Once a lowly presence — over a period of several years — within the Great North Midget Hockey League, the North Bay Trappers now serve as a model program for success and development.
Within the major midget division of the Great North, the Trappers are in first place with a record of 20-2-1.
Within the minor midget division of the Great North, the Trappers are in first place with a record of 9-4-0.
No longer is North Bay a laughingstock at the AAA midget level.
No longer does North Bay take a back seat to the bigger market programs from Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.
In fact, North Bay has gone way ahead of the Soo. Just check out the standings in the major and minor divisions of the Great North.
On the major midget side, as first place North Bay has 41 points from a record of 20-2-1, the Soo Greyhounds are in fourth place with 22 points from a record of 9-15-4. North Bay also holds five games in hand on the Soo.
On the minor midget side, as first place North Bay has 18 points from a record of 9-4-0, the Soo Thunderbirds are in last place with 7 points from a record of 2-12-3. North Bay also holds four games in hand on the Soo.
At any rate, North Bay has clearly moved passed the Soo as far as the state of the respective major midget and minor midget programs are concerned.
It can also be noted that a top minor midget aged player from Sault Ste. Marie, forward David Campbell, opted to leave home to play hockey this season in — you guessed it — North Bay.
Campbell merely leads all minor midget aged players in the Great North with 14 goals, 8 assists, 22 points in just 13 games.
What has served North Bay well is the presence of Guy Blanchard as head coach of the major midget Trappers. Blanchard also sits on the executive of the North Bay and District Trappers Hockey Association as its coach consultant for the entire program.
Besides being a successful minor hockey coach of many years, Blanchard has also coached in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves and erstwhile North Bay Centennials and Guelph Platers and has multiple Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championships to his credit from his years with the old North Bay Skyhawks.
The 58-year old Blanchard — who is a member of the North Bay Hockey Hall of Fame — believes in a defense-first system of player development and enhancement.
As five players from the Blanchard-coached Trappers of 2016-2017 were taken at the 2017 OHL draft, only one player from the Greyhound midgets was selected.
Just stating a few facts that cannot be disputed.