Sault Ste. Marie is a town of first-place junior hockey teams.
Soo Greyhounds are in first place in the Western Conference of the Ontario Hockey League.
Soo Thunderbirds are in first place in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Batchewana Attack is in first place in the Canadian International Hockey League.
With a record of 25-7-2 at the Christmas break, this just might be the best Hounds team in almost 20 years.
This is a team of strength and depth on the forward lines and back of the blueline.
There are multiple players who figure to be 30-40 goal scorers by the time the season is over and that list includes 17-year old Sault Ste. Marie native Blake Speers, who tallied 19 times as an OHL rookie in 2013-2014.
Well-managed by Kevin Cain and well controlled by coach Jordan Smith, the Thunderbirds have the goaltending and scoring to compete with any team in the NOJHL.
The Thunderbirds may be a bit short on the blueline but could get a shot in the arm sometime in the New Year when/if plum defenceman Owen Headrick — who has signed a national letter of intent to play at the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association level with the Lake Superior State University Lakers — returns from shoulder surgery.
Up front, the Thunderbirds can score with any team led by Nic Tassone, Jaren Bellini, Joey Miller, Anthony Miller and rookie Nic Sicoly.
The Thunderbirds will take a record of 23-4-3 into the New Year when play resumes on January 2.
Well-coached — very well-coached — by Denny Lambert, this is the premiere team in the first-year CIHL with a record of 20-0-1.
Batchewana boasts a range of high-end talent from older players Grant Syrette, Jeremy Solomon and John Kling to younger guys such as Cade Nolan, Jacob Palmerio, Adam Baggs, Darian Pilon and Drake Pilon.