Smart, steady defenseman Candon O’Neill has a verbal, future commitment to play at the Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association level for the cross-river Lake Superior State University Lakers.
O’Neill, who has a 2007 birth date, has played in seven games for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League this season and has seven assists.
O’Neill is poised to, at some point down the road, become the first player from the Sault Ste. Marie area, the Thunderbirds and the NOJHL to head south of the border to Lake Superior State on a D1 college commitment since defenseman Owen Hendrick of Garden River First Nation did so in 2015. Notably, O’Neill still has four seasons of junior eligibility remaining after this one.
The medium size defender was picked by the Saginaw Spirit in the 12th round of the 2023 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League. Regular season and playoffs included for the Jr. Greyhounds in 2022-2023, O’Neill had four goals, 30 assists, 34 points in 33 games.