Nest of Eagles off to school

July 8, 2023

Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have confirmed the ascension of several graduated players to the American college hockey ranks ahead of the upcoming school season.

Jack Mortson

They are forwards Jack Mortson, Zack Briskey, Hunter Friesen, Michael Szlag and Chase Tallaire, defenseman Isaiah Gagerman and goalie Logan Raffaele.

At the top of the list is Mortson, who led the Eagles in scoring during the 2022-2023 season with 32 goals, 35 assists, 67 points. The likeable lad is headed to UMass Boston, which is a National Collegiate Athletic Association school. 

Meanwhile, Briskey is headed to Northland College, which is also an NCAA D3 school, Friesen has committed to the University of Dubuque, which is another NCAA D3 program, while Szlag off to Western New England, which is also home to an NCAA D3 school. Gagerman, meanwhile, is off to Indiana Tech of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Raffaele has committed to Lake Superior State’s ACHA program and the high scoring, high end character kid Tallaire is moving on to Grand Valley State of the ACHA. 

Chase Tallaire

Of note, both Szlag and Raffaele are local Sault Ste. Marie products while Tallaire is from the nearby Upper Peninsula town of St. Ignace.

Eagles president and general manager Bruno Bragagnolo takes considerable pride in moving graduated players on to the collegiate level.

“Soo Eagles are extremely happy for our players who are pursuing their education and hockey careers,” Bragagnolo relayed to Hockey News North. “They are all outstanding young men who have worked extremely hard to accomplish their goals. We are proud and honoured to have had them wear a Soo Eagles jersey. We wish them continued success in their education and hockey careers. We have no doubt they will all be outstanding individuals in whatever they do in life.”

Bragagnolo added that the latest commitments speak well of the NOJHL as a development league for college hockey.

“It is great to see that the schools are continuing to scout and commit to the players from the NOJHL,” said Bragagnolo. “What used to be a best kept secret isn’t so secret anymore as more and more schools are watching closely and taking players from our league.”

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