One of the youngest players in the Great North Midget Hockey League will debut with the Soo Thunderbirds this weekend when the first-year minor midget entry plays the visiting Timmins Majors.
Jack Matier will hit the ice with the Thunderbird minor midgets after the Northern Ontario Hockey Association wisely over-ruled the Sault Major Hockey Association and allowed the talented, 2003 birth-year defenseman to move up a level and play on a team of 2002 birth-year skaters.
As an underage player, Matier needed the permission of Sault Major to try out for the Thunderbird minor midgets earlier this summer. And not only did Sault Major grant Matier permission to try out, the youngster subsequently made the team.
However, Sault Major did an about face and refused to give Matier his release to play minor midget, wanting him to play at the bantam level instead.
The Matier family subsequently appealed Sault Major’s decision to the NOHA. And less than 48 hours after hearing Matier’s appeal last week, the NOHA gave the 14-year old youngster the go-head to suit up for the Thunderbird minor midgets this season.
Matier and the Thunderbird minor midgets will see their first action of the Great North regular season on Saturday when they play host to aforementioned Timmins in a 6:30 p.m. match at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Saturday’s game will be one of three that Timmins will play in the Soo this weekend. Timmins will also play a pair of games against the Soo Greyhounds major midgets — Friday night at 8:30 at the Essar Centre and Sunday afternoon at 1:00 at the Rhodes Centre.
The Greyhounds have already played three games to start the 2017-2018 regular season, having taken two of three matches — including an overtime triumph — from the visiting Kapuskasing Flyers last weekend.
SOO MINOR MIDGET THUNDERBIRDS
Following is the roster for the Soo Minor Midget Thunderbirds, who will make their Great North Midget Hockey League regular season debut this weekend.
FORWARDS: Michael Neveau, Michael Chaffay, Hunter Rheaume, Jacob Sewell, Brock Santa Maria, Issac Parise, Jason McCormick, Justin Mauro, Travis Dowhaniuk, Nathan Fortin, Cooper Smyl, Ty Zachary.
DEFENSEMEN: Beau Neveau, Jack Matier, Mateo Perri, Colton Smithers, Nathan Headrick.
GOALIES: Noah Zeppa, Tyler Greco.
All players have 2002 birth dates with the exception of Matier, who was born in 2003.
PHOTO: Jack Matier, in action as a 12-year old with the Soo Greyhounds rep team during the 2015-2016 season. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)