Soo Eagles have reached across the St. Mary’s River to sign 1997 birth-year forward Jake Palmerio, HockeyNewsNorth.com has confirmed.
A Sault Ste. Marie native, the 5-foot-9, 178 pound Palmerio becomes the first Canadian to sign with the Michigan-based Eagles, who are returning to the NOJHL this season after three years in the North American Hockey League.
Palmerio, who scored 20 goals in 32 games for the Batchewana Attack of the now-dormant Canadian International Hockey League in 2014-2015, jumped at the chance to sign with the Eagles after being offered a spot by coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo.
“I got to know Bruno from having practiced with the Eagles a few times last season and I really like him,” said Palmerio. “He runs a really good practice and has a great reputation.”
Palmerio had opportunities to play junior hockey elsewhere in 2015-2016 but decided to stay home after talking with his parents and with Bragagnolo.
The youngster said he aspires to be “one of the better players on the Eagles and in the league. I want to show Bruno that I can be a first-line player.”
Playing a season of junior as a 17-year old with Batchewana and former Ontario Hockey League coach Denny Lambert in 2014-2015 was a “great experience” said Palmerio.
“Denny is a great guy and a great coach who taught me a lot,” said Palmerio. “He definitely made me a better player.”
Bragagnolo, who has coached the Eagles for five years now — two in the NOJHL and three in the NAHL — said Palmerio is a player who he quickly targeted as one of four Canadians that the Michigan Soo team is allowed to carry.
“I got to see a lot of him when we invited him to skate with us over the course of last season,” said Bragagnolo. “Jake is a smart player and a good skater who knows where to be on the ice. This is a kid who we really like a lot.”
PHOTO: Jake Palmerio shows off the Soo Eagles jersey that he will wear this coming season. (Photo by HockeyNewsNorth.com.)