Espanola Paper Kings of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have registered a second Sault Ste. Marie product who plays for the Sudbury U16 Nickel Capitals of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League as an affiliate player, Hockey News North has confirmed.
Paper Kings general manager Marc Gagnon has endorsed the signing of U16 Nickel Capitals forward Coulson Bell as a 2007 birth year affiliate player for Espanola.
With some good speed and skill, the 5-foot-11, 160 pound Bell has performed well for the U16 Nickel Capitals this season with three goals, three assists, six points in 11 league games and has really picked up his game as the 2022-2023 campaign has progressed. In fact, just before Christmas, Bell rang up four assists in five games for the U16 Nickel Capitals at the prestigious Waterloo Gold Puck Tournament.
Bell’s teammate in Sudbury, fellow Sault Ste. Marie product Nick Marson, previously signed with Espanola as an affiliate player, as was first reported by Hockey News North. Marson, a 2007 birth year goalie, has been a standout with a 5-1-1 record and 3.11 goals against average on a U16 Nickel Capitals team that has an 8-5-1 mark and a team GAA of 3.57.
Interestingly, both Bell and Marson were cut by their hometown Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North before the start of this season. Thus, in order to play at the AAA level, Bell and Marson both left their Sault Ste. Marie homes to head 180 miles down Highway 17 to Sudbury to try out, make the team, then play — and play well — for the U16 Nickel Capitals.
At any rate, aforementioned Espanola general manager Marc Gagnon told Hockey News North that he is thrilled to have both Bell and Marson as 15-year old affiliate players with the Paper Kings.
Gagnon added that Espanola’s affiliation with both the U16 Nickel Capitals and the North Bay U18 Trappers of the GNU18HL is all about the development process.
“We are happy with our relationship with Great North teams such as the U16 Sudbury Nickel Caps as well with the U18 North Bay Trappers. This enables us to AP local northern talent (such as Bell and Marson and others.) Our program is about development and moving players on to the next level,” Gagnon relayed.
Of note, registered affiliate players such as Bell and Marson can practice with the Paper Kings when called upon. They can also play in a limited number of NOJHL games as APs in the case of shortened lineups due to injury or suspension.