Several skaters from the top team in the Great North Midget Hockey League from 2019-2020 are poised to progress to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in 2020-2021.
Forwards Michael Chaffay, Dylan Forsyth, Devin Mauro and Ty Zachary and defenseman Mateo Perri are among the stalwarts from the Great North’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds who may be headed to the NOJHL once the 2020-2021 season gets going.
Chaffay, Forsyth, Zachary and Perri all have 2002 birth dates and have exhausted their midget hockey eligibility. Mauro, on the other hand, is two years younger with a 2004 birth date but is likely to move up to the NOJHL in 2020-2021.
Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers and the Michigan Soo Eagles are area teams of the NOJHL that are in a geographical spot to land the likes of Chaffay, Forsyth, Zachary, Perri and Mauro for the 2020-2021 season.
The Thunderbirds, Beavers and Eagles are teams with first-rate coaches in place and are known for being reputable, well functioning and well managed NOJHL franchises.
Mauro who led the Jr. Greyhounds in scoring in 2019-2020 with 30 goals, 32 assists, 62 points, could well form a family duo with his older brother Justin Mauro in Blind River. The elder Mauro, who has a 2002 birth date, has put up 24 goals, 51 assists, 75 points in 84 regular season games as a speedy forward for Blind River over the past two NOJHL terms.
Chaffay, meanwhile, was a goal scoring machine for the Jr. Greyhounds as their second leading points producer in 2019-2020. Playing in 35 league games in the Great North, Chaffay churned out 34 goals, 19 assists, 53 points for a Soo squad that finished in first place with a record of 28-7-3.
As for Forsyth, who only a few short years ago was a goalie, the hard-working winger was sixth on the Jr. Greyhounds scoring chart in 2019-2020 with 13 goals, 18 assists, 31 points.
Over to Zachary, the heart and soul player finished fourth in scoring for the Jr. Greyhounds with 11 goals, 28 assists, 39 points. Zachary’s dad, Trev Zachary, is the general manager of the NOJHL Thunderbirds — but the capable youngster can certainly speak for himself with his work ethic and ability.
And as a defenseman, Perri netted one goal, 12 assists, 13 points for the Jr. Greyhounds over the course of the 2019-2020 season.
To be sure, there are a number of younger players with 2003 and 2004 birth dates who could well move up to the NOJHL come the 2020-2021 campaign. But with major midget eligibility remaining, some or all could opt to remain with the Jr. Greyhounds.
The 2004 group notably includes a pair of defensemen who were among the top 99 picks at the 2020 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.
Connor Toms went to the Soo Greyhounds in the third round (44th overall) while Mason Chitaroni was picked by the London Knights in the fifth round (99th overall.) If Toms or Chitaroni don’t make the OHL as 16-year old rookies in 2020-2021, they could wind up with the Thunderbirds or Blind River as affiliate players.