100 per cent local players.

…[read more]

Ex-NOJHLer drafted to NHL


Randy Russon
By
October 7, 2020

Phillipe Daoust

This looms as a feel good story.

Speedy forward Phillipe Daoust, who skated for the French River Rapids of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League as a rookie during the 2018-2019 season, has become a National Hockey League draft pick.

The 6-foot, 165 pound Daoust, who has a November, 2001 birth date, was a surprise pick of the Ottawa Senators in the sixth round of today’s NHL draft.

…[read more]

Junior hockey variances


Randy Russon
By
October 6, 2020

Return to play scenarios for junior hockey in Ontario are contrasts in distinction.

Players like Cameron Walker of the Espanola Express of the NOJHL are awaiting word on a potential return to play

For example, while teams in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the eastern Ontario based Central Canada Hockey League are on the ice holding drills that vary from skill sessions to non contact scrimmages, members representing the Ontario Hockey League remain in a dormant state relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both commissioner Robert Mazzuca of the NOJHL and CCHL commander in chief Kevin Abrams are maintaining a wait and see attitude as they keep in touch with public health officials and their respective governing bodies while overseeing their respective leagues during these unprecedented times.

…[read more]

New assistant in Espanola


Randy Russon
By
October 5, 2020

One of the highest scoring — and, pound for pound, toughest — forwards to ever skate in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is returning to his roots.

Hockey News North has confirmed that 51-year old Shawn Dubois has joined the Espanola Express as an assistant coach under new bench boss Brent Hughes.

A local resident who is originally from the nearby, Highway 17 town of Blind River, Dubois now works in the Espanola area as a sales person.

…[read more]

Birds all over the Rhodes


Randy Russon
By
October 1, 2020

Soo Thunderbirds are just one of a number of teams in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League who have recently hit the ice ahead of the upcoming season.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one can say with any degree of certainty when the 2020-2021 NOJHL season will begin, even in the form of exhibition matches.

Still, the majority of teams in the 11-member NOJHL have been holding non contact skill and drill sessions as health and safety precautions are being observed relative to COVID-19.

…[read more]

A flock full of local Birds


Randy Russon
By
September 28, 2020

In true homegrown fashion, the Soo Thunderbirds have already signed 11 — yes, 11 — local skaters ahead of the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.

…[read more]

Skills, drills on the Express


Randy Russon
By
September 27, 2020

Second year skater Cole Delarosbil is taking to the approach of his new coach.

Brent Hughes

Delarosbil, a 2001 birth year forward from Sault Ste. Marie, was responding to being asked by Hockey News North how the first week of the skills and drills camp of the Espanola Express went under new bench boss Brent Hughes.

The 38-year old Hughes was hired as head coach of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League team earlier this summer after three straight winning seasons as an assistant with the Cape Breton Eagles of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Nice local look for T-Birds


Randy Russon
By
September 26, 2020

Scout local. Stay local. Play local.

The current operators have got it down pat.

Most recently, it was confirmed that Tyson Doucette, a 2004 birth year forward, is 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]

Soo T-Birds stay local


Randy Russon
By
September 25, 2020

Tyson Doucette, a 2004 birth year forward, is 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]

Mauro boys in Beaver dam


Randy Russon
By
September 25, 2020

Justin Mauro

They are a pair of high performance players with speed and a smart skill set.

And they just happen to be siblings.

To be sure, a brother act is prepared to take the stage for the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

As in, Devin Mauro will join his older brother Justin Mauro in Blind River for the upcoming NOJHL season.

…[read more]

Birds go Young in the net


Randy Russon
By
September 24, 2020

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have a new goalie. Hockey News North has confirmed the signing of a new Bird in the nest, er, net.

…[read more]

Net gain for Espanola


Randy Russon
By
September 20, 2020

Goalie Owen Willis, a 2018 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft pick of the London Knights, has signed with the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Willis, who has a late 2002 birth date, was London’s 13th round pick in 2018.

The 6-foot-3, 175 pound Willis tended twine for the Toronto Titans under-18 team in 2019-2020.

…[read more]

T-Birds sign two Soo boys


Randy Russon
By
September 18, 2020

A pair of local products have flapped their way into the Bird nest, Hockey News North has confirmed.

Parker Morgan, a 2000 birth year forward, and Kaden Dundas, a defenseman with a 2003 birth date, have signed up to play for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

T-Birds add Timmins d-man


Randy Russon
By
September 17, 2020

Cameron Dutkiewicz

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have acquired smart, skilled 2001 birth year defenseman Cameron Dutkiewicz in a cash exchange.

A Timmins native, the 6 foot, 190 pound Dutkiewicz spent the 2019-2020 season with the Renfrew Timberwolves of the Central Canada Hockey League 2 division.

He netted four goals, 11 assists, 15 points in 40 games for Renfrew.

…[read more]

Bibby boards the Express


Randy Russon
By
September 15, 2020

Destination, Espanola.

A 15-year old youngster who was chosen at the 2020 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft has signed with the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

He is left winger Luke Bibby, a 13th round draft pick of the Owen Sound Attack from the Brantford 99ers under-16 team.

…[read more]

Beavers give Jameus a shot


Randy Russon
By
September 14, 2020

Nick Jameus

After originally committing to the Soo Eagles, Nick Jameus has instead signed with the Blind River Beavers.

A 2002 birth year forward, Jameus spent his rookie, 2019-2020 season in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the Elliot Lake Wildcats.

Elliot Lake has taken a leave of absence from the NOJHL for the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

Express train runs north


Randy Russon
By
September 13, 2020

Carson Boutin
Cole Delarosbil

No less than seven players with northeastern Ontario roots could very well be impact performers for the Espanola Express this season.

All are veterans with prior experience in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League who just might be a part of the Express having its first winning season in a franchise history that began in 2015.

Espanola is coming off of a 2019-2020 season in which it posted a record of 17-34-5 in sneaking into the West Division playoffs for the first time since its inaugural 2015-2016 NOJHL campaign.

…[read more]

Deforge lands on the Rock


Randy Russon
By
September 10, 2020

Landon Deforge

A hometown standout is remaining at home in Timmins to play hockey this season.

A skilled, smart, front line skater, Landon Deforge is moving up from the Timmins Majors of the Great North Midget Hockey League to the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

And both Deforge’s former coach with the Majors and his new coach with the Rock have plenty good to say about the 5-foot-8, 160 pound pivot who has a 2003 birth date.

…[read more]

New bench boss for Rayside


Randy Russon
By
September 10, 2020

The reigning West Division pace setters from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have hired a new head coach.

Vagelli Sakellaris replaces Dan Cuomo as bench boss of the Rayside Balfour Canadians.

Cuomo, who held the position for the past two seasons, has opted to remain overseas in the Holland region of Netherlands with his family because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

…[read more]

Small market sizzle


Randy Russon
By
September 9, 2020

Their combined population is less than 10,000 residents.

Located along rugged highways between the much bigger places of Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, the small market towns that house the Blind River Beavers and Espanola Express are separated by a mere one hour drive.

And looking ahead to the 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season, Blind River and Espanola seem set up to be formidable foes.

Which would be a boost for the Beavers-Express rivalry that has favoured Blind River over Espanola in the standings since the Express entered the NOJHL as a first year franchise in 2015.

…[read more]

RBC picks up points in Perala


Randy Russon
By
September 9, 2020

Owen Perala

Productive forward Owen Perala has joined the Rayside Balfour Canadians via future considerations trade with the Cochrane Crunch.

The 6-foot-4, 195 pound forward has already played two full seasons in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for Cochrane.

Hailing from the northwestern Ontario town of Nipigon, Perala netted 21 goals, 28 assists, 49 points in 55 games for Cochrane during the 2019-2020 campaign.

…[read more]