Hounds missed on Matier


Randy Russon
By
May 14, 2021

Jack Matier

This one lies squarely on Soo Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis and his scouts.

That is, the Greyhounds had a chance to choose local product and future world class gold medal winner Jack Matier in the first round of the 2019 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft only to — for whatever reason — opt for another defenseman.

…[read more]

Rat puke and Wolves


Randy Russon
By
April 27, 2021

They had their share of good players and character individuals, including two standouts who became high draft picks to the National Hockey League and 11 others who would go on to play at the minor pro and/or European pro levels.

But for whatever reason, the Sudbury Wolves of 1983-1984 would finish in last place overall with a record of 19-50-1 in what was a 15-team Ontario Hockey League back then.

And it didn’t help that the underachieving Wolves of 1983-1984 were coached by a rude, crude dude who would routinely tell his players “you are all rat puke” when he was dissatisfied with their play.

…[read more]

Loss of an OHL season


Randy Russon
By
April 24, 2021

Soo Greyhounds forward Cole MacKay

Could the Ontario Hockey League have done more to start the 2020-2021 season back in November when COVID-19 cases were relatively low?

Did the OHL do wrong to its players when continuing to insist it was “not interested in playing games without fans in attendance” like other leagues were doing?

…[read more]

Eight player trade of ’83-84


Randy Russon
By
April 14, 2021

Free traders Joe Drago of the Sudbury Wolves and Larry Mavety of the Belleville Bulls were never shy when it came to dealing players.

And the rival Ontario Hockey League general managers — Drago and Mavety were also good friends — more than proved that point early in the 1983-1984 season when they combined to make a massive eight player trade that featured three northern boys.

…[read more]

Hounds v. Alexanders X 3


Randy Russon
By
April 12, 2021

To be sure, this did not fall into the one hit wonder category. Rather, these were classic hits that kept on playing.

Dressed in the vintage, full-length Cooperall uniforms of the early 1980s, the Soo Greyhounds and Brantford Alexanders faced off in three successive Ontario Hockey League playoff seasons.

And while the Soo upended Brantford in all three playoff years — 1982, 1983 and 1984 — the Alexanders earned ‘A’ grades while falling to Hound power, and a song of the same name.

…[read more]

Brantford Alexanders: ’78-84


Randy Russon
By
April 2, 2021

They were here for a good time, not a long time.

To be sure, their history is one of modest length yet the Brantford Alexanders remain an iconic Ontario Hockey League franchise mainly because of the number of high performance players who wore their red-white-and-black jersey from 1978 to 1984.

…[read more]

Jack Matier a world class kid


Randy Russon
By
April 1, 2021

Jack Matier

He has been chosen to play on the world hockey stage.

Sault Ste. Marie product Jack Matier is slated to skate for Team Canada at this month’s 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation under-18 world championship tournament.

…[read more]

Hounds ’79-85 reunion


Randy Russon
By
March 23, 2021

Friends of Terry Crisp and Sam McMaster are planning a Soo Greyhounds reunion for Saturday, July 17 of this year. The reunion is for those who had an association with the Ontario Hockey League team from 1979 to 1985.

Crisp coached the Greyhounds from 1979 to 1985. McMaster worked alongside Crisp as the Greyhounds general manager from 1980 to 1985.

…[read more]

The file on Bobby Jones


Randy Russon
By
March 18, 2021

Bobby Jones, with D.J. Smith and Bob Boughner, behind the bench of the Windsor Spitfires.

There are not many who have an association to the Ontario Hockey League that can match the longevity of Bobby Jones.

Not only did Jones play in 240 OHL games from 1985 to 1990 as a dependable defenseman with the Soo Greyhounds but he coached in the league from 1995 through 2018 with six different teams and won a pair of Memorial Cup championships behind the bench of the Windsor Spitfires.

Jones has always been a favourite of mine. And not just because of the hockey and that he is a good kid from a good family but that he happened to go to the same elementary school in Sault Ste. Marie — St. Mark — that I, my two kids, and my younger sister did.

…[read more]

Here’s looking at Hounds


Randy Russon
By
March 14, 2021

Major question mark between the pipes aside, Soo Greyhounds figure to be a formidable force once the games begin on the pandemic affected version of a 2020-2021 Ontario Hockey League season.

With seasoned skill and developed depth on the forward lines and at the defense position, the Greyhounds are set up for success in whatever form or length the anticipated, abbreviated OHL season takes.

…[read more]

OHL return to play sketch


Randy Russon
By
March 12, 2021

It has been just over a year since there was game action in the Ontario Hockey League.

As COVID-19 put a halt to the 2019-2020 season a year ago this month, the OHL is poised to finally return to the ice for a shortened version of a 2020-2021 campaign.

A normal OHL regular season is 68 games for each of its 20 teams. But there is very little that is normal in this age of hockey as it relates to COVID-19.

…[read more]

Stevenson still in the game


Randy Russon
By
March 11, 2021

Jeremy Stevenson

His hockey playing career ended a dozen years ago at age 34. But now, at 46 years of age and at his playing size and weight of 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Jeremy Stevenson still looks fit and trim enough to be patrolling the left wing.

A first round pick of the Cornwall Royals in 1990 who would finish his Ontario Hockey League career with the Soo Greyhounds, Stevenson defied the odds to play in 228 National Hockey League games after being an 11th round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 1994.

…[read more]

NOJHL boss was OHL star


Randy Russon
By
March 6, 2021

The ’81-82 Sudbury Wolves with Rob Mazzuca (front row) as team captain

These days, Rob Mazzuca is well known as the likeable, respectable commissioner of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

With deep northern Ontario roots, Mazzuca — who has been the league’s commander in chief since 2011 — has brought a thorough, thoughtful, professional approach to his position and to the NOJHL itself.

…[read more]

Soo via Kingston


Randy Russon
By
February 22, 2021

Even the best of teams can only have so many star players.

In fact, it is the best of teams who make good use of the grinders.

And it was during the Ontario Hockey League glory years of Sam McMaster as general manager and Terry Crisp as coach that the powerhouse Soo Greyhounds twice made trades with the lowly Kingston Canadians in which they exchanged high scoring forwards for fibrous left wingers.

…[read more]

Moving out of the dog house


Randy Russon
By
February 20, 2021

Brit Peer

As the 1984-1985 championship campaign ended a spectacular five year run for the Soo Greyhounds under the coach and general manager duo of Terry Crisp and Sam McMaster, the next five seasons would be all downhill for the Red and White.

But as the Greyhounds went from the penthouse in 1984-1985 to the outhouse in 1985-1986, a pair of right wingers escaped the dog house via trade and finished their Ontario Hockey League careers with a flourish.

…[read more]

Sam, Terry and the Hounds


Randy Russon
By
February 19, 2021

Members of the 1984-1985 OHL champion Soo Greyhounds

A decade before the Soo Greyhounds would have Ontario Hockey League and Memorial Cup championship success with Ted Nolan as coach and Sherry Bassin as general manager, the Red and White would power its way to a franchise record 227 victories over a five year, regular season span.

Led by the dynamic duo of general manager Sam McMaster and coach Terry Crisp, the Greyhounds would amass an amazing regular season record of 227-100-11 between 1980 and 1985.

…[read more]

Statement from David Branch


HockeyNewsNorth.com Staff
By
February 11, 2021

David Branch

Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch has issued the following statement relative to return to play discussions for the 2020-2021 season.

…[read more]

OHL boss is optimistic


Randy Russon
By
February 10, 2021

The 18 teams of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League have already combined to play well over 150 games thus far into the COVID-19 affected, 2020-2021 regular season.

Meanwhile, the 22-member Western Hockey League is slated to begin play on February 26 with games involving its Alberta-based teams.

Over to the Ontario Hockey League — where COVID-19 cases continue to drop province wide — no firm start date has been determined for its 20 teams, three of which are American-based. But commissioner David Branch is optimistic that the OHL, which along with the QMJHL and WHL are under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League, will play hockey this season.

…[read more]

Colourful old Hound coaches


Randy Russon
By
February 7, 2021

Terry Crisp

Over the years, as the Ontario Hockey League has more and more evolved into being run like a big business — and there is nothing wrong with that — it has also taken on a boring and bland side with dull, monotonous coaches who act as though they might be physics or chemistry teachers in white lab coats and reading rehearsed scripts out of a text book.

In short, today’s OHL coaches certainly lack the colour, character and rousing personality of many of their predecessors from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the early part of the 2000 decade.

…[read more]

Express route for OHL picks


Randy Russon
By
January 30, 2021

Lucas Littlejohn

Nestled on the Spanish River, about 35 miles west of Sudbury and 145 miles east of Sault Ste. Marie — and just south of the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 17 — lies the little junior A hockey town of Espanola.

As the town is home to just under 5,000 residents, it also houses the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. And quite notably, the Express has become a route of choice for no less than nine Ontario Hockey League priority selection draft picks ranging in age from 16 to 18.

…[read more]

Stars still high on Porco


Randy Russon
By
January 28, 2021

Joe McDonnell

Almost two years after taking Nick Porco in the fifth round of the 2019 National Hockey League draft, the Dallas Stars still like what they have in the 19-year old winger from Sault Ste. Marie.

Joe McDonnell, who is the director of amateur scouting for the Stars and the person responsible for picking Porco, made that quite clear when talking to Hockey News North.

…[read more]

Nick Porco with Texas Stars


Randy Russon
By
January 27, 2021

Nick Porco

As the Ontario Hockey League remains in limbo as to when or if the 2020-2021 season will begin, junior age players from the various teams are, in the meantime, getting opportunities to play pro.

One such prospect is Nick Porco, a 19-year old left winger from Sault Ste. Marie who is a member of the OHL’s Barrie Colts and a National Hockey League draft pick of the Dallas Stars.

…[read more]

Jack Kopacka packs his bags


Randy Russon
By
January 27, 2021

Former Soo Greyhounds winger Jack Kopacka has had his National Hockey League rights transferred.

The 6-foot-2, 200 pound Kopacka, who had three productive seasons with the Greyhounds after being an eighth round pick at the 2016 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft, is now the NHL property of the Ottawa Senators following a trade today with the San Jose Sharks.

…[read more]

Knights before Hunters


Randy Russon
By
January 21, 2021

Given their sustained success as co-owners and as general manager and head coach, it sometimes seems as though the dynamic duo of Dale Hunter and Mark Hunter have always operated the London Knights.

But the Knights had an illustrious — if not as prolific — presence in the Ontario Hockey League long before the Hunter boys arrived in London back in 2000.

In short, there were Knights before there were Hunters.

…[read more]

NHL staffs plentiful Soo crew


Randy Russon
By
January 19, 2021

There is more to the current Sault Ste. Marie connection to the National Hockey League than the many players who are either from the Soo or who played for the Ontario Hockey League Greyhounds.

A lot more.

As a matter of fact, there are in excess of 20 guys with a link to the Soo who are part of NHL staffs as coaches, general managers and scouts.

…[read more]

It was a first for the Hounds


Randy Russon
By
January 12, 2021

Craig Hartsburg, as a 16-year old rookie

They had missed the playoffs in each of their first three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, beginning with their debut campaign of 1972-1973.

And fans and supporters of the Greyhounds — who were used to the winning ways from the team’s days in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association — were becoming restless and impatient.

…[read more]

What’s next for the OHL?


Randy Russon
By
December 27, 2020

OHL commissioner David Branch

Regular season action in junior hockey leagues that span northeastern and northwestern Ontario got underway in November with new playing rules that ban intentional contact — and with very few spectators allowed in the arenas.

But while the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League began regular season play on November 13 and the Superior International Jr. Hockey League started two weeks later, the higher level, higher stakes Ontario Hockey League has remained idle.

…[read more]

Nine OHL picks in Espanola


Randy Russon
By
December 14, 2020

Cameron Walker

A small market team in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the Espanola Express has become a major location for Ontario Hockey League draft picks to develop.

Notably, no less than nine players who are currently in the Espanola lineup are priority selection draft picks of seven different OHL teams.

…[read more]

Denny digs the NOJHL gig


Randy Russon
By
December 3, 2020

Denny Lambert

He has played the game at its highest level, suiting up for more than 500 National Hockey League games in what was an inspiring, improbable rise to the top.

He was later an assistant and head coach of eight seasons in the Ontario Hockey League for the same team that he played for, the Soo Greyhounds.

And now, 50-year old Denny Lambert is combining a career as a police officer with being the first year head coach of the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

…[read more]

No lack of story lines


Randy Russon
By
December 1, 2020

Connor Toms

Junior hockey is being played throughout northern Ontario, albeit in modified form, with no deliberate contact, restrictions on team to team travel, and few fans allowed in the rinks.

And unlike the Ontario Hockey League, which is planning on an early February start date to its regular season, the 2020-2021 campaign is already several weeks underway in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

To that end, there are good story lines galore relative to the NOJHL, including sports writers who previously ignored the league only to all of a sudden be on the bandwagon with plenty of printed words.

…[read more]

Flint to Leamington


Randy Russon
By
November 25, 2020

Top prospect goalie Chazz Nixon has been assigned by the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League to the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

The GOJHL has been cleared by the Ontario Hockey Federation to begin regular season play in January while the OHL has targeted February as its planned start date.

…[read more]

Such a good, good man


Randy Russon
By
November 22, 2020

Jim McAuley

He defined kindness and generosity with a trademark, friendly smile and the warmest of hearts.

A much respected, benevolent gentleman who was well known and well liked, he shunned the limelight even though he was so active in the community as a businessman, volunteer and philanthropist.

He had a love for dogs and a soft heart for the less fortunate and he gave so much in so many ways and asked for nothing in return.

…[read more]

New scouting gig for Soo boy


Randy Russon
By
November 1, 2020

Mike Dawson

As a medium size defenseman at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Mike Dawson made it to the Ontario Hockey League through hard work and perseverance.

A seventh round pick of the Kingston Frontenacs from the Soo Legion midgets at the 1990 priority selections draft, Dawson went on to play three full seasons in the OHL.

He later played five seasons of Atlantic Canada university hockey in total at both Acadia and St. Mary’s followed by two years of pro hockey in Holland and another in the minor pro, Central Hockey League.

Now 47 years of age, the Sault Ste. Marie product has taken his work ethic and knowledge of the game to an ongoing full-time scouting position in the National Hockey League.

…[read more]