Maguire and Marson

April 26, 2023

Only one 2007 birth year goalie from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League was picked at the 2023 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft as Nathan Maguire went from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds to the Flint Firebirds in the seventh round. And while he was not drafted, it says here that goalie Nick Marson of the Sudbury U16 Nickel Capitals also deserved to be selected.

First up, this is no slight on Maguire, a 6-foot, 160 pound lad who had a 1.69 goals against average and four shutouts while sharing the net with Maverick Fletcher for the powerhouse Jr. Greyhounds. Maguire had his role with the Jr. Greyhounds, who finished atop the regular standings in 2022-2023 with a record of 26-2-0 before losing in the championship game of the playoff tournament in stunning fashion to the North Bay U18 Trappers — with Fletcher between the pipes in what was a shocking 8-5 setback. And over the course of the season, Maguire obviously impressed Flint enough to be picked in the seventh round of the recent OHL priority selections draft — and that certainly cannot be taken away from the slender tender.

Nick Marson. (photo by Bob Davies)

Rather, the thought here is that if Maguire was good enough to be drafted, so too should have Marson, who had a good season under trying conditions.

Marson’s story from the past season began when he was not picked as one of the two goalies for his hometown Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North loop, who opted to go with Fletcher and Maguire between the pipes. Undaunted, Marson — who was just 14 years old at the time — left his parents home in the Soo to head to Sudbury to try out for and subsequently make the U16 Nickel Capitals.

Despite the fact that his parents preferred that he stay home in the Soo and play at the U16 AA level, Marson showed his maturity and determination by instead opting to pack his bags for Sudbury and sign an AAA card to play for the U16 Nickel Capitals. And play he did — and extremely well — over the course of the 2022-2023 Great North season. 

Marson, who did not turn 15 years old until December 16, certainly showed his capabilities in the U16 Nickel Capitals net. He posted a 7-5-1 record with a 3.74 goals against average while routinely facing more than 40 shots per game. Notably, the U16 Nickel Capitals were by far the most penalized team in the eight member Great North with 555 penalty minutes in 28 regular season games. Which means that the Sudbury goalies were often facing the opposing team’s power play. It is also worth noting that while Marson had a personal record of 7-5-1, the U16 Nickel Capitals were only 4-11-0 in the games that he did not play.

While showing his net worth for the U16 Nickel Capitals, an untimely injury cost the 5-foot-11, 180 pound Marson a shot at playing for Team NOHA at the prestigious OHL Cup Tournament. Shortly before the mid February Team NOHA evaluation camp, Marson tore a muscle in his right hip and was advised by Pro Physio Rehab Centre in Sudbury to not participate in the Team NOHA evaluation camp.

Nathan Maguire

With Marson not at the evaluation camp, the door opened a bit wider for both Maguire and Alex Hall of the Timmins Majors to be picked as the two goalies for Team NOHA.

Meanwhile, the injury would cause Marson to miss most of the rest of the regular season, though he did return in time to start two of the U16 Nickel Capitals three games at the Great North’s end of season championship tournament.

At any rate, as the expanded saying goes, it was what it was and it is what it is. Maguire was drafted and he certainly gets credit and acclaim for impressing Flint enough for the Firebirds to use a seventh round pick on him.

On the flip side, Marson was not drafted — but that does not mean he is any less of a goalie as one who overcome adversity aplenty over the past season. And not being drafted just could provide Marson with the motivation to be even better in 2023-2024. When one door closes, another has a way of opening.

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