NOJHL is rapid on advancement

December 2, 2016

Given its recent track record of advancing talent to the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association and Ontario Hockey League levels, one has to wonder why any player from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League would want to leave it for a lateral move within the Canadian Jr. Hockey League.

Let’s begin by saying that if an NOJHL player is good enough to advance to the D1/NCAA or OHL levels, recent history shows that they will get that opportunity.

Check out the number of players since the beginning of the 2015-2016 season alone who have moved on from teams in the NOJHL to D1/NCAA and the OHL.

To be sure, following is an example of 10 players who have moved onward and upward from the NOJHL to D1/NCAA or the OHL within the last year or so.

— Defenseman Owen Headrick, Soo Thunderbirds to Lake Superior State University Lakers.

— Defenseman Caleb Boman, Soo Thunderbirds to Niagara University Purple Knights.

— Forward Boris Katchouk, Soo Thunderbirds to Soo Greyhounds and a second-round, National Hockey League draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

— Forward Nicolas Sicoly, Soo Thunderbirds to Guelph Storm.

— Forward Darian Pilon, Soo Thunderbirds to Sudbury Wolves.

— Forward Drake Pilon, Soo Thunderbirds to Sudbury Wolves.

— Goalie Mario Culina, Soo Thunderbirds to Windsor Spitfires.

— Goalie Garrett Forrest, Powassan Voodoos to Flint Firebirds.

— Forward Steve Harland, Powassan Voodoos to North Bay Battalion.

— Forward Bradley Chenier, Rayside-Balfour Canadians to North Bay Battalion.

And there are more. At least five or six more.

Now I admit that I am partial to the NOJHL because it is a league that I have covered and followed closely for a number of years.

But the numbers do not lie. The NOJHL is advancing its players to higher levels — including D1/NCAA and the OHL — at a rapid rate.

Why even look to make a lateral move from a league that is doing its job of developing players as good as the NOJHL has been of late?

PHOTO: Owen Headrick has moved on to the Lake Superior State Lakers from the Soo Thunderbirds.

What you think about “NOJHL is rapid on advancement”

  1. Good article Randy. With all those players plus a large number going to D-3 Colleges also, the NOJHL has raised the talent level of play so that more and more Universities are concentrating on our players being at the very least equivalent to other leagues and teams. Player promotion and advancement from the NOJHL has really increased in the last few years starting from our head offices and all the teams.

  2. Not his fault. He’s a great young man who wasn’t the one who made this situation as it stands. He was being guided by other sources beyond his control. Myles has been nothing but a great teammate and probably our M.V.P. so far into this season. Whatever and wherever this ends up, I wish him nothing but the best now and in the future.

  3. Randy, ex beaver and goldminer Samuel Wilbur from Saginaw Michigan played his freshman season in the CIS West for Lethbridge University and now plays for NCAA division3 Fredonia State and was recently the SUNYAC player of the week.

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