Utilizing the venue of one of its sponsors, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians inked seven players to Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League cards on Saturday.
At a matinee gathering at the Horse Tavern in the Rayside-Balfour community of Chelmsford, the Canadians used the popular establishment to announce the signing of four veterans and three rookies.
Players returning to the fold of the erstwhile Sudbury Nickel Barons — now known as the aforementioned Rayside-Balfour Canadians — include defencemen Kyle Fransen, Brett Whitehead and Ryan Mooney and forward Dan Lepage.
Fransen was born in 1995, Whitehead and Mooney both have 1998 birth dates and Lepage was born in 1996.
All were high-end players on the NOJHL squad that won 31 of 52 regular-season games in 2014-2015 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
“We also have some more returning players that will be signed to cards in August,” Canadians coach Jason Young told HockeyNewsNorth.com.
Meanwhile, the all-new Rayside-Balfour squad has also signed three rookie skaters.
Signing up to play for the Canadians in 2015-2016 are forwards Eric Paquette and Cayse Ton and defenceman Logan Lefebvre.
All three starred in the Great North Midget Hockey League in 2014-2015 — Paquette with the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves, Lefebvre with the Nickel City Sons and Ton with the regular-season champion New Liskeard Cubs.
Despite being one of the youngest players in the GNMHL, Ton finished fourth in the league in scoring during the 2014-2015 regular season with 33 goals, 30 assists, 63 points in 36 games. He then added 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points in 7 playoff outings and was selected by the Owen Sound Attack in the 11th round of this year’s Ontario Hockey League draft.
Ton was born in 1999, Lefebvre in 1998 and Paquette in 1997.
Meanwhile, Coach Young noted that there are many positives associated with the team’s move to nearby Rayside-Balfour for the 2015-2016 season.
“We are really happy to be playing in the Chelmsford Arena and to bring back the franchise to the town of Rayside-Balfour. We are already receiving tremendous support from the local merchants in Rayside-Balfour and the people here are very excited for the start of the season,” said Young.
PHOTO: From left to right — Cayse Ton, Kyle Fransen, Dan Lepage, Lou Laberge (owner of the Horse Tavern), Eric Paquette, Brett Whitehead, Logan Lefebvre and Ryan Mooney.