From a major midget hockey team team laden with prospects for the next level, here are five players from the Soo Indians who are of considerable note:
Frankie Pucci, 1997 birth-year forward. The 5-foot-8, 140 pound sparkplug led the Indians in scoring during the regular season with 21 goals, 32 assists, 53 points in 44 games. An Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Erie Otters, Pucci has thus far retained his Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility.
Cole Lussier, 1997 birth-year forward. The 6-foot-1, 175 pound Lussier was second on the Indians in scoring during the regular season with 22 goals, 28 assists, 50 points in 50 games.
Andrew Barbeau, 1997 birth-year defenceman. The 5-foot-11, 180 pound captain had 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points in 43 regular-season games with the Indians.
Ashton Calder, 1998 birth-year forward. The 6-foot-1, 190 pound rookie played in only 12 regular-season games for the Indians but made an impact with 8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points. OHL scouts have taken note of Calder, who is eligible for this year’s draft.
Casey Gilling, 1998 birth-year forward. The 5-foot-11, 170 pound rookie had 15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points in 46 regular-season games with the Indians. Like Calder, he’s a candidate for selection at this year’s OHL draft.
Coach Pat Carricato and his Indians, fresh from defeating the Lansing Capitals two games to one in a series qualifier, are off to the Detroit suburb of Taylor next week to take part in the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association state championships.
As for the players listed above, all have major midget eligibility remaining after this season.
As 1997 birth-year skaters, however, Pucci, Lussier and Barbeau are looking to advance to the junior level. If they want to retain their NCAA eligibility, possible options are the North American Hockey League, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, North American 3 Hockey League and MidWest Jr. Hockey League.
Likewise for Calder and Gilling, though a second season of major midget with the Indians for the two 1998 birth-year skaters could be a consideration.
PHOTO: Soo Indians defenceman Andrew Barbeau. (Photo by Mark Krupiarz of SandMark Media.)