OHL draft pick evolves with Eagles

January 29, 2016

A 2012 Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds, Gordie Helmuth is putting his game back together as a productive winger with the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

After a less-than-inspiring season with the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League in 2014-2015, Helmuth was ready to give up the game and focus on school.

But it took only six weeks after the 2015-2016 season began for Helmuth to realize how much he missed hockey and through a few friends who were playing for the Eagles, he got in touch with Bruno Bragagnolo, the coach-general manager of the Michigan Soo NOJHLers.

Bragagnolo already knew of Helmuth and his abilities and it was quickly arranged for the 19-year old to leave his Royal Oak, Michigan home and head up to the Soo.

Despite the fact that Helmuth was not in game shape, Bragagnolo signed the 6-foot, 180-pounder to an NOJHL card and the youngster immediately started working hard on his conditioning.

The results have been really good to date.

Through 22 games with the Eagles, Helmuth has produced 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points and become a high-end, all-around performer by utilizing his skill, smarts and toughness.

“There was no doubt in my mind that once he got into shape that he would be a top player for us,” said Bragagnolo, while guesting on a recent edition of ESPN 1400’s Hockey North Show. “Gordie knows how to play the game. There’s a reason that he was an OHL draft pick as an American kid.”

Re-energized as a hockey player, Helmuth said heading to the Soo to play for the Eagles “is one of the best decisions I have made.

“The Eagles are a class organization and the NOJHL is a really-good league,” said Helmuth. “In fact, I was surprised at the caliber of play in the league. I didn’t think it would be this good. Coming here has been great for my career.”

Helmuth comes from a family with deep hockey roots in the Detroit area.

His father, Jeff Helmuth, is a long-time coach within the reputable Detroit Little Caesars AAA program. And his uncle, Andy Helmuth, is a former OHL goalie who won a Memorial Cup with the Jacques Martin-coached Guelph Platers in 1986.

Now that he is back and enjoying the game that he grew up around, Helmuth again has his sights set on playing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association level.

To that end, Bragagnolo said he has talked to the Northern Michigan Wildcats of the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association about Helmuth. Bragagnolo has a past relationship with Wildcats head coach Walt Kyle, having helped developed former Eagles forwards Robbie Payne and Denver Pierce for Northern Michigan.

“There is no question in my mind that Gordie is a D1 player,” said Bragagnolo. “And there are a lot of good Division 3 schools that have called me about him as well.”

Helmuth still has a season of junior eligibility remaining after this one and said that if he does not get an NCAA commitment for 2016-2017, he would have “no problem at all” returning to the Eagles and the NOJHL for another term.

What you think about “OHL draft pick evolves with Eagles”

  1. I think that the Lakers should committ to Helmeth for the 2017-18 Season. I seen him play quite a few times now and ur right he is a D1 player.

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