Sault boy boards the Express

Randy Russon
November 8, 2020
Jordan Ritchie

There is another Sault Ste. Marie lad who has left home to play junior A hockey down the road in Espanola.

That is, Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has added 2001 birth year defenseman Jordan Ritchie, Hockey News North has confirmed.

Ritchie joins fellow Sault boy Cole Delarosbil on the Espanola roster.

Ritchie had been skating with the Soo Thunderbirds but his hometown NOJHL team did not sign him. Ergo, he acted on an recruiting pitch from Espanola president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz to board the Express for the upcoming, 2020-2021 season.

Chad Vresk and Brad Boyer, who are Espanola’s Sault-based scouts, recommended Ritchie to Rapcewicz.

The son of former Ontario Hockey League winger David Ritchie, the younger Ritchie has a reputation as a hard-working, hard-nosed defender with a passion for the game.

The 6-foot-1, 195 pound Ritchie has a full season of NOJHL experience from the 2019-2020 campaign, having suited up for the lowly Elliot Lake Wildcats, who are on leave of absence for the 2020-2021 term.

In 47 games for Elliot Lake last season, Ritchie tallied two goals, seven assists, nine points and 53 minutes in penalties for the Wildcats.

Prior to moving up to the NOJHL full time last season, Ritchie played two full terms with the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 AAA Hockey League. And before that, he suited up for the AA Root River Rangers of the Sault Major Hockey Association.

As previously noted, Ritchie’s arrival in Espanola gives the Express two Sault Ste. Marie products, along with aforementioned forward Cole Delarosbil.

A late blooming, 2001 birth year forward, Delarosbil was limited to just 27 games as a NOJHL rookie last season due to a broken ankle.

But despite playing mostly on the third and fourth lines for Espanola, the 6-foot-1, 190 pound Delarosbil nonetheless managed six goals, three assists, nine points.

Known for his relentless work ethic and year round commitment to fitness and conditioning, Delarosbil, along with Ritchie as a teammate, also played minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie for the Soo Jr. Greyhounds and Root River Rangers.

Thus, now with Espanola, Ritchie and Delarosbil are teammates again.

Notably, Espanola is showing well as giving players from northeastern Ontario the opportunity to play in the quality league that the NOJHL is for a program of good repute that the Express is.

Besides Ritchie and Delarosbil, other players from the north who are on the Express includes the following experienced NOJHLers.

Josh Boucher. A 2001 birth year forward, the 6-foot, 175 pound Boucher came through with 10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points in 55 games for the Express last season after playing high school hockey the previous campaign. He hails from Lively, which is just outside Sudbury.

Carson Boutin. A 2002 birth year goalie, the 6-foot, 185 pound Boutin finished the 2019-2020 season in Espanola after beginning it with the Cochrane Crunch. Boutin had a 3-1-0 record with a 1.56 goals against average and .945 save percentage with Cochrane. And, facing a whopping 636 shots in 932 minutes of play in Espanola, Boutin had a 4-7-0 record with a 4.32 goals against average and .895 save percentage. He is from Iroquois Falls.

Bradley Brunet. A 2003 birth year forward, the 6-foot, 165 pound Brunet got into 45 games for the Express in 2019-2020 and produced eight goals, four assists, 12 points. A Sudbury product, Brunet is an Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Niagara Ice Dogs.

A.J. Favot. A smart, puck moving defenseman with a 2002 birth date, the 5-foot-11, 165 pound Favot netted four goals, 20 assists, 24 points in 51 games for the Express last season. He was particularly effective on the Espanola power play, netting 16 points, including 15 assists. To be sure, Favot figures to be among the top defensemen in the NOJHL this season. Like the aforementioned Brunet, Favot is an OHL draft pick of Niagara who also calls Sudbury his home. Of further note, he is a son of Tim Favot, who patrolled the left wing for three full OHL seasons from 1989 to 1992, suiting up for both the North Bay Centennials and Sudbury Wolves as a hard toiling skater.

Devon Savignac. Skilled and smart and a 5-foot-11, 175 pound forward with a 2003 birth date, Savignac potted 22 goals, 13 assists, 35 points in 49 games for the rival Blind River Beavers last season. The 22 goals that Savignac tallied for the Beavers as a 16-year old rookie last season were the second most on Blind River, trailing only league scoring champion Caleb Serre. Acquired by Espanola from Blind River in a trade of major significance during the off season, Savignac is an OHL draft pick of the North Bay Battalion who hails from Sudbury. There is little doubt that if Savignac plays the full season in Espanola, he should be among the top scorers in the entire NOJHL.

Cameron Walker. A 5-foot-11, 165 pound forward with a 2003 birth date, Walker produced 11 goals, 15 assists, 26 points in 55 games for the Express last season. A Sudbury product, Walker is an OHL draft pick of the Kingston Frontenacs.

What you think about “Sault boy boards the Express”

  1. Hopefully they are treating players with more respect now. During this difficult time teams that conduct their business with honest and integrity will be successful. Hockey is a pathway for players to succeed in life. People trust the coaches, GM’s and owners to have the players best interest at heart while confirming to the team atmosphere.

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