Good scout v. ordinary scout

Randy Russon
February 14, 2018

The ordinary scout who tracks the Great North Midget Hockey League is the one who shows up when all the others do and goes along with whatever the majority is saying about a certain player.

The good scout is the one who does his own research and completes his homework in a thorough fashion and who is not afraid to go against the flow of popular opinion.

While the ordinary scout doesn’t venture beyond Sudbury or North Bay and does his player evaluations based on visits to those two towns or a southern Ontario showcase or two, the good scout recognizes that they actually have major midget and minor midget teams in places such as Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.

And as the ordinary scout will limit his player evaluation focus to only include the ones who made Team Northern Ontario Hockey Association, the good scout will look beyond the chosen few and recognize that Team NOHA might also be called Team Sudbury/Team North Bay.

After all, 17 of the 19 players who will make up the 2018 edition of Team NOHA that will compete at the OHL Cup next month play for either the North Bay Trappers minor midgets or the Sudbury Wolves minor midgets.

It should also be noted that the Team NOHA director of operations, its head coach and its two lead assistant coaches are from either North Bay or Sudbury.

Note the two town pattern that there is to Team NOHA?

To be sure, of the three minor midget teams that competed within the Great North league this season, North Bay and Sudbury had far better records than the Sault Ste. Marie squad did. And that is where the ordinary scout v. the good scout again comes in to play.

Let us first take note of goalie Noah Zeppa of the Soo Thunderbirds minor midgets.

Zeppa may be just 5-foot-8, 150 pounds but he plays bigger. And he stops the puck, to the tune of about 50 of them during a given game.

Then there are Zeppa’s so-so statistics that show a 2-8-4 record and a 4.13 goals against average.

But while the lowly Soo minor midgets were 2-8-4 with a 4.13 goals against average in the games Zeppa played, they had a record of 0-10-0 with a 6.52 GAA in the games he did not play.

There is also the fact that Zeppa — who has a December, 2002 birth date — posted one of his victories during the 2017-2018 regular season over the North Bay Trappers major midgets. Yes, the North Bay MAJOR midgets, who lost only three of 36 regular season games.

The ordinary scout probably does not know all of us.

In fact, the ordinary scout probably does not even care as he instead is looking ahead to next month’s OHL Cup and the fact that Zeppa was not picked to play for Team NOHA, which instead opted to go with two goalies from — you guessed it — Sudbury and North Bay.

The ordinary scout has probably never heard of minor midget aged forward Kobe Barrette of the Timmins Majors either.

Barrette is another player who the scouts won’t see playing for Team NOHA because he wasn’t even invited to be part of the two preliminary Team NOHA rosters.

But the fact that Barrette plays in Timmins for a major midget team and not for either of the minor midget teams in North Bay or Sudbury is something that the ordinary scout may not be aware of — especially if the ordinary scout only limits his focus to Team NOHA when it comes to rating players from the north for the 2018 Ontario Hockey League draft.

The ordinary scout is probably oblivious to the fact that the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Barrette was tied for fourth on the Timmins scoring chart during Great North regular season play with 12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points in 36 games.

Just as the ordinary scout probably doesn’t know that Barrette plays in all key situations for the Timmins midgets as a relentless, tireless, go-to, 200-foot player for rising coaching star Brandon Perry.

But in the case of the two over-looked — by Team NOHA — kids in Zeppa and Barrette, the good scout will do due diligence on the pair.

The good scout will recommend Zeppa and Barrette to his general manager ahead of the 2018 OHL draft.

The good scout will have done his homework in thorough fashion and the good general manager will not be swayed by size or the fact that neither Zeppa or Barrette were picked by the North Bay-Sudbury factions who dominate Team NOHA.

And as the respectable, reputable, Joe Drago — who is the chairman of the board for Hockey Canada — relayed to Hockey News North when told about the situation involving Zeppa and Barrette: “There always seems to be a problem with the NOHA.”

Take note, good scout.

Take note, good general manager.

And as for Zeppa and Barrette, they may want to take note of these words from celebrated, legendary activist, the late Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

PHOTO: Soo Thunderbirds minor midget goalie Noah Zeppa. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)

What you think about “Good scout v. ordinary scout”

  1. Hey Randy,

    Very well said as we all know same issue happened last year with the goaltender selection and other players. Hope this will send a message that should have been sent long time ago.

  2. Thank you Randy for giving a voice to “ALL” the Northern Players . There is plenty of talent beyond North Bay and Sudbury . Sadly hockey is more about politics than equal opportunity!

  3. Well put, Randy.
    Some folks love doing their job, put in the hours, the mileage, and enjoy the grind. For others, it’s just something they do for a living.

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