Ice time aplenty, in the form of practices and games, is underway for one area junior A hockey team.
To be sure, exhibition matches against high level opponents are on the agenda for the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League over the next few weeks.
A pair of home games against the powerhouse United States National Team Development Program under-17 squad will be followed by two road trips and then another set of contests within the friendly confines of Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.
The road trips will include a series of games against the Adrian College Bulldogs, who are a Detroit area school, and the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League.
Head coach Doug Laprade and the Eagles will then face off against the Lake Superior State University Lakers club team in a pair of (Friday and Saturday) November 6 and 7 games at Pullar Stadium.
The Eagles, as members of the NOJHL, are in a wait and see pattern along with other junior hockey teams and leagues as they await government and public health word as to when regular season play for the 2020-2021 season can begin relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Complicating matters for the Eagles is the current closure of the Canada, United States international border. The Eagles are the lone American team among the 11 entries in the NOJHL.
Meantime, there is the impressive slate of exhibition games that Eagles president and general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has scheduled for his team.
The Eagles are coming off of a 2019-2020 season in which they finished in fourth place in the West Division standings of the NOJHL with a record of 30-21-5. The 65 points that the Eagles totaled were just two less then the Ontario-based Soo Thunderbirds.
The Eagles then swept the Espanola Express in two straight games of last spring’s preliminary round playoff series before the coronavirus halted play all across North America.
PRICE IS RIGHT
The Eagles have named hard working, third year forward Bobby Price as their team captain for the 2020-2021 season.
A local product, the 2000 birth year skater netted 13 goals, 23 assists, 36 points in 56 regular season games for the Eagles last season. The 6 foot, 190 pound Price then added an assist in two playoff games.
“Bobby has improved a great deal as a player and matured a lot as a young man and he is deserving of being our captain for this season,” Eagles president and general manager Bruno Bragagnolo told Hockey News North.
EAGLES ON THE AIR
The Eagles will again have a presence as a supporter with their own weekly segment on the 2020-2021 edition of the Hockey North Show with Randy Russon and Brad Coccimiglio, which is slated to begin on local radio station Eagle 95.1 — www.eagleradio951.com — in mid November.
As part of having a new home on the radio dial via Eagle 95.1, the Hockey North Show will be broadcast live on Tuesdays from 5-6 p.m. from Reggie’s Place Tavern in the Sault’s downtown. Little Caesars of Sault, Ontario will once again be on board as the major sponsor of the Hockey North Show.
As a bonus, all shows will be recorded and available for replay on the Eagle 95.1 website.
Besides covering the Eagles and the NOJHL, other features of the Hockey North Show will include segments on the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, the Lake Superior State University Lakers of the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.