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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

Back on the Express line


Randy Russon
By
June 11, 2020

The train is starting to chug along the Express tracks in the Spanish River town of Espanola.

Espanola Express president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz has confirmed to Hockey News North the commitments of two seasoned skaters with northern Ontario roots for the 2020-2021 season.

The Express had a turnaround term in 2019-2020 and made the playoffs in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the first time since the 2015-2016 campaign.

…[read more]

Beware the Beavers


Randy Russon
By
June 10, 2020

They are the junior hockey epitome of small market success. Playing out of a venerable Highway 17 town with a population base of about 3,500, Blind River Beavers have put together four straight winning seasons in establishing the franchise as one of the best in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

T-Birds to look at local goalie


Randy Russon
By
June 8, 2020

Once they are cleared to hold their summer ice camp — dependent on restrictions being lifted relative to the COVID-19 pandemic — Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League plan to take a look at local goalie Zach Prusky.

Zach Prusky

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Prusky, who has a 2003 birth date, spent the 2019-2020 season as a rookie with the New Liskeard Cubs of the Great North Midget Hockey League.

Impressively, in true workhorse fashion, Prusky played the most minutes — 1,741 — of any goalie in the Great North loop in 2019-2020.

…[read more]

Birds of the Soo nest


Randy Russon
By
June 7, 2020

There is a lot that can happen between now and the start of the 2020-2021 junior hockey season relative to player personnel.

Tristan Cicchello

And just as much can change between the beginning of the season and the end of it.

But as it currently stands, Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have no less than nine local kids who could be a part of the team when the first puck drops on the 2020-2021 campaign.

…[read more]

T-Birds take in two locals


Randy Russon
By
June 6, 2020

It is a bonus when a junior hockey team can sign a local player.

Ty Zachary is one of two local rookies who have signed up to play for new Soo Thunderbirds coach Denny Lambert.

It is a double bonus when the team can add two locals at once.

Two of the top four scorers from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League will stay at home to suit up for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League come the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

RBC gives $10K to NOFCC


Randy Russon
By
June 5, 2020

Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have scored big for the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer group.

…[read more]

T-Birds will be set to go


Randy Russon
By
June 4, 2020

There is mindful optimism — even if it is from reading between the lines — that there will be a 2020-2021 junior hockey season.

And Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will be a nice mix of old and new once teams are able to stick handle around the COVID-19 obstacle.

Incoming head coach Denny Lambert and his bench staff will be looking to work from the inside and outside as the Thunderbirds move on from a 2019-2020 season in which they finished in third place in the West Division with a record of 30-19-7.

…[read more]