Here ‘n there

May 12, 2015

Around the rinks in early May:

…Whenever I am asked who my favourite Soo Greyhounds are from the 40 years that I have been covering the Ontario Hockey League I always rhyme off the ones who immediately come to mind: goalies David Legree, Dave Jennings and Kevin Hodson, defenceman Mike Rusin and forwards Mike Kaszycki, Brian Gualazzi, Jim Aldred and Brad Baber. Not only were they good players in their day but they are all really good guys — the kind of guys who I would have a beer with any day of the week. In fact, I do believe that I have had a few beers with each and every one of them over the years.

…There are high-end bench bosses such as Sheldon Keefe of the Soo Greyhounds and Kris Knoblauch of the Erie Otters and D.J. Smith of the Oshawa Generals but for my money, the best development coach in the OHL is Stan Butler of the North Bay Battalion.

…With the Canadian International Hockey League having folded after just one season there are some quality players from the champion Batchewana Attack who will have opportunities aplenty to play elsewhere in 2015-2016 including defenceman Adam Baggs and forwards Jacob Palmerio, Darian Pilon and Drake Pilon.

…Under primary owner Allan Donnan, Toronto-based TPA Sports will own three teams in the Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League and two more in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in 2015-2016. TPA owns the Bracebridge Blues, Toronto Attack and the Toronto Predators in the GMJHL and the Iroquois Falls Eskimos and the French River Rapids in the NOJHL.

…Goalie George Hill, who tended twine in the Midwest Jr. Hockey League with the Detroit Fighting Irish in 2014-2015, is looking to move up and play in the NOJHL in 2015-2016. Hill, who has a 1995 birth date, attended the recent spring tryout session of the Soo Thunderbirds and earned an invitation to return to the August main camp of the NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champions. Hill has also talked to coach-general manager Moe Mantha of the new French River Rapids, who will begin their first NOJHL season in 2015-2016. Part of a rather-odd, four-goalie rotation with the Fighting Irish in 2014-2015, Hill had a record of 6-5-1 to go with a 3.66 goals against average and team-best .902 save percentage.

…Besides Hill, two much-younger, 1998 birth-year goalies who I would like to see move up to the NOJHL in 2015-2016 are Joey Roberts of the Soo Thunderbirds and Colton Point of the North Bay Trappers, both of the Great North Midget Hockey League.

…If there is a forward-in-waiting who has size, who can score, who can skate and who can play the physical game — and who is made for the tough grind of the NOJHL — he is hulking, 1995 birth-year Jacob Hernandez, who spent almost two full seasons with the aforementioned Detroit Fighting Irish of the MWJHL before moving all the way up to the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League late in the 2015-2016 season. While Hernandez definitely has the ability to be an effective third-line player in the NAHL, he would be a dominant, second-line player in the NOJHL — and a kid who could no doubt move up to a top Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association school in 2016-2017. The Eagles, of course, have departed the NAHL and are poised to return to the NOJHL in 2015-2016.

What you think about “Here ‘n there”

  1. Well done RR.
    North Bay has been very fortunate to have had two elite hockey people in charge over the years, Butler and of course Mr Templeton

  2. I love your list of former Hounds as well Randy and I will add a few more of my own! Mike Kaszycki, hands down as well! He could electrify the crowd the moment he picked up the puck! SOO Greyhound’s equivalent to the Boston Bruin’s Rick “nifty “Middleton!
    Now , I’ll turn my attention to Hound’s D-men! Love the hard- nose, in your face defensemen! So many to choose from but my list includes Timmy Rose, tough as nails, big hitter and what a fighter.Tim Hoover, so solid, incredible body checker and blocked more shots than most goalies.
    Chris Felix, for his smooth skating style, puck distribution skills, and CANADIAN Olympic team member.
    Jake Muzzin, for so much perseverance and determination in his career. to be compared favourably to another fav, Craig Hartsburg!
    Jordan Smith, so tough and honest and a huge glass shaking body checker.,the anguish of elimination at the hands of a tainted OHL 7 game series vs the Spits in 2005, etched on his face, never leaves me!
    Lastly, diminutive goal keep Billy Thompson. I’m sure water repelled off him in the shower as he had to be thoroughly vulcanized by all the rubber he saw those first years!

  3. Thanks Chris, Tim Rose and Craig Hartsburg would have made my list but I have never had a beer with either of them, lol and…thanks motleyrulez. Bert Templeton remains one of my all-time favourites and was one of my first OHL interviews, while a journalism student at Sault College in 1974. He is also the first OHL coach I ever had a beer with, lol.

  4. It will be interesting to see how many players move with the Blackhawks from Mattawa to I.F. And also how well pay to play works in the former paper town.

  5. Hockeytimeintimmins:
    It will also be intresting to see how long it takes the Timmins Rock to pay back the $100 Grand + that they owe to the Town of Iroquois Falls.

  6. I’m sure the town of Iroquois Falls stands a better chance of getting their money back now that the “Rock” has a viable business plan. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That what had been going on for the last several seasons in the falls…

  7. hockeytimeintimmins:
    So what you are saying is that Marshall & his Merry Men did not have a viable busness plan before but they do now???!!??!! Like all of a sudden they became smart since moving the Team from IF to Timmins??!!??!! LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. If Jacob Hernandez does not make the nahl team,hopefully he would come back and play for Soo Eagles in the Nojhl he would be very good with the Eagles and would be a force to be wrecked with in the nojhl

  9. No igloo4ever, they became smart, then moved the team to Timmins….
    Maybe to help the new Eskimos save money, we could let the 8 or 10 guys on your team that will be living in Timmins to go to school, ride our bus to the Falls when we play you guys.

  10. Speaking of business plans, let’s do some simple math:
    1800 seat arena
    45000 population
    2 Sr mining companies and a hand full of Jr ones plus 40 or more mining supply companies
    2 colleges and a university
    No OHL team to compete with
    Sounds like a decent plan to me. Combine all that with no registration fee, recruiting high end players shouldn’t be a problem. IMO…

  11. Hi randy just noticed a slight error in your statement regarding TPA Sports. They actually sold the Toronto Predators last spring, but they do own a 3rd Team in the GMHL, it’s the North York Renegades.

  12. Hockeytimeintimmins so your saying in took them 17 years to become smart. The people in Iroquois falls done their best to keep and support their team here so you should not try an intimidate them by offering them to save money. You being a smart A – – does not help your team to gain support around the league. If you let players on the Bus means that you are a Member of the Rocks, I can only guess who.

  13. I see in the Cochrane Crunch Site that Mr. Leonard is looking for two Asst
    Coaches….. Does anyone know what happened with the Last year Coaches.

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