These are the T-Birds to date

Randy Russon
July 28, 2020

There are multiple Birds flying into the junior hockey nest.

Cooper Smyl

Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have commitments from more than 10 players ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

Included in the double digit list are confirmations from six local skaters — four returnees and two newcomers — that they will don the blue, orange and white jerseys of the Thunderbirds for the upcoming campaign

The returning veterans are forwards Avery Rebek, Cooper Smyl, Brock Santa Maria and Kurtis Rogers.

The newcomers to the Bird house are forwards Michael Chaffay and Ty Zachary.

Rebek netted 15 goals, 27 assists, 42 points for the Thunderbirds in 2019-2020.

Next up, Smyl produced 16-15-31 totals, Santa Maria came through with 7-12-19 statistics and Rogers chipped in with 11-3-14 numbers.

Kurtis Rogers

Rebek has a 2000 birth date, Rogers was born in 2001, while Smyl and Santa Maria both have 2002 birth dates.

As for Chaffay and Zachary, they both spent the 2019-2020 season with the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League and were among their top point producers.

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.

Both have 2002 birth dates.

Another newcomer, Russell Oldham, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound front line skater, recently landed in the Bird nest via the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Of note, Oldham is also a 2018 Ontario Hockey League under-18 draft pick of the Flint Firebirds.

Oldham, who has a 2001 birth date, put up his share of points in the GOJHL while playing for the St. Thomas Stars and the Komoka Kings of the southwestern Ontario based loop in 2019-2020.

Totaling up the numbers between St. Thomas and Komoka this past season, Oldman hit for 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points in 49 regular season games.

Meanwhile, four out of town performers have confirmed their return to the T-Birds for the upcoming term. They are forwards Colton Hayes and Will Josephson and defensemen Warner Young and Dylan Parsons.

Hayes netted 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points for the T-Birds in 2019-2020 while Young had 3-28-31 totals, Josephson had 6-22-28 numbers and Parsons came through with two goals, 13 assists, 15 points in just 29 games.

Hayes (Escanaba) and Young (Newberry) are both from nearby, northern Michigan towns.

Hayes and Young both have 2000 birth dates while Josephson and Parsons were both born in 2001.

The Thunderbirds will have an all-new coaching staff for the 2020-2021 season led by Denny Lambert, the former National Hockey League grinder who also played for and coached the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

Lambert will be assisted by Jeremy Stevenson, Micky Sartoretto and Aidan Wright.


Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary has confirmed dates for an upcoming tryout camp for the Soo’s NOJHL team.

Zachary and the Thunderbirds have ice booked for August 14, 15 and 16 — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — at John Rhodes Community Centre that will include morning and evening sessions of skills, drills and controlled scrimmages.

The ice time, tryout sessions are open to players born in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Cost to register is $150 per player.

For further information, contact Zachary via

And the registration form is available at under CAMPS.

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