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.

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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.

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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]

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]