Sault Ste. Marie product Kenny Belanger is settling into his new junior hockey home. The towering 2004 birth year forward joined the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League from the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League at the recent Canadian Jr. Hockey League trade deadline.
Belanger was in his third season in the NOJHL and second with the Eagles and was performing at an all-star level with 22 goals, 21 assists, 43 points in 34 games. A superb face off man, Belanger was also the captain of the Eagles.
Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo told Hockey News North that trading Belanger should provide increased exposure for the big centre as Oakville is the host team for this spring’s Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship tournament.
“Oakville really wanted Kenny and we were not going to stand in his way,” said Bragagnolo. “He was a big part of our team and we are going to miss him.”
Sudbury native Scott McCrory is the head coach and general manager in Oakville and he told Hockey News North that “the Blades are very happy to have Kenny with us.”
The 56-year old McCrory is a former superstar centre with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. Before going on to embark on a lengthy pro career in both North America and overseas, McCrory led the OHL in scoring during the 1986-1987 season while sparking Oshawa to the league championship. The Generals of that season were coached by Sault Ste. Marie product Paul Theriault, who recently passed away at the age of 73.