Seasoned skater Liam Bridgeman will continue his Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League career with a new team after being acquired by the Elliot Lake Vikings from the Espanola Paper Kings in a cash transaction. Bridgeman becomes the latest player with northern Ontario roots to suit up for Elliot Lake.
A 2004 birth year forward who stands in at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Bridgeman has appeared in 99 games, playoffs included, for Espanola since 2021. He has totalled seven goals, 20 assists, 27 points.
Bridgeman will add veteran depth to the forward lines of the rookie-laden Vikings.
Hailing from the Manitoulin Island town of Mindemoya, Bridgeman played much of his minor hockey in Sudbury before advancing to the NOJHL.
He becomes the 10th northern Ontario product on the roster of the NOJHL Vikings of Elliot Lake.
Besides Bridgeman, the others are goalies Cameron Boville and Sam Keene, defensemen Sam Verbonac, Tyler Thompson, Carter Carriere and Braeden Vis and forwards Anthony Bertrand, Noah Aboflan and Connor Desbois.
Boville and Verbonac are both from Sault Ste. Marie, Keene is from the Thunder Bay area, Thompson, Carriere, Vis and Bertrand are all from in and around Sudbury while Aboflan and Desbois are both homegrown Elliot Lake products.
To be sure, the renamed Vikings, who are now under local ownership after being operated by out of town personnel the past two years, have put an emphasis on attracting capable players from the north.
During the past off season — and much to the excitement of the majority of hockey fans in town — long-time local resident Jef Jarmovitch took over operation of the former Elliot Lake Red Wings. Jarmovitch immediately rebranded the NOJHL franchise as the Elliot Lake Vikings. Notably, junior hockey made its debut in Elliot Lake in 1965 and from then until 1997, the team was known as the Vikings.