They are off and running. Soo Jr. Greyhounds hold down first place in the Great North Midget Hockey League through eight games of the 2019-2020 regular season with a record of 7-1-0.
After several so-so seasons as a major midget entry in the Great North, the Soo turnaround of 2019-2020 can partially be traced to the prepared, effective coaching of Jamie Henderson and a quality blend of players with 2002, 2003 and 2004 birth dates.
While the Jr. Greyhounds have youth on their side with no less than eight players who were born in 2004, they also feature four others who are at the older end of the scale with 2002 birth dates.
Interestingly, one of the 2002 birth year forwards has the least experience of any at that position.
He is Dylan Forsyth, who is in his second season with the Soo major midgets. The catch being though, that less than four years ago, Forsyth was a goalie — yes, a goalie — within the Sault Major Hockey Association ranks.
But despite his limited experience as a forward at a level such as AAA major midget, the 6-foot, 170-pound Forsyth is one of the leading scorers on the Jr. Greyhounds with four goals, two assists, six points through eight league games thus far this 2019-2020 season.
Why the switch from goalie to forward?
Well, Forsyth, appearing on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show on Sault Ste. Marie radio station ESPN 1400, had a simple explanation.
“I got sick of people scoring on me,” Forsyth laughed, “so I thought I would (switch to forward) and get a bit of revenge.”
At any rate, the transformation from goalie to forward — and as a teenager, no less — has been noticeable in Forsyth, who is a Grade 12 high school student at St. Mary’s College.
After appearing in 18 games with the Soo major midgets last season and tallying three goals and three assists, Forsyth already has that many points — as previously noted — in eight games this season.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Henderson, who is in his first season as head coach of the Soo major midgets — he coached the local minor midget squad the past two years — said that the “work ethic of Dylan really stands out. That, and his willingness to listen and learn. He is willing to do what it takes to improve … he is becoming a really good, all-around player.”
Forsyth, from his end, noted how diligent and demanding Henderson is, while making practices meaningful.
“Coach Henderson really uses practices to develop us as players,” Forsyth relayed. “He pushes the pace … he has really helped me a lot.”
Forsyth is one of several players on the Jr. Greyhounds who are off to a good start to the 2019-2020 season in the Great North loop.
Devin Mauro leads the Soo scoring parade with eight goals, eight assists, 16 points followed by Gavin Ritacco with 5-7-12 numbers, Ethan Esposito with 6-5-11 totals, Michael Chaffay at 6-2-8, Connor Toms at 4-3-7, Forsyth at 4-2-6 and Tyson Doucette at 1-5-6.
All except Toms are forwards.
Mauro, Toms and Doucette are all 2004 birth year rookies while Ritacco and Esposito were born in 2003 and Chaffay and Forsyth have 2002 birth dates.
The Jr. Greyhounds are in Ottawa this weekend for a tournament before returning home for league play on October 25, 26 and 27 with three games against the North Bay Major Trappers.
PHOTO: Soo Jr. Greyhounds forward Dylan Forsyth. (Photo by Mary Desimone.)