September 10, 2014
Here ’n there on September 10:
EAGLES AT HOME
The puck will drop on the 2014-2015 regular season for the Soo Eagles when they play host to the Janesville Jets on Friday (7:30) and Saturday (7:00) nights at refurbished Pullar Stadium.
The Eagles head into the ’14-15 North American Hockey League season led by several seasoned skaters including defencemen Kristofers Bindulis and Darren Brady and forwards Nick Belger, Chase Matson, Denver Pierce, Brad Pung and Sandis Zolmanis.
Returning defenceman Michael Caruso will begin the season on the injured list as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.
The Eagles have a new goaltending crew for goalie coach Bill Vanderleest to work with.
Heading into the season as the Eagles no. 1 goalie is 20-year old Sean Keating, who played with the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Canada Hockey League in 2013-2014.
Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at John Rhodes Community Centre marks the 2014-2015 home opener for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
The Thunderbirds will play host to the Blind River Beavers in Game 1 of the annual Carmen Provenzano Memorial Cup series between the two teams.
The Provenzano Cup honours the memory of the former Sault Ste. Marie politician who passed away in 2005.
Following a first-place, regular-season finish in 2013-2014, the Thunderbirds will be out to retain their status as NOJHL contenders in 2014-2015 led by the likes of returning forwards Anthony Miller, Nic Tassone and Jaren Bellini and defencemen Owen Headrick and Brandon Grandinetti.
Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds have added 1997 birth-year defenceman Matthew Busby, who played in the NOJHL for the Espanola Rivermen (now of the Canadian International Hockey League) in 2013-2014.
The ’14-15 season will mark the first full term for veteran bench boss Don Gagnon as Blind River’s head coach-director of hockey operations.
The Beavers showed marked improvement and more structure after Gagnon took over midway through the ’13-14 season.
OLIWA TO CIHL
Former National Hockey League enforcer Krzysztof Oliwa, the Poland native who won a Stanley Cup as a member of the New Jersey Devils, has joined the new Ontario-based, junior-level, Canadian International Hockey League as a special advisor to hockey operations.
The 41-year old Oliwa played in 410 NHL regular-season games, racking up 1,447 minutes in penalties along the way.
St. Charles Spirit of the CIHL has signed brothers Alexander Hester and Trevor Hester, who hail from Cree Nation in northern Quebec.
Alexander, who is a 1995 birth-year forward and draft pick of the Val-d’or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League, had 7 goals, 3 assists, 10 points in 6 playoff games with the Dryden Ice Dogs of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League in 2013-2014.
Trevor, who is a 1996 birth-year forward, had 8 goals in 24 games with the erstwhile Mattawa Voyageurs of the Greater Metro Hockey League in ’13-14.
Batchewana Attack of the CIHL has added veteran scout Charly Murray to its staff.
Murray, who has scouted for a number of teams in the past including Soo Thunderbirds, Northern Michigan Black Bears, Soo Eagles, Blind River Beavers, Elliot Lake Bobcats and (until recently) Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL, joins Jim Casola on the scouting staff of the CIHL Attack.
Batchewana will play a pair of home-and-home exhibition games with the Espanola Rivermen this weekend.
The two teams will meet in Espanola on Friday night at 7:30 and at Rankin Arena in Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday afternoon at 2:00.
Batchewana will then face off against the St. Charles Spirit in a home-and-home set the following weekend.
Toronto Jr. Hockey Academy of the CIHL has confirmed that it will play its home games and practice at the state-of-the-art Master Card Centre of Hockey Excellence this season.
The Master Card Centre serves as the practice facility for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
BRUNI TO ARGOS
Former NOJHL goalie Donnie Bruni, who stopped pucks for the Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds, has been hired by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League as a group sales executive.
What you think about “Midweek Notes”
The Eagles did look good in the 2 Games against the Soo T-birds. The T-birds were at least a step behind the Eagles.
Chase Gamelin as a rookie is looking good so far. The real test is coming up against Janesville.