…North Bay Trappers will play host to the 2013 Dudley Hewitt Cup, Central Canada Jr. Hockey Championships. Sudbury Cubs were supposed to play host to the event but they pulled out at last weekend’s Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League monthly meeting. NOJHL governors then voted to give the DHC rights for 2013 to the Trappers.
…Sources say — but the parties involved will not confirm — that the Blind River Beavers could have a new look to their hockey department next season. Should Jim Capy not return as coach and Jim Yardanoff opt to step aside as general manager, it’s expected that Bryan Verreault will take over the dual role as coach and GM of the Beavers. Verreault has a strong and extensive background as former associate coach with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves and erstwhile bench boss with Sudbury’s NOJHL squad.
…I am all for the efforts of commissioner Robert Mazzuca in his attempts to make the NOJHL a safer place for its players. Mazzuca introduced the Concussion Safety Program this season and has not hesitated to hand out league-imposed suspensions on top of the automatic bans for misconduct, game misconduct and match penalties. But I do not agree with Mazzuca’s recent decision to give Soo Eagles defenceman Derek Diaz an eight-game suspension for pushing a Soo Thunderbirds player from behind at the end of last Saturday’s game between the arch-rival teams. To me, Diaz was part of a post-game scrum that included players from both teams and I saw absolutely nothing that warranted an eight-game suspension. And I’m not alone. Even president Albert Giommi and general manager Kevin Cain of the rival Thunderbirds told me they didn’t think Diaz’s actions were cause for an eight-game suspension. I like Mazzuca and have been very supportive of his performance as first-year commish but I am at extreme odds with him over the eight-game sentence he handed Diaz. Every team in the NOJHL has at least one cheap-shot player. Some teams have more. Diaz, in my books, is not a dirty player. He’s a skilled, rugged defenceman and I don’t think he deserves anywhere near an eight-game suspension for what transpired at the end of the most-recent Eagles-Thunderbirds grudge match. In fact, he shouldn’t have been given a match penalty in the first place.