It may be summer. But fall and winter are what the Sault College Cougars have eyes on as they continue to commit to returning and incoming players ahead of the 2022-2023 men’s hockey season.
As the only Canadian men’s team in the expansive American Collegiate Hockey Association, Sault College plays at the Division 2 level. The Cougars won the Division 3, ACHA championship in 2019 before Covid interrupted parts of each of the past three seasons.
At any rate, the most recent student-athlete to make a commitment to the Sault College men for the 2022-2023 season is defenseman Branden Kipling, who most recently played with the Meaford Knights of the Greater Metro Hockey League.
Hailing from Selkirk, Manitoba, Kipling’s school interests include Indigenous Social Service and Sports Administration studies.
Other commitments to Sault College for the ’22-23 campaign include a number of notable performers.
• They were teammates with the Dryden Ice Dogs of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League during the 2021-2022 season. And as Hockey News North was first to report, Chase Muswagon and Pineshish Whiteduck are slated to be teammates again in 2022-2023, this time at Sault College.
Both Muswagon and Whiteduck played conclusive, effective roles in helping Dryden to a third place finish during the 2021-2022 SIJHL regular season and through two rounds of the playoffs. And in addition to their solid hockey playing abilities, Muswagon and Whiteduck both check the boxes as individuals of good character and good academic standing.
Muswagon has enrolled in the Fish And Wildlife Conservation Program at Sault College while Whiteduck will study Business. Indigenous peoples, Muswagon hails from The Pas, Manitoba and Whiteduck calls Maniwaki, Quebec home.
• Another newcomer to Sault College for the upcoming ’22-23 school term is goalie Cedric Jaubert. Hailing from Papineauville, Quebec, Jaubert has previous ACHA Division 2 experience with the Detroit-based Adrian College Bulldogs.
• Meanwhile, among the returning players from the ’21-22 Sault College squad for ’22-23 are several local lads who all previously performed well in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. They include defenseman Jordan Ritchie and forwards Noah Boman, Caleb Wood and Ty Zachary.
Ritchie skated in the NOJHL for both the Elliot Lake Wildcats and Espanola Express while Boman, Wood and Zachary all played for the Soo Thunderbirds. Wood also performed well in the NOJHL for the Thunderbirds cross-border rival Soo Eagles.
• As he prepares and gets ready for the 2022-2023 campaign as the head coach of the Sault College men, Mike Hall said he is looking forward to a season that won’t be affected by Covid. Having since moved up to Division 2 status from Division 3 as the only Canadian men’s team in the entire ACHA, Hall is anticipating a ’22-23 season in which Sault College can once again play host to home games now that the Canada-United States border is open — and American teams are willing to head this way.
The Cougars did manage to play 15 regular season games — including four across the St. Mary’s River against the Lake Superior State University Lakers ACHA club team — but not a single one was on home ice as part of posting a winning record of 8-4-3 over the course of the 2021-2022 term.
“Hopefully the challenges of the past three years are in the past,” Hall relayed to Hockey News North. “All I can say is that I feel good about where we are headed as the Sault College men’s hockey program and members of the ACHA.”