The clear cut mission is to win the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship. And if the Sudbury Cubs are able to do so it will be with a lineup that is laden with local lads and northern folk.
No less than 15 of the 21 players on the Cubs roster are from northern Ontario, of which 13 are either from the Greater Sudbury Area or who played minor hockey in the district.
“Our first priority will always be to the local players and kids from the north,” said Blaine Smith, who is the Cubs managing director and chief lieutenant to owner Mark Burgess.
And as Smith and Burgess have deep Sudbury roots so too do Cubs head coach Darryl Moxam and associate coach/general manager Dave Clancy.
As for the northern lads who influence the Cubs roster, there is a presiding presence of graduates from the Great North Under 18 Hockey League, mostly from the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves but also including the Soo Jr. Greyhounds and North Bay Trappers.
The list of northern lights playing for the Cubs is not only lengthy but impressive and includes goalies Noah Beaulne and Noah Metivier, defensemen Chris Innes and Graeme Siren and forwards Oliver Smith, Cameron Shanks, Cameron Walker, Pierson Sobush, Cole Crowder, Samuel Assinewai, Billy Biedermann, Nolan Newton, Marshall McCharles, Miguel Renaud and Ben Harris.
Notably, all but two of the above mentioned players have junior eligibility remaining after this season that ranges from one to four years.
Currently, the Cubs have a league best record of 25-4-2 for 42 points and an .839 winning percentage.
Not that Sudbury is a precise, specific favourite to win the NOJHL championship for the 2022-2023 season. Others who can be considered top flight contenders for title glory include Sudbury’s West Division rivals, the Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds, along with the Timmins Rock, Hearst Lumberjacks and Powassan Voodoos from the East Division.
But whether they win the NOJHL championship or not, Sudbury certainly represents a strong show of support for northern talent.
Sudbury Cubs goalie Noah Beaulne, in above photo.