Good teams have good scouts. Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are a good team. And they have added more good scouts.
Beavers coach and general manager Kyle Brick has confirmed the expansion of his scouting staff to include four seasoned sleuths.
They are the Sault Ste. Marie-based trio of Charly Murray, Chad Vresk and Brad Boyer as well as Col. Michael Carr, a former Michigan Soo resident who now lives in Florida.
All four have extensive, prior scouting experience with various teams in the NOJHL led by the venerable Murray, who is affectionately known as the “Old Goat” by his colleagues.
As coach and GM, Brick said having trusted scouts on board with the Beavers is a key component to success in the 12-team NOJHL.
“We are excited to have such good hockey people by our side locating and analyzing talent,” Brick told Hockey News North. “With recruitment getting more difficult every year it is good to know you have guys you can trust.
“We believe that the more eyes we have on players, other leagues and minor hockey organizations, the better off we will be to continue to build our team for the future,” Brick added.
Murray, Vresk, Boyer and Carr join a Blind River recruiting department that also includes head scout Jamie Disano and fellow Sault Ste. Marie-based evaluator Jerry Lortie Jr. as well as Jason Bradley out of Sudbury and Davis Boyer and Chris Saunders covering southern Ontario.
Craig MacDonald will continue to be Brick’s invaluable right-hand man as assistant general manager and director of player personnel while also helping out on the bench as an assistant coach.
Under the hands-on leadership of Brick and MacDonald, the Beavers have put together back-to-back outstanding seasons with records of 32-20-4 and 33-19-4.
The Beavers went all the way to the NOJHL finals in 2016-2017 and were upended by the no. 1 seed Rayside-Balfour Canadians during the 2017-2018 West Division semi-finals.
Just recently, Brick was given the added responsibility of being general manager in addition to his duties as head coach.
Beavers president Robert Morningstar told Hockey News North that Brick’s work over his first two seasons in Blind River speaks for itself.
“At our year-end meeting the board of directors reviewed the successful work Mr. Brick has done with the Blind River Beavers organization since he was hired two years ago,” Morningstar began.
“Since he was hired, Mr. Brick has helped turn our organization around with two record-breaking years for us. With this, the board feels very confident that Kyle can handle the dual role of general manager and head coach as we look forward to building on another great season,” Morningstar added.
SOO EAGLES TRYOUTS
With openings and opportunities for local players from both sides of the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie — and elsewhere — Soo Eagles coach and general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has confirmed an open tryout camp ahead of the 2018-2019 NOJHL season.
The camp will be held over three days — May 11-13 — at Big Bear Arena in the Michigan Soo. Cost per player is $125 for the session.
Players can register via www.sooeagles.net and any questions in advance of the tryout camp can be directed by phone to Bragagnolo (847-921-4543) or associate coach Nick Perri (845-709-2883.)
A first-class NOJHL franchise with a good track record of advancing players to the National Collegiate Athletic Association level, the Eagles have completed eight full seasons under the leadership of the aforementioned Bragagnolo.
Since the end of the 2017-2018 season alone, three graduates of the Eagles have committed to Indiana-based Trine University effective the 2018-2019 campaign. They are defenceman Owen Kipke and forwards Will Casey and Gianni Vitali.