Soo T-Birds to Windsor Spitfires

September 3, 2015

Goalie Mario Culina — a good, old Croatian boy from Sault Ste. Marie — has signed with the Ontario Hockey League Windsor Spitfires as an undrafted free agent.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound, 1997 birth-year netminder backstopped the Soo Thunderbirds to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canada championships as a rookie in 2014-2015.

He was invited to Windsor’s main camp and in 80 minutes of play, Culina stopped 43 of 47 shots for a .915 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average.

“Of course, I’m very excited,” Culina said. “I knew coming into camp I would have to steal a job. I had to work really hard and show the coaches what I had. That hard work has paid off.”

Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel noted that Culina impressed the entire Windsor hockey staff with his approach to the game.

“He played well and was arguably our best goaltender throughout camp,” Rychel said. “Our staff really like him. He’s tall and covers a lot of the net and moves really well too.

“He’s taken a good opportunity and he’s making good on it. The other part is we only had two goalies signed and needed a third. So, bringing Mario on will create some healthy competition for the starting job,” Rychel added.

PHOTO: Mario Culina with Windsor Spitfires GM Warren Rychel and head coach Rocky Thompson.

What you think about “Soo T-Birds to Windsor Spitfires”

  1. So here we have a good young Goalie who the Hounds and Lake State BOTH missed right in there own friggin back yard dammit all! Here here Mario Culina here here young man !!!!!!!

  2. Super Mario. This is good News for Sault Major Hockey.
    The 1997 birth team grads are moving up to hi levels .. Owen Headrick, Speers, Frankie Pucci, now Mario.

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