The new kids on the block have signed 23 players ahead of the looming 2021-2022 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.
Elliot Lake Red Wings have inked 14 forwards, six defensemen and three goalies.
The current roster is as follows.
FORWARDS: Cole Kimble, Dayton Clarke, Sam Noad, Aidan Leblanc, Josh Tomasi, Alex Antoine, Tyson Bradford, Brodie Kearns, Brock McNaughton, Silas Crawford, Matthew Shulist, Hayden Cattani, Isaac Smith, Quinn Gavin-White.
DEFENSEMEN: Devin Shoreman, Teegan Dumont, Ethan Mercer, Jace Simington-Lesanko, Cameron Dial, Charlie Wesholowiski.
GOALIES: Nolan Chartrand, Ryder Gregga, Julien Lefebvre.
Of note, Antoine (Elliot Lake), Bradford (New Liskeard), Cattani (Thunder Bay), Dumont (Elliot Lake) and Lefebvre (Timmins) are all northern Ontario products.
And Cattani, Dumont and Lefebvre all have previous junior A hockey experience. Cattani was acquired by the Red Wings in a summer trade with the Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League; Dumont joined his hometown Red Wings in a summer transaction with the NOJHL’s Blind River Beavers; Lefebvre signed with Elliot Lake as a free agent after playing in the NOJHL during the 2020-2021 season with the Cochrane Crunch.
In the front office and behind the bench, the new Elliot Lake franchise features managing director Paul Noad, vice president of hockey operations Mark Savery, general manager John Buchanan, head coach Brian Noad, assistant coach Adam Lamarre and goalie coach Parker Simpson.
Elliot Lake is returning to the NOJHL this season as the rebranded Red Wings after sitting out the 2020-2021 campaign. Previously known as the Wildcats, Elliot Lake finished in last place in the 12-team NOJHL during the 2019-2020 season with an abysmal record of 7-46-3.
To be sure, NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca is happy to have Elliot Lake back in the league and gave kudos to aforementioned managing director and front man Paul Noad for his efforts in the formation of the Red Wings.
“Paul made an excellent, detailed presentation to the league before we accepted his application as a new franchise,” Mazzuca relayed to Hockey News North. “He had everything in place from finances down to who his hockey people were and their backgrounds. There is no doubt in my mind that Paul saved junior hockey in Elliot Lake.”
The new Red Wings are scheduled to make their 2021-2022 regular season debut on Friday, September 17 with a road game against the nearby Espanola Express.
Elliot Lake is part of the NOJHL West Division that includes Espanola, Blind River, Rayside Balfour Canadians, Soo Thunderbirds and Soo Eagles.