Who says you can’t go home again? Sudbury Cubs of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have added a 19-year old left winger who has already proven himself at the Ontario Hockey League level.
Hometown product Oliver Smith has opted to sign with the NOJHL Cubs after spending the full 2021-2022 season in the OHL with the Barrie Colts. Smith tallied 10 goals, nine assists, 19 points in 55 OHL games with Barrie in ’21-22.
The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Smith, who was drafted by Barrie in the ninth round of the 2019 OHL priority selections draft, was penciled in to return to the Colts this season only to recently decide to stay at home in Sudbury, continue his education, and suit up to play in the NOJHL for the Cubs. Smith has 64 games of prior NOJHL experience with the erstwhile Rayside Balfour Canadians and impressive production totals of 32 goals, 23 assists, 55 points.
“We are absolutely ecstatic to have Oliver return to the NOJHL this season,” noted Cubs managing director Blaine Smith. “When Oliver’s agent (recently) called us, we were overwhelmed to know that Oliver had made his own decision to play for the Cubs and wants to do his best to help us win a championship here in Sudbury.”
Cubs general manager and associate coach Dave Clancy sees Smith as a dominant player.
“To add a veteran forward with Oliver Smith’s skill set is such a big boost for our club as it raises the excitement level for our team’s expectations this season,” said Clancy, whose sentiments were echoed by Cubs head coach Darryl Moxam.
“I can tell that Oliver Smith wants to be the leader that we need in our dressing room and on the ice,” said Moxam. “If we can continue to make the Cubs a viable alternative for OHL calibre players like Oliver, then I know that we can really put the Sudbury Cubs on the map as far as Jr. A hockey is concerned.”
Smith talked about leaving the OHL to stay at home in Sudbury and again play in the NOJHL.
“I love being at home in Sudbury surrounded by family and friends,” Smith relayed. “This opportunity is giving me a chance to pursue a post secondary education while still being able to play hockey at a high level. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do both. I am also thrilled to have coach Moxam behind the bench. He has lots of experience and knows what it takes to win a championship. I know we have an awesome group of people in the organization that will achieve great things this year.”
The Cubs will begin the 2022-2023 NOJHL regular season this with a pair of home games at Countryside Arena — Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against the Powassan Voodoos and Friday at 7:05 p.m. versus the Hearst Lumberjacks.