I like the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
With due respect to any other junior hockey league that I cover, the NOJHL is my favourite.
I like many of the people of the NOJHL.
Who I don’t like are those who talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They know who they are and that what comes out of the left side of their mouths is often different than what comes out the right side.
Should they move their respective teams after this season I will let them tell you about it in their own words.
From which ever side of their mouths that they choose.
They have the goal-scorers.
They have the puck-moving defencemen.
They have the goaltending.
They have depth with secondary scoring and role players.
They are well managed and well coached.
They are in first place.
Soo Thunderbirds take a record of 27-4-2 for 56 points into NOJHL play this week.
But while the Thunderbirds have a 10-point lead on second-place Kirkland Lake, the Gold Miners have six games in hand on the Soo.
“They have been in our rear-view mirror since the season started,” Thunderbirds general manager Kevin Cain said of the Gold Miners, who have 46 points from a record of 22-3-2.
GOOD AS GOLD
So while the Soo is first in the standings, Kirkland Lake actually has a better winning percentage.
1993 birth year forward Darcy Haines has been putting up the points since the Thunderbirds acquired him from the Pembroke Lumberkings of the Central Canada Hockey League.
Haines has 6 goals, 14 assists, 20 points in just 10 games as a Thunderbird.
Haines played in the NOJHL with the Sudbury Nickel Barons in 2012-2013.
NICK OF TIME
Nick Tassone has been one of those solid, dependable, role-playing forwards for the Soo this season.
Tassone, a 1994 birth year forward, has 11 goals, 12 assists, 23 points in 33 games thus far.
Tassone, who played in the NOJHL with the Elliot Lake Bobcats last season, hustles, has heart and is a team-first player, according to T-Birds head coach Jordan Smith.
1993 birth year goalie Dylan Knox of the Blind River Beavers will guest with us on the Tuesday, December 10 edition of the Hockey North Show, which airs from 5-6 p.m. on ESPN 1400 Radio, stream.1400espn.net.
As for future editions of the Hockey North Show, Espanola Rivermen director of operations Tim Clayden is already pencilled in as an upcoming guest.
Clayden has plans to join us live on air and in person sometime in January.
What I like about Clayden is that he is a straight shooter who also happens to be one of the best junior hockey operators in Canada.
And those are the words of NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.