To be sure, Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are becoming even more of a local team.
The Thunderbirds recently added to their local talent base with the acquisition of forwards Mark Tassone and Lucas Theriault.
Tassone, who has a 1999 birth date, had played with distinction for the Thunderbirds the previous two seasons. He was dealt to the Trenton Golden Hawks of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League during the summer before being flipped to the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL last week.
As for Theriault, who starred for the Soo Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League the past two seasons and is a 2016 Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Niagara IceDogs, he began the 2017-2018 campaign with the Kitchener Dutchmen of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League. He has a 2000 birth date.
They have joined a local crew that features an assortment of veteran and rookie position players.
Besides Tassone and Theriault, the Thunderbirds local contingent of forwards also features 1999 birth year veteran Nick Smith and 2001 birth year rookie Camaryn Baber.
Small in stature, Smith is a big-time performer for the Thunderbirds and one of the top goal scorers in the entire NOJHL.
As for Baber, who was a third round pick of the Saginaw Spirit in 2017 and who already has his first OHL point from a call up earlier this season, the hard nosed front liner plays in all key situations for the Thunderbirds.
There is no shortage of local products on the Thunderbirds defensive corps.
Manning the blue line for the T-Birds are veteran 1998 birth year defender Ryan Mulligan and four rookies — Nolan Ford (1999 birth date), Steve Bellini (2000 birth date), Bradon Caruso (2000 birth date) and Tristano Cicchello (2001 birth date.)
Meanwhile, 1999 birth year forward Tyler Malpass also has a link to Sault Ste. Marie as his grandparents have resided here for many, many years.
And the Thunderbird coaching staff is all local, led by head coach John Parco and assistants Toots Kovacs and Marc Disano.
PHOTO: Nick Smith is one of several local products playing for the Soo Thunderbirds. (Photo by Jim Egan.)