Colts could be Barrie good


Randy Russon
By
August 14, 2020

A couple of northern Ontario boys represent a faction of high end skaters who figure to make the Barrie Colts an Eastern Conference contender come the 2020-2021 Ontario Hockey League season.

Nick Porco

Left winger Nick Porco, a Sault Ste. Marie product, and pride of Powassan defenseman Connor Punnett are two players who went to Barrie in separate exchanges with the Saginaw Spirit during the 2019-2020 season.

Porco (2017) and Punnett (2019) are both former first round, OHL priority selection draft picks of Saginaw who joined Barrie in big trades triggered by Colts general manager Jason Ford.

…[read more]

Fronts zero in on new GM


Randy Russon
By
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]

OHL return to play reaction


Randy Russon
By
August 6, 2020

It spells cautious optimism and hope, albeit with some lingering uncertainty.

Barrie Colts forward Nick Porco

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]

OHL has its D-day plan


Randy Russon
By
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]

Imports commit to Kingston


Randy Russon
By
August 1, 2020

This adds up as a commitment coup for the Kingston Frontenacs.

Vitali Pinchuk (left) and Martin Chromiak

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]

A good coach is a good coach


Randy Russon
By
July 29, 2020

Junior hockey and the way it operates and carries on can be cyclical, trendy and copycat.

Dan Cuomo

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]

Return to play proposals


Randy Russon
By
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.

Soo Thunderbirds and Blind River Beavers are division rivals in the NOJHL.

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]

Kerfuffle in Kingston


Randy Russon
By
July 25, 2020

This one ranks as a stunner.

Darren Keily

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]

Cross border hockey issues


Randy Russon
By
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]

Spitfires swoop a defender


Randy Russon
By
July 1, 2020

Windsor Spitfires have added another defenseman to their blue line brigade.

The Spitfires have acquired 2002 birth year defender Michael Renwick from the Hamilton Bulldogs for a second round pick at the 2022 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.

Of note, Renwick is a grandson of former Spitfires assistant coach Dave Prpich.

…[read more]

Frontenacs take a pass


Randy Russon
By
June 30, 2020

Kingston Frontenacs general manager Darren Keily is more than happy with the two import forwards that the Ontario Hockey League team has on its roster.

Thus, the Frontenacs — who are poised to become a very competitive OHL team after two seasons of major rebuild — have opted to pass on taking part in today’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

Instead, the Frontenacs will retain their two players from the 2019 CHL import draft — forwards Martin Chromiak and Vitali Pinchuk.

…[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]

OHL trade reprise


Randy Russon
By
June 20, 2020

Trade season in the Ontario Hockey League opened on June 1.

And while there has not been a flurry of activity, several seasoned skaters have been swapped from one OHL team to another.

North Bay Battalion has been involved in two significant transactions while frequent trade partners, Flint Firebirds and Guelph Storm, made yet another exchange with each other. In the space of 12 months — from last off season to this one — Flint and Guelph have made no less than five trades with each other.

Meanwhile, Saginaw Spirit pulled off what could be a helluva heist in getting a former first round pick from North Bay for a bargain price.

…[read more]

Flint, Guelph make a deal


Randy Russon
By
June 16, 2020

Flint Firebirds have bolstered their blue line brigade via Ontario Hockey League trade with the Guelph Storm.

Highly-touted defenseman Zack Terry is on the move from Guelph to Flint for a pair of 2023 draft picks.

In confirming the trade, Firebirds general manager Barclay Branch referred to Terry as “both an impressive player and person.”

…[read more]

Kingston trio makes music


Randy Russon
By
June 2, 2020

A troika of forwards stands tall in the talent pool that is poised to help elevate the Kingston Frontenacs into future Ontario Hockey League contention.

Shane Wright

Center Shane Wright and wingers Zayde Wisdom and Martin Chromiak are first line pieces of the puzzle that have Kingston ticketed for emergence within the Eastern Conference come the next OHL season.

All three were major points producers with the Frontenacs during the 2019-2020 season — and they all have time on their side in the form of remaining OHL eligibility.

…[read more]

Hounds have 50-50 shot


Randy Russon
By
June 1, 2020

Soo Greyhounds have a better chance of being in the 2021 Memorial Cup tournament than they do of winning next spring’s Ontario Hockey League championship. To be sure, the Greyhounds have to beat out only one team — the Oshawa Generals — to gain automatic entry into the 2021 national championship event.

…[read more]

Schlueting to Saginaw


Randy Russon
By
June 1, 2020

Saginaw Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill has started the Ontario Hockey League trade season with a bargain pickup.

Pacey Schlueting

Drinkill has obtained 2002 birth year defenseman Pacey Schlueting from the North Bay Battalion for a fourth round draft pick in 2024 and a 12th round pick in 2023.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Schlueting was a first round pick of the Battalion, ninth overall, at the 2018 OHL priority selections draft from his hometown North Bay Trappers of the Great North Midget Hockey League.

…[read more]

Dressed for the Knights


Randy Russon
By
May 29, 2020

He has the hat. He has the t-shirt.

Mason Chitaroni

Next, it is the jersey of the London Knights that Mason Chitaroni wants to wear.

That’s because Chitaroni is a plum prospect of the Knights, who took the 5-foot-10, 150-pound defender in the fifth round, 99th overall, at this year’s Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League.

“I want to show London that they made the right choice in drafting me,” the 15-year old youngster relayed to Hockey News North.

…[read more]

Top 12 OHL rookies are …


HockeyNewsNorth.com Staff
By
May 27, 2020

Ontario Hockey League has confirmed its first and second team all-rookie selections from the 2019-2020 season. General managers from the 20 OHL teams conducted the voting process.

…[read more]

Two teams on the upswing


Randy Russon
By
May 26, 2020

When a team has been at the bottom of the standings, it figures that there is no place to go but up.

Two years ago, the 2018-2019 season, it was the Kingston Frontenacs who finished in last place in the 20-team Ontario Hockey League. And this past season, the 2019-2020 campaign, it was the North Bay Battalion which had the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the OHL.

…[read more]

Lambert to lead T-Birds


Randy Russon
By
May 20, 2020

This is a multiple coaching hire of well known local hockey people.

Denny Lambert

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will have a new look coaching staff for the 2020-2021 season, Hockey News North has confirmed. And leading the way as the new bench boss of the T-Birds is a man who played the game at its highest level.

…[read more]

Guarding the Greyhound net


Randy Russon
By
May 20, 2020

A pressing question relative to the Soo Greyhounds ahead of the 2020-2021 Ontario Hockey League season correlates with the most paramount position of all.

Nick Malik

Who will be the goalies for a Greyhound team that sees itself as a contender to the extent that it is bidding to play host to the 2021 Memorial Cup tournament and be a participant?

…[read more]

Ryan Dugas has the numbers


Randy Russon
By
May 19, 2020

On a Kingston Frontenacs team that posted the worst overall record in the Ontario Hockey League over the past two seasons, it was their youngest goalie who had the best numbers of any puck stopper. By far.

…[read more]

Famine of the Frontenacs


Randy Russon
By
May 17, 2020

General manager Darren Keily has a distant goal of bringing a long-awaited Ontario Hockey League championship to Kingston. So too does head coach Paul McFarland. But that may be much easier said than done considering the Kingston Frontenacs have never — ever — won an OHL title.

…[read more]