It is a bonus when a junior hockey team can sign a local player.
It is a double bonus when the team can add two locals at once.
Two of the top four scorers from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League will stay at home to suit up for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League come the 2020-2021 season.
A pair of 2002 birth year forwards, Michael Chaffay and Ty Zachary have signed up to play for their hometown T-Birds and new head coach Denny Lambert.
Chaffay was second on the Jr. Greyhounds and fifth in league scoring in 2019-2020 with 34 goals, 19 assists, 53 points.
And Zachary was fourth on the Jr. Greyhounds scoring chart and 15th in league scoring in 2019-2020 with 11 goals, 28 assists, 39 points.
In getting commitments from the two local skaters, Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary told Hockey News North that both forwards have what it takes to play at the NOJHL level.
“Michael has been a model of consistency for the last few years proving to everyone that his game is next level,” Zachary said of Chaffay.
“Scoring 34 goals in 35 games this past season for the Soo Jr. Greyhounds, he has demonstrated what it will take to play junior hockey.
“Michael plays with a chip on his shoulder, has an above average shot and brings his passion for the game to the rink every day. He brings key attributes that the Soo Thunderbirds will build around,” Zachary added in further praise of Chaffay.
And the Thunderbirds GM knows all about young Zachary’s past.
“Ty brings a level of commitment and consistency that’s important at the junior level,” Zachary said of the determined youngster.
“After missing his entire major bantam season and half of his minor midget season due to tumour causing fractures in his femur, then surgery and rehabilitation at the Shriners Hospital in Montreal, Ty has proven that hard work and dedication to the game is paying off.
“Ty’s leadership, play-making abilities, and work ethic will be major contributors to his success with the Thunderbirds,” Zachary added.