They have overachieved with a record of 17-6-1 and their 35 points has them in second place in the West Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. And as the other 11 members of the NOJHL are on pause relative to COVID-19 and Ontario government shutdown, the Michigan-based Eagles were able to play a pair of recent exhibition games against the Wisconsin Lumberjacks of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.
All in all, long-time Eagles general manager and associate coach Bruno Bragagnolo is satisfied with the level of play and progression of the Michigan Soo squad.
“We are pretty happy with the way the boys have been going this season,” Bragagnolo relayed to Hockey News North. “Not that we have played great hockey but more to the point that we have been improving steadily both as individual talent and as a team. We have a good number of rookies so I am really excited about our potential as a group down the road.”
Bragagnolo also reflected on the temporary shutdown of regular season play in the NOJHL.
“Obviously the pause has been disappointing especially more so because of the effect it has on our Canadian team partners. We will try and keep going here and just hope everything gets back to some type of normalcy,” Bragagnolo noted.
Meanwhile,the two recent games against Wisconsin of the SIJHL were a welcome experience for the NOJHL Eagles.
“Playing Wisconsin was good for us as we were able to get everyone some ice and playing time. Both teams were rusty from the break but everyone played hard,” said Bragagnolo, who added that he would like to see NOJHL and SIJHL teams meet more often.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing if our league could incorporate games with SIJHL teams every year,” Bragagnolo stated.
Soo Eagles of the NOJHL in recent action against the Wisconsin Lumberjacks of the SIJHL. (photo by Rob Horn)