Top pick Porco has the Spirit

May 2, 2017

Already possessing considerable Spirit with some of the best young talent in the Ontario Hockey League, a new kid on the block has signed up in Saginaw.

Forward Nick Porco, who was Saginaw’s first-round pick (fourth overall) at the 2017 OHL draft, has inked a standard player agreement with the Spirit.

A Sault Ste. Marie native, Porco officially joins a Spirit squad that some OHL pundits feel is clearly on the rise.

Under second-year general manager Dave Drinkill and first-year head coach Spencer Carbery, Saginaw opted for a full-out youth movement in 2016-2017, dealing off veteran players for younger skaters and a bushel of draft picks.

Still, the Spirit challenged for a Western Conference playoff spot until the latter portion of the regular-season schedule only to finish in ninth place, albeit with a respectable point total of 63.

Indeed, the 63 points that Saginaw put up were more than three teams who made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference — Sudbury Wolves, Ottawa 67’s and Niagara IceDogs — managed.

PHOTO: From left to right, Saginaw Spirit owner Dick Garber, general manager Dave Drinkill, Nick Porco, owner Brandon Bordeaux and president Craig Goslin at a press conference held earlier today. (Photo by Saginaw Spirit.)

What you think about “Top pick Porco has the Spirit”

  1. Craig, nice to see you comment on here.

    The sad reality is Nick, Cole and Cameron may be the last Soo kids to be drafted into the OHL for a very long while from Sault Ste Marie. Not even sure you can say Nick was developed here in SSM. His development took off after he left Sault Major for his Bantam Major AAA season in Vaughan.

    The mindless thugs and thug-ettes at Sault Major are ruining AAA hockey in Sault Ste Marie. Wrong decision after wrong decision are being made. Sault Major has stopped worrying about our youth and now make decisions based on the direction received from the puppet master (MC).

    I’ll predicate:
    No 2003 AAA team this coming season.
    No 2004 AAA team this coming season.
    Laughable 2005 AAA team this coming season.

    If teams are put on the ice they’ll be A to low level AA at best.

    Very sad situation here in SSM. Hopefully NOHA is on top of things and is working in the background to rectify.

    Hopefully hockey people like yourself become involved and help to steer the ship. Sault Major certainly won’t listen to common folk or the paying customer base.

    Shame on you Sault Major, Double Shame Shame!

    Below is a link worth reading. Kinda sums up things very well.

  2. Anthony: make no mistake Nick , Camaryn and Cole were developed here without question. They were coached by an elite group of coaches with deep hockey roots in their Tom Thumb , tyke, novice, atom and peewee years. Their bench bosses in their early minor AAA were a very skilled all star line up with many years of high level coaching and playing experience under their belt. They were the likes of Frank Porco, Mike Mackay, Aaron Gavey, Brad Baber, Dave Ritchie, Frank Medaglia and Mike Oliverio (power skating coach). Their development came to a grinding stop once they hit their Minor Bantam AAA season with Sault Major after leaving the Sault Minor umbrella (atom, peewee) where at the time Denis Paradis and Brian Bunting were the executives and running a well oiled machine. They gave full control to the team staffs to run their teams as they saw fit. That executive thoroughly screened their coaching staffs and made sure coaches went through interviews before being awarded teams unlike the Sault Major model of the old boys club where teams are passed down to returning unsuccessful staffs . The president of Sault Major at the time Matt Cavaliere, who in my opinion, had zero hockey experience or knowledge awarded that Bantam Minor AAA team to Kevin Panco. After being coached by Mr Panco for a season players started to leave the system once they realized the ridiculous cost and little hope for development to reach the next level. Kudos to Nick and Coles parents for leaving a broken system and sending their kids off to the south at a very young age which I’m sure was very difficult.

  3. Gordie, you make some good points. However I don’t think you can say they were guided by an elite group.

    Ritchie left after the Major Atom AA year – his son was cut.
    Baber joined the group in Major PeeWee and played a limited bench role.
    Mike Oliverio wasn’t on staff, his role was to instruct all Sault Minor teams in Power Skating.
    Frank Porco and Mike Mackay were the leaders and by the end weren’t on speaking terms. It ironic both their kids left SSM and developed into very good players away from SSM. The teams ranking in their Atom through PeeWee years certainly didn’t reflect an elite group.

    Atom Minor AA – Ranked 8th
    Atom Major AA – Ranked 6th
    PeeWee Minor AAA – Ranked 38th
    PeeWee Major AAA – Ranked 37th

    I will say the coaching and development early was much better than received in their Bantam AAA years. In all honesty the Bantam AAA coaching was a joke. No development, no learning, no tactics. Bantam AAA coaching is and remains stinky at best.

    MC and his group of puppets should be ashamed of what they’ve done to our youth. They need to grow a set and make the right decisions for our youth.

    Everyone knows Sault Major wont have an Atom Minor AA team this season.

    Everyone knows the PeeWee Minor AAA team will be laughable. Their top 10 players have jumped ship and will be playing in the PeeWee Arena House League (Selects A) for the season. Shamefull that this was allowed to happen. At one time this was strong group of kids. This season, it could have been fixed, however Sault Major didn’t make the tough and correct decision.

    Everyone knows the Bantam Minor AAA team is in trouble. Majority are indicating cost is to high and hockey model is wrong. Sadly this group may go boom.

    Everyone knows the Bantam Major AAA team is in trouble. 3 -4 of the top end players are packing up and leaving for Toronto. 2-3 of the top 6 players are leaving and playing AA. A few of the lower end players from last years team are giving up on hockey and going to the house system. Why, because the coaching, hockey model and costing is wrong. At one point this was also a talented group. They too are going to go Boom this fall at tryouts.

    Does anyone see a common theme in all this? Sault Major has the wrong coaches and wrong hockey models in place through-out there system. Parents are asking for change, they’re finding better options (coaches) and bringing them forward to Sault Major only to find deaf ears.

    Again SHAME SHAME DOUBLE SHAME on you Sault Major. You’ve destroyed a once proud and respected hockey organization and turned it into the laughing stock of Ontario.

    Here they are:

  4. Anthony regardless of the coaches exit points ….. Baber , Ritchie were on staff at certain points and certainly played a role in those kids development. As did Mike Oliverio as a Sault Minor power skating coach. The fact remains they all did a remarkable job with this group as a whole and each player’s personal development. .

  5. Gordie I’d gladly give credit where credit is due…. however what is so remarkable about there Atom through PeeWee years of the 01’s? I’d don’t recall anything special nor do their rankings justify an elite or remarkable team. Again……

    Atom Minor AA – Ranked 8th
    Atom Major AA – Ranked 6th
    PeeWee Minor AAA – Ranked 38th
    PeeWee Major AAA – Ranked 37th

    Frank/Mike and crew did a much better job than the coaching received in Bantam. That’s something we can agree on but not terribly difficult to do.

    I’m very hopefully many of these kids play Midget AAA this season and get a look at the 2nd OHL Draft.

    Sault Major, do something about the terrible coaching and hockey programs you have running at the Bantam Major/Minor AAA levels. Make changes now before more of our youth leave Sault Ste Marie for better skill development and coaching.

    SHAME SHAME DOUBLE SHAME Sault Major, you’re ruining hockey in our great hockey town.

  6. Anthony they won the NOHAs several times and competed well at the big tourneys in Detroit and in Southern Ontario. How bout posting their tourney results from the past.

  7. Btw just my opinion but the second OHL draft is a joke. Much worse then the old system where a 17 year old might get an invite to several OHL camp . Now they are pidgeon holed to 1 team.

  8. Gordie, we’re not discussing the 2000’s so why bring them into this discussion?

    Had the 2001 team performed well in big tournaments in Detroit and S. Ontario their rankings would have reflected the good results. Their ranking from year to year would have been much higher.

    Winning the NOHA Championship doesn’t really mean a hill of beans if you’re striving to be a top team in Ontario. In all seriousness our AAA Northern Loop is no better than a glorified AA loop with the exception of possibly 1 team per age group.

    I don’t recall the 2001’s doing well, perhaps I’m wrong. If you guys did well, good for you. I’m happy for you.

    My beef isn’t with you. It’s with the poor job Sault Major is doing. In my opinion and many others, rep hockey is in a very bad state.

    Changes need to be made, if not we’ll continue to be ranked at or near the bottom of the ranking for years to come. Our kids will continue to leave, rep programs will continue to suffer.

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