T-Birds tap local market

Randy Russon
November 21, 2017

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.)

What you think about “T-Birds tap local market”

  1. Its too bad cant get a few more fans at the games . The games are almost like the old greyhound noha jr days that had local players. Just there is no good old fisty cuffs,allowed anymore . That we had back then. .

  2. Randy, just wanted to let you know that you missed another local product.
    Austin Heinrich rookie defenceman for the TBIRDS JR A, April 2, 2000 was born in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
    Austin is living with his Grandparents Ron and Sandra Santana (life long residence of the Soo ) while playing with the Jr. A Thunderbirds.

    1. Thanks Ron. Learn something new every day. In my defence, Thunderbirds roster shows him being from Springwater, Ontario.

  3. Randy you also missed another T-Bird with serious ties to the Soo. Noah Solinger’s mother, Claudia Gagnon, is from the Soo. Her entire family are Soo residents and many of the Gagnon clan attend every home game. Noah lives with his Aunt and Uncle who also happen to be his God parents. Noah is in his second season with the T-Birds and is an assistant captain. He is second in team scoring and plays in all situations. He is particularly strong in the face off circle. For Noah, the Soo is his second home as he has spent a lot of time there over the years visiting family and friends and presently attends St. Mary’s where he is an honour roll student and was last season’s T-Bird academic player of the year. He hopes this eventually leads to Division 1 hockey in the future.

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