Notes from the Great North

May 22, 2023

Checking in with the Soo Jr. Greyhounds, Sudbury U18 Nickel Capitals and Timmins Majors of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League:


Sean Gagnon

Under the attentive, heedful eyes of new head coach Sean Gagnon, his accomplice general manager Darrin Thomsen and other pundits, the Jr. Greyhounds signed 17 players from a recent tryout camp that, notably, attracted more than 50 players with 2008, 2007 and 2006 birthdates.

Twelve of the 17 signed players are moving up to the AAA Under-18 ranks of the Great North with the Jr. Greyhounds from either the AAA Under 15, AA Under 16 or AA Under 18 levels of the Sault Major Hockey Association.

The other five signed locals all have the background and training of playing in the Great North loop during the 2022-2023 season. They are forwards Lucas DiBerardino and Griffen Albert from the Jr. Greyhounds, forward Coulson Bell and goalie Nick Marson from the U16 Nickel Capitals and goalie A.J. Borrelli from the U18 Nickel Capitals. DiBerardino, Albert, Bell and Marson all have 2007 birth dates while Borrelli was born in 2006.

Gagnon, as the head coach, has left three spots open that could potentially be filled by 2007 or 2006 birth year players from the 2022-2023 edition of the Jr. Greyhounds ahead of main camp in August.

Of the newcomers from the various age categories of the Sault Major ranks, several stood out at the recent tryout camp including 2006 birth year forward Sebastian dos Reis, 2007 birth year forward Sammy Caruso, 2008 birth year forwards Danny Macdonald, Espen Escasa and Nathan Dupuis and 2008 birth year defensemen Brady Real, Liam Watson, Cole Wreggitt and Cameron Kontulainen.

Gagnon, meanwhile, has a message for his players well in advance of the ’23-24 season.

“We expect our veteran players to come in and lead by example and to be team-first players who are ready to take the next step in their development,” Gagnon relayed to Hockey News North. “As for our rookie players, be ready physically to take on the challenge of playing in a tough league against a lot of other players who may be more experienced and physically mature.”


Under 18 Nickel Capitals head coach Brian Dickinson told Hockey News North that he and his staff won’t finalize their full roster until August.

Seemingly, Dickinson and his assistants will have talent aplenty to choose from. Besides potential returning players from the ’22-23 edition of the U18 Nickel Capitals, there are three skaters from the U16 Nickel Capitals who were all picked at the 2023 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.

The OHL draft picks with 2007 birth dates are defenseman Alexandre Valade (fourth round, Mississauga Steelheads) and forwards Cole Dubowsky (seventh round, Barrie Colts) and Max Campbell (12th round, Erie Otters.)


Timmins Majors goalie Alex Hall, in action against the North Bay Trappers during the ’22-23 season. (photo by Thomas Perry)

Majors general manager Ron Holmes has confirmed the signing of six players from the ’22-23 edition of the Timmins team ahead of the August 18-20 main tryout camp.

They are goalie Alex Hall, defensemen Cole Ellis and Zach Secord and forwards Teegan Bertrand, Travis Poan and Colten Lane. Hall, Ellis and Bertrand all have 2007 birth dates while the other three were born in 2006.

Ellis was taken by the Kingston Frontenacs in the 15th round of the 2023 OHL priority selections draft.

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