Sam McMaster and Sherry Bassin are the only general managers in the 50-year Ontario Hockey League history of the Soo Greyhounds to win a championship. And even though he has yet to manage the Greyhounds to an OHL crown, current GM Kyle Raftis has overseen his share of winning as the Soo’s hockey boss.
The 36-year old Raftis, who took over from Kyle Dubas as the Greyhounds GM ahead of the 2014-2015 OHL season, was recently re-signed to a new four-year contract, team president and governor Tim Lukenda confirmed. The agreement extends through the 2025-2026 OHL season.
“Kyle has done a tremendous job setting the tone and expectation of what it means to be a Soo Greyhound. We look forward to the upcoming season and beyond to see how far we can take our program under Kyle’s leadership,” Lukenda said of Raftis.
From his end, Raftis called the contract extension an honour.
“It is a tremendous honour to be able to continue in this role with this incredible franchise and city,” relayed Raftis. “Over the past eight seasons, so many great individuals have come through this program both on and off the ice in my time here. We have collectively worked towards developing this program which has resulted in some memorable accomplishments.
“It has been been really awesome to see the evolution over the last eight years and where our organization has gone,” Raftis added. “And I still think there is a lot of room to grow on top of it, which is just as exciting when you’re signing on for a few more years.
“You start every year and the goal is that you want to win a championship,” Raftis continued. “That is why players come to Sault Ste. Marie to play for the Greyhounds … they want to be involved in long playoff runs and sign pro contracts and I think those are all big things to do, as well as develop players, as that is a massive thing as well. It is all part of what are organization is all about.”
Over the past eight seasons, the Greyhounds have accumulated an overall record of 302-131-39 for a .681 winning percentage under Raftis. Notably, the Greyhounds have won the West Division title three times (2017-2018, 2016-2017 and 2014-2015), finished first overall during the regular season in both 2017-2018 and 2014-2015 and went to the OHL championship series in 2018 only to be upset by the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“I would like to thank Tim Lukenda and the board of directors for entrusting me with the continued privilege of leading the Soo Greyhounds. Their unwavering support and belief in the shared vision for the organization is paramount,” added Raftis.
Raftis is among a group of current, long-serving, esteemed OHL general managers that includes George Burnett of the Guelph Storm, Mark Hunter of the London Knights, Dave Brown of the Erie Otters, Dale DeGray of the Owen Sound Attack, Dave Drinkill of the Saginaw Spirit, James Boyd of the Ottawa 67’s and Michael Oke of the Peterborough Petes.