This is a multiple coaching hire of well known local hockey people.
Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League will have a new look coaching staff for the 2020-2021 season, Hockey News North has confirmed. And leading the way as the new bench boss of the T-Birds is a man who played the game at its highest level.
Denny Lambert will be the Thunderbirds head coach with Jeremy Stevenson, Micky Sartoretto and Aidan Wright on staff as assistants.
The change in direction comes after John Parco recently stepped down as head coach of the Thunderbirds after three successive winning seasons at the helm of the NOJHL team.
Lambert heads to the Thunderbirds and the NOJHL with a deep hockey history.
The 50-year old Lambert played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League as a fearless left winger who went on to play in more than 500 National Hockey League games, including playoffs.
Amazingly, Lambert was never drafted into the OHL or the NHL.
And Lambert’s coaching experience includes eight seasons in the OHL with the Greyhounds — three as head coach. He also coached the Batchewana Attack of the erstwhile Canadian International Hockey League to a championship in its only season of existence.
As for the 45-year old Stevenson, he is also a former left winger with the Greyhounds — he actually began his OHL playing career with the Cornwall Royals — who went to play in more than 225 NHL games, including playoffs.
The 29-year old Sartoretto is yet another former OHL winger, having played three seasons with the Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit. He then closed out his junior career as captain of his hometown Soo Thunderbirds, leading them to the NOJHL championship.
And the 27-year old Wright is a former high-end defenseman who played four seasons of Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey with the Lake Superior State Lakers.
Of note, Stevenson, Sartoretto and Wright all have combined, extensive coaching experience within the Sault Major Hockey Association.
Thunderbirds general manager Trevor Zachary noted that, “we are incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated and experienced group of coaches locally, willing to spend their time to work with our players. The organization has done a tremendous job developing players and staff over the years and with the additions of Denny, Jeremy, Micky, and Aidan, we will continue to do so.”
Zachary added that Lambert, Stevenson, Sartoretto and Wright “are all character individuals as well as having various forms of high level hockey experience.
“I believe we have put together an all star coaching staff,” Zachary relayed to Hockey News North.
Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds confirmed that Terry Barbeau will return to the team as its goalie coach.