They have shown well through eight games to date with their COVID-19 cohorts from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.
To be sure, head coach Jamie (Hendo) Henderson and his Soo Jr. Greyhounds have posted an impressive record of 4-2-2 against the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in eight mini matches thus far this season.
But aside from inter squad competition and scheduled skill sessions, the Jr. Greyhounds and the rest of the teams in the Great North are now on hiatus from game play until a yet to be determined date in January.
Meantime, the hard-driven, hard-driving Henderson has liked what he has seen of the Jr. Greyhounds so far in successive weekends of home and home play with the Nickel Capital Wolves.
Admitting that the new, modified format of play that features teams of 22-member rosters divided into two squads of 11 players apiece for three period, 13-minute mini games against their cohort competitors has taken some getting used to, Henderson nonetheless noted that he is “just thankful to be playing.
“There are some things that I could complain about but in looking at the big picture, I am appreciative for what we have here in the Soo and in northern Ontario,” Henderson relayed on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show on Eagle Radio 95.1.
“There are a lot of teams and leagues in other areas of the province that have not even been able to play games yet so, as I said, we need to appreciate what we have, even if it is not what we are used to,” Henderson added.
The affable coach of the Soo squad pointed to a recent weekend of play in Sudbury where he said there were a healthy gathering of Ontario Hockey League general managers and scouts on hand to watch the Jr. Greyhounds and Nickel Capital Wolves play four 39-minute games over the space of one day.
“Our kids were seen by the OHL people and that means a lot,” Henderson said evenly. “Winning is great and we all like to win. But for me as a coach, my priorities always have been and always will be developing all of our players and promoting them to scouts and GMs at the higher levels, whether it’s the OHL, the (Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League) or the schools.
“And it is great that you are always helping to promote the kids from the north through all of your articles and here on this show,” noted Henderson.
A committed coach with an unbridled passion for the game, Henderson takes pride in the attention to detail and work ethic that he constantly strives to pass on to his players.
“If a player puts in the effort at practice and in games and is committed to being a better player, I will always go to whatever lengths I can to help in any way that I can,” he relayed.
With players born in 2003, 2004 and 2005 making up the Jr. Greyhounds, Henderson said he has already talked to a number of junior managers, coaches and scouts and college hockey personnel about the youngsters on his team.
Meantime, with the Jr. Greyhounds and the Great North on game activity hiatus until the new year, the guy they call Hendo continues to breathe the game he loves.
And if he is not at John Rhodes Community Center coaching and instructing the Jr. Greyhounds, chances are you fill find him in the back yard of his east end home on the family outdoor rink, hanging out and playing hockey with his three-year old son, Brady.
“Thankfully I have a great wife who allows me to put so much time into the game I love,” signed off an appreciative Henderson.
Following is the 22-player roster of the U18 Jr. Greyhounds.
Forwards: Calem Mangone, Stephen Pszeniczny, Theo Smith, Sam Lake, Carmine Perna, Gabe Zimbaro, Carter Lidstone, Connor Chow Lynn, Cooper Foster, Lincoln Moore, Noah Aboflan, Daniel Bumbacco.
Defensemen: Michael Beltrano, Adam Barone, Kolby Fellinger, Austin Fellinger, Creo Solomon, Luca Spadafora, Adrian O’Dell, Sam Verbonac.
Goalies: Noah Metivier, Terry See.