It was a first for the Hounds


Randy Russon
By
January 12, 2021

Craig Hartsburg, as a 16-year old rookie

They had missed the playoffs in each of their first three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, beginning with their debut campaign of 1972-1973.

And fans and supporters of the Greyhounds — who were used to the winning ways from the team’s days in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association — were becoming restless and impatient.

…[read more]

What’s next for the OHL?


Randy Russon
By
December 27, 2020

OHL commissioner David Branch

Regular season action in junior hockey leagues that span northeastern and northwestern Ontario got underway in November with new playing rules that ban intentional contact — and with very few spectators allowed in the arenas.

But while the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League began regular season play on November 13 and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League started two weeks later, the higher level, higher stakes Ontario Hockey League has remained idle.

…[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]

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]

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]

Flint to Leamington


Randy Russon
By
November 25, 2020

Top prospect goalie Chazz Nixon has been assigned by the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League to the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

The GOJHL has been cleared by the Ontario Hockey Federation to begin regular season play in January while the OHL has targeted February as its planned start date.

…[read more]

Such a good, good man


Randy Russon
By
November 22, 2020

Jim McAuley

He defined kindness and generosity with a trademark, friendly smile and the warmest of hearts.

A much respected, benevolent gentleman who was well known and well liked, he shunned the limelight even though he was so active in the community as a businessman, volunteer and philanthropist.

He had a love for dogs and a soft heart for the less fortunate and he gave so much in so many ways and asked for nothing in return.

…[read more]

New scouting gig for Soo boy


Randy Russon
By
November 1, 2020

Mike Dawson

As a medium size defenseman at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Mike Dawson made it to the Ontario Hockey League through hard work and perseverance.

A seventh round pick of the Kingston Frontenacs from the Soo Legion midgets at the 1990 priority selections draft, Dawson went on to play three full seasons in the OHL.

He later played five seasons of Atlantic Canada university hockey in total at both Acadia and St. Mary’s followed by two years of pro hockey in Holland and another in the minor pro, Central Hockey League.

Now 47 years of age, the Sault Ste. Marie product has taken his work ethic and knowledge of the game to an ongoing full-time scouting position in the National Hockey League.

…[read more]

NOJHL is on ice; OHL is not


Randy Russon
By
October 28, 2020

Espanola Express and other teams of the NOJHL could be returning to play in the near future

This is a statement of fact relative to the coronavirus and two levels of junior hockey in Ontario.

That is, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League does not have to take a lead from the Ontario Hockey League as it pertains to a return to play for the 2020-2021 season.

Because folks, as the OHL will remain in a shutdown until the new year, the majority of the teams in the NOJHL have been on the ice since the middle of September in the form of skills, drills and in-house scrimmages.

…[read more]

Angelo Bumbacco passes away


Randy Russon
By
October 28, 2020

Angelo Bumbacco

Sault Ste. Marie and its wide ranging hockey family has lost an absolute legend of the game.

Hockey News North has confirmed that the iconic Angelo Bumbacco has passed away at the age of 88.

Born and raised in the Sault, Bumbacco was to undergo hip surgery on Tuesday but he died before going into the operating room, according to a family member.

…[read more]

On the NHL ‘watch list’


Randy Russon
By
October 27, 2020

Jack Matier

A pair of former Great North Midget Hockey League opponents and a scoring star from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are on the radar of the National Hockey League’s central scouting department.

They are among a few hundred prospects who are on the ‘preliminary players to watch list’ ahead of the 2021 NHL draft.

The list is a compilation of top prospects from all the major development leagues throughout North America and Europe. It will be updated throughout the season as scouts further evaluate the players.

…[read more]

Toms in training with T-Birds


Randy Russon
By
October 22, 2020

Connor Toms

He has the ‘natural athlete’ bloodlines from the Pettenuzzo side of his mom’s family.

And his dad is a very driven individual who went from being a 13th round draft pick to become an Ontario Hockey League star and from being a ninth round draft pick to play in more than 235 games in the National Hockey League.

A budding prospect and a good athlete in his own right as a third round pick of the Soo Greyhounds at the 2020 OHL priority selections draft, 2004 birth year defenseman Connor Toms is currently skating with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

Working the Knight shift


Randy Russon
By
October 9, 2020

Luke Evangelista

If you don’t like, appreciate, or respect the London Knights, you might want to skip this story.

That is, Luke Evangelista is just the latest example of how the Knights develop their hockey players the London way.

The 2002 birth year forward went from a whitewash of an Ontario Hockey League rookie season with the Knights in 2018-2019 to becoming a second round National Hockey League draft pick of the Nashville Predators in 2020.

…[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]

Flint deals with London


Randy Russon
By
September 21, 2020

Once a Knight, now a Firebird.

Flint Firebirds have acquired highly touted forward Sahil Panwar in an Ontario Hockey League transaction with the London Knights.

Flint has transferred its fourth round pick at the 2021 OHL priority selections draft to London in exchange for the 6-foot-1, 180 pound Panwar.

…[read more]

OHL to Austria pro league


Randy Russon
By
September 16, 2020

Daylon Groulx

A durable, honest, hard nosed, two way right winger has turned three full seasons in the Ontario Hockey League into a professional contract in Austria.

Daylon Groulx, who would be going into his overage season in the OHL, has instead opted to turn pro as a 20-year old.

The 6 foot, 185 pound Groulx finished up his OHL career with the Ottawa 67’s in 2019-2020 after being acquired from the Owen Sound Attack for three draft picks.

…[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]

Kory is back in Kingston


Randy Russon
By
September 11, 2020

Kory Cooper and Paul McFarland

K is for Kory. K is for Kingston.

Kory Cooper is back in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kingston Frontenacs, this time as their assistant general manager and goalie coach.

Cooper will work under Paul McFarland, who earlier this summer returned to the Frontenacs as coach and general manager after three seasons as an assistant in the National Hockey League.

…[read more]

Confidence a key for Calisti


HockeyNewsNorth.com Staff
By
September 6, 2020

Robert Calisti

Robert Calisti has made gigantic strides since his rookie season of 2017-2018 with the Soo Greyhounds when he dressed for only six games in the Ontario Hockey League and did not pick up a point.

After being picked by the Greyhounds in the third round, 44th overall, of the 2017 OHL priority selections draft, Calisti would spend the majority of the 2017-2018 campaign with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Regular season and playoffs included that 2017-2018 term, Calisti played in 46 games with the Thunderbirds and produced eight goals, 22 assists, 30 points from his defense position.

…[read more]

Toms is for the T-Birds


Randy Russon
By
August 29, 2020

One way or another, Connor Toms will be remaining at home to play junior hockey this season.

If the 16-year old defenseman does not make the roster of the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, he will man the blue line for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary has confirmed the signing of the medium sized defender, who was a third round pick, 44th overall, by the Greyhounds at the 2020 OHL priority selections draft.

…[read more]

Mason Chitaroni has Plan B


Randy Russon
By
August 27, 2020

Mason Chitaroni

It is the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League that Mason Chitaroni wants to play for this season.

That is 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 OHL priority selections draft from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League.

But if Chitaroni doesn’t make the Knights as a 16-year old, he has a Plan B in place with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

First T.J. Aceti award winner


Randy Russon
By
August 22, 2020

Cash Rowswell, with the parents of T.J. Aceti, Rose and Tony (photo by Mary Desimone)

Cash Rowswell has been selected as the first ever winner of the T.J. Aceti Goalie Award.

Young Rowswell was presented with the award today at an emotional, albeit informal backyard gathering.

A goalie who competed at the pee wee major AA level within the Sault Major Hockey Association during the 2019-2020 season, the 13-year old Rowswell was the unanimous choice by a four person committee as the winner of the T.J. Aceti Goalie Award from a group of eight other local puck stoppers.

…[read more]

New commander in Cochrane


Randy Russon
By
August 21, 2020

Tom Nickolau

Memorial Cup champion and National Hockey League draft pick Tom Nickolau is taking the reins of the Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

The 54-year old Nickolau has purchased the Cochrane franchise from previous owners Ryan Leonard and Katherine Leonard.

Nickolau, who was a member of the 1986 Ontario Hockey League and Memorial Cup champion Guelph Platers, also holds the distinction of being an NHL draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings.

…[read more]

Kingston on the cusp


Randy Russon
By
August 18, 2020

An off season of change in leadership relative to the rebuilding of the Kingston Frontenacs has taken on a major contractor to do two jobs.

Paul McFarland, with Kingston Frontenacs owner Doug Springer

The Ontario Hockey League team has given coach Paul McFarland added responsibility as its new general manager. As the new GM, McFarland replaces Darren Keily, who was fired last month.

Just over two months before surprisingly releasing Keily, who had been with the organization for 12 years, the Frontenacs fired head coach Kurtis Foster after two seasons on the job to make way for the return of McFarland, who had been an assistant in the National Hockey League the past three years. Before leaving for the NHL, McFarland had three straight winning seasons as the bench boss in Kingston.

…[read more]

New gig for John Parco


Randy Russon
By
August 16, 2020

John Parco

A successful three season run at the helm of the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has turned into a new challenge for high end coach John Parco.

The soon to be 49 year old Sault Ste. Marie product has signed a two-year contract with the Italian Ice Hockey Federation.

In his new role, Parco will be the director of hockey development for the Italian Federation.

…[read more]

Colts could be Barrie good


Randy Russon
By
August 14, 2020

Nick Porco

Horse power is poised to make some noise in and around Barrie.

And 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.

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.

…[read more]