NOJHL preseason preview: Soo Thunderbirds



Release Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016

NOJHL preseason preview: Soo Thunderbirds

SUDBURY, Ont. – With impressive results come high expectations.

Sporting a pair of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League titles to their credit along with five consecutive appearances in the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy finals, the Soo Thunderbirds are undoubtedly among the elite Jr. A teams in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Seeing head coach Jordan Smith adding the role of general manager to his portfolio this season, along with an ownership change made within the organization, the T-Birds are aiming to make it a seamless transition and keep it business as usual as the puck drops on another NOJHL campaign.

The 12th and final NOJHL team season preview is on the two-time defending league champion Soo Thunderbirds.

Head Coach/GM – Jordan Smith

NOJHL: What have you seen from your club early on?

JORDAN SMITH: We like what we have so far this season. Our returning players look as though they have put the necessary work in over the summer to be successful. I am pleased with where they’re at and we are all eager to start on this new season.

NOJHL: Who are some of the players you expect to lead your team this season?

JS: We expect big things from Matt Caruso, our returning scoring leader in back-to-back years. We know what Matty will provide us on the scoresheet, but we’ll be looking for him to grow into a leadership role and take more responsibility on and off the ice. On defence we will look to second-year rearguard Jake Behse to have a breakout year. We know Jake has the ability to be a dominant defenceman in our league with his size and skating ability. He will help anchor our blueline along with the added presence of ’96-born defender Aaron Wesley-Chisel from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Along with Matt Busby providing unprecedented leadership and offensive ability, the D-core is still being built and undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.

NOJHL: Are there any newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with?

JS: Some newcomers joining Wesley-Chisel are ’98-birthyear forwards Keenan Eddy and Kaidan McDonald. Both players have chosen to come to Sault Ste. Marie fresh off their debut on APTN’s Hit the Ice, with John Chabot. Both look to make the jump to junior hockey and with their speed and skill we expect their adjustment time to be short. Also added is veteran right winger Turner Santin from the Portage Terriers. Santin, also from Thunder Bay, brings an intense style and physical play compared to the likes of our beloved Pilon twins making life on imposing defenceman very difficult.

NOJHL: What goals do you have heading into training camp, the preseason and the start of the regular season?

JS: Our goals in Sault Ste. Marie remain the same every year. To have the ability to compete for a championship as well as develop our players to the fullest. Supported by our new ownership at The TECH 1921 LTD., we will continue our pursuit of excellence through athletics, academics and community involvement.