Balance a boost to NOJHL

Soo Thunderbirds general manager Kevin Cain has been known to call it as he sees it when it comes to the overall landscape in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

One-quarter of the way through the 2012-13 NOJHL campaign, the Thunderbirds are in a frantic race for first place with the North Bay Trappers and Sudbury Nickel Barons in what is a highly-competive, seven-team NOJHL.

The Thunderbirds are a good team, again. So is North Bay. So is Sudbury.

Meantime, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners are over the .500 mark as a second-year entry and the Blind River Beavers, Abitibi Eskimos and the expansion Elliot Lake Bobcats are all showing clear signs of improvement and resurgence.

Cain, who is in his third season as Thunderbirds GM and has a previous history with Blind River and the erstwhile champion Soo Indians, said the 2012-13 season is shaping up as more than just a three-team race for first place.

“We are a very-competitive league,” Cain praised. “There are no nights off in this league. We have managers and coaches who really want to win. We have fans who expect their teams to win.”

Cain pointed to his Thunderbirds losing to Blind River on home ice on Friday night just passed and the fact that Elliot Lake is showing “definite signs of improvement.”

Indeed, while Elliot Lake is a first-year entry, the Bobcats have high expectations, even though they are currently last in the seven-team NOJHL.

“We want to finish in the top four, that’s a goal of ours,” said Chad Vresk, who is the Bobcats vice president of hockey operations. “Our fans expect a winning product and so does Lenny (Bobcats president-general manager-coach Ryan Leonard.) The NOJHL is a very-good league and we have to keep working just to keep pace with the other teams.”

Going into play this week, the Thunderbirds are first with 21 points from a record of 9-1-1-2. North Bay is next with 20 points from an 8-1-2-2 mark followed by Sudbury and its 16 points from an 8-3-0-0 record.

Kirkland Lake is a solid fourth with 13 points from a 6-5-0-1 record and then there are just two points separating Blind River, Abitibi and Elliot Lake.

The Beavers have 8 points from a 3-7-1-1 record, the Eskimos have 7 points from a 3-7-0-1 mark and the Bobcats have 6 points from a 3-9-0-0 showing.

73 thoughts on “Balance a boost to NOJHL

  1. Beavers1

    You gotta love it when the Beavers beat them Big Bad Booze Birds! Looks good on the Soo!!! They think they are better than the other teams in the Nojhl well well well they lost to the Beavers!!! Make my day!!!!

  2. Mike

    It does appear than any team can beat anyone else on any given night. You can bet North Bay is going to try to improve but there are just so many players available throughout the junior ranks. Some OHL kept extra players on board because of the lockout and are just now releasing them so there may be a few players available. Right now, I think the Soo is the top team in the league by a slim margin over North Bay. Sudbury is a close but I think their 8-0 start wasn’t indicative of their overall team talent and was overhyped. Talking to Clancy, he knew things weren’t as good as they seemed. All the other teams can be great one night and not so great another. They are building depth and cohesion though and will make things interesting.

  3. Old Viking

    I am Looking foreward to your next “Hockey North Show” Randy as I look forwerd to the interviews especesially with the Bobcats Head Scout! Great show on our League and the other North teams!

  4. BirdsFan1

    Beavers1 – keep yapping you and your 5th Place team from the Boondocks in Blind River LOL LOL!

  5. ABITIBIAN

    A few surprises this weekend in which echoes Cain comments .Eventhough it`s still early, hoping all teams keep pace which might turn a few heads towards the NOJHL.

    Mike- ditto!

  6. Cue For Treason

    There is NOTHING sweeter than when the Beavers defeat the Thunderbirds – its PRICELESS!

  7. stick

    Abitibi is a lot better club than the start of the season, teams will not have it easy anymore coming into the IGLOO.

  8. Linda Lamorie

    Hey, what about those BEAVERS this past weekend.
    3 out of 4 points on a weekend is great news for the Beaver community. They sure kept the fans on the edge of their seats
    in both the games. Just imagine the lowly Beavers beating the
    great first place T-Birds and tying the second place Trappers.
    Way to go players and coaches. You made us proud.
    Looking forward to two exciting games this weekend as they play Kirkland Lake and Abitibi at their barns.
    Beavers are back home Oct 27th, should be a full house then.
    Good luck this weekend, we will be following the games here at home. Wish we could all do the road trip to cheer you on.

  9. bayinfo

    Press Release

    The North Bay Trappers would like to congratulate Trappers alumni Sacha Guimond who scored the game winning goal in the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL first ever win on Saturday night, Sacha now has 2 goals and 1 assists in 3 games.

  10. NBT1975

    To Linda Lamorie:You would think the Beavers won the Dudley Hewitt Cup the way you are gloating!!!!!
    Did you declare a Civic Holiday in Blind River after your team’s big weekend?????!!!!!

  11. North Bay Hockey

    NBT1975 u look like a fool for a team rebuilding it is success lets be happy te league is not a push over because come April in the Dudley the Sijhl and opjhl would kill us also TRAPPERS FANS! With a new NHL cba expected for November 1st I know of 3 out of 5 major junior cuts that have confirmed to play for the trappers including a 18 year old d man and two 20 year olds boom! RR u should look into this

  12. Bruin19

    NBT1975
    You are one of those people who hasnt won a single thing in there life. In fact the concept of a team sport and what those wins mean to a team couldnt make sense to a moron like you. It is good for the league and the people of Blind River are proud. What a idiot you are. Congrats Beavers

  13. stick

    Hey Linda nothing wrong with being proud of your team. Glad to see the Beavers improve it makes for a stonger league. Keep on cheering girl.

  14. Mike

    A last place team beats the first place team and ties the 2nd place. How dare you, Linda Lamorie, congratulate your team and say it was good for the team and it was “edge of your seat” hockey. Way to put her in her place NBT for all this “gloating”. The nerve of some fans – actually being proud and supportive of their team! We should all be calm, cool and collected… just like the NB coach.

  15. eskisfan

    North bay hocke,i dont get it.

    A new CBA, usually means some guys playing in the O may move up to the AHL or ECHL, creating more available space in the O, not less. I don’t doubt that the Trapps are getting new guys, just don’t get the rational.

  16. Linda Lamorie

    NBT 1975
    At least I use my real name and I am gloating about our team
    Our coaching staff and players have been working very hard this season and will contiue to do so.
    I just get tired of reading about you top teams and all the critism we other teams keep getting.
    So when I get a chance to gloat I will. You can put me down for it if you like. I have broad shoulders and can take whatever you dish out to me.
    On positive note- I am glad to see Sacha Guimond doing so well, he was a player that I enjoyed watching.
    Give praise where due wouldn’t hurt you either.

  17. NBT1975

    blah blah blah blah.
    Bottom line is the Beavers won 8 measly games last year and the only person outside of Blind River who has anything good to say about the place is RR. So Blind River stoled one from the Soo and tied the Trappers…WOW…HOLD THE PRESSES!

    Hey Mike: are you the Sudbury fan with the big mouth? You sound about as smart as that idiot Peachy!

    Hey Bruin19: speaking of morons how are you doing?

    You people can’t even take a joke. At the end of the season Blind River will be in 6 or 7th place and Kirkland Lake will be getting beat by Abitibi and the Trappers will be going to the Dudley Hewitt Cup!

  18. Trapperfan

    The calibre of hockey this year in NOJHL is quite good and competitive to say the least!! This is great to see. With all doom and gloom stories out Blind River in the past, I am glad to see their fans being treated to some damn good hockey. After all it is the fans the boys play for,and if they are playing well, the fans fill the seats and this helps to continue to build a competitive hockey club.
    Nice to hear a little news about Sacha, he is a great kid!!

  19. Peachy

    Peachy like Blind River . . . go for tale in 1972 and for anniverseree in 2006 . . .

    ahahahahahahahahahaha ahahahahahahahahahahahaha ahahahahahahahahaha

    NBT1975 – shut up you dum mouth you sound like Jack Off ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  20. Mike

    What the hell NBT. I was on your side! Blind River fans cheering on and supporting their team? The nerve of them!

    They’d be much better off bashing other teams and insulting their fans as you so capably demonstrated.

    Sudbury? Big mouth? In the same sentence? You jest!

    Are you a little insecure my friend or just a bit dim?

  21. North Bay Hockey

    Looks as though a line from baytoday dot ca has a mention that the trappers are hoping to have a successful Dudley hewitt to try and get the 2015 RBC national championship.

    That would be great news for the NOJHL.

  22. eskisfan

    Lol pretty nasty attack by nbt1975. On funny factor alone the bruin19 comment was hilarious. Not because it was you bruin, could of been me. Just a good dish. On that note, not sure this blog is the place for it! Cheers to an exciting season of a balanced nojhl hockey

  23. sigs_2012

    nbt1975,
    Yah, Traps will be going to the DHC, one way or the other, since they’re the hosts…..
    Question is, will they be going to DHC from the front door, or the back door….
    EIther way, NOJHL gets two tickets to the event.

  24. NBT1975

    The KL Gold Miners are to me an over hyped team that will finish 4th at best. Over hyped team … over hyped coach. The League is about North Bay, Sudbury and the Soo and sometimes Abitibi. There should be a NOJHL team in Timmins and keep Elliott Lake but Blind River should be in a Junior B League with Manitoulin and Kirkland Lake.
    The NOJHL should be 7 teams – North Bay, Sudbury, Soo, Abitibi, Elliott Lake, Timmins & Northern Michigan. Then have a seperate affiliate Junior B {“B” for Boondocks League} made up of Kirkland Lake, Blind River, Manitoulin, Espanola and Sturgeon Falls.

  25. Bruin19

    No Jordan Turbide didnt play. Roster on NOJHL website has not put through updated roster yet. Beal wasnt there either. 2 new players were in the line up and played well. Good job by the Goldminers to contain Haines and Leroux, not a easy task. Was a entertaining game with the difference being the goldminers capitized on there opportunities.

  26. goerge mcfly

    NBT1975 You should be a Baseball fan cause you dont know anything about hockey, So let the experts or fans do the talking.This site is for people to talk about there Teams,Players.The ones that know a little bit about hockey. Which you don’t have a clue,Either learn be respectful or shut up.

  27. HardRockMiners

    NBT1975
    I’m really curious as to why you think the Goldminers and there coach are overhyped. Not much if any coverage of them at all.
    Trashing teams in the league, seems someone has some insecurity issues Maybe it’s because you know the Trappers will take the backdoor into the Dudley. Just like you do.

  28. brother99

    RR;
    Like to see a future blog on how this year’s NOJHL compares to last years. Also like to hear your predictions regarding Dudley and the RBC. The Eagle’s took the NOJHL close two years ago and the TBirds last year closer. Will the NOJHL improve the play-off picture this year. Three years of good performance would do the NOJHL proud. Just thought I would change the tone around here lol….

  29. Bruin19

    NBT1975 really! Lmao. No more conversation with you. Your killing me! Lmao. At least your getting this blog going! Looking forward towards your next insight on the NOJHL. Someone invite this guy to league meetings please! Entertainment value alone would be great! I cover his expenses! Lol

    On a more serious note, the league is shaping up well. No team can take a night off and it is great for the fans and the league.

  30. scott

    Darcy Haines most dominate player in the league, end of discussion. Sudbury is a young team being led by the best player and teammate in Darcy Haines and is why they are being talked about as a contender now.

  31. justafan

    Is that 4 losses in a row for the Barons? Their true colours coming out now, they may have to find a couple of more locals to challenge present players on roster.
    Nice to see Blind River finally coming along, they’ve had a few close games.
    Manitoulin Islanders should have let Doug McEwen continue coaching a couple of years ago, they had a good core of players back then which included Mcewen, Conner, Jones, Larson, Dusick and Chambers on defence, good tender in Avery. I’m sure a few other local kids would have come along as well whom have since signed else where.

  32. eskisfan

    Scott the cubs are coming back to earth and will crumble just like last year when u were you there. Haines is good, but as u know all too well, a few players doesnt make a team. League is a toss up and preds are subject to change until january 10th when the rosters are finalized. I do expect the traps to win the copeland cup.

  33. Trappers Supporter

    NBT 1975 I hope you are not representing the Trappers here…… Was talking to someone at Coffee tonight. and they advised me that your IQ was very Low so I am asking everyone here to say a little prayer for you tonight before going to bed and hope that we will see some improvement in a few days

  34. Bruin19

    Scott i agree with you. Right now Haines is the best player, always dangerous. That was key to the Goldminer victory shutting down Haines and Leroux. Not a better 1 2 punch in the league right now. Like I said before nobody can take a night off. Every game is tough.

  35. Sigs_2012

    NBT1975

    So Abitibi and Timmins should be a sample representation in your vision of the Nojhl ?
    Haven’t been on this blog long, eh bud?
    Another history lesson is due here;
    Eskis are based in I.F. , 45 minute north east of Timmins. Eskis, previously Jr Eskis, were once the Timmins Golden Bears. That team folded and was moved to I.F. Many have never forgotten, some have never forgiven this.

    Anyway, bottom line, unless Timmins were to get a quality rink to outdo the Igloo, they have no chance of getting the Eskis to move back, let alone draw a major jr club. League/ Eskis would not allow another Nojhl team to base in Timmins while Eskis still run out of I.F.

    Brush up on your history, geography and reality, friend.

  36. LeJib

    It is obvious from the comments that the hockey fans among us are fully aware that NBT1975 represents no one but him/herself, least of all the Trappers organization or their many fans. I suggest we can all do ourselves and each other a big favour if we simply ignore anything he/she has to say, thus giving no credibility to the comments. Just a thought.

  37. ABITIBIAN

    Ahhhh…..Bayer , LeJib , North-Bay Hockey eventhough you`re from N-Bay we still love you guys….lol

    It`s just to show that Peachy has a purpose on this blog. When one makes comments of this sort (NBT1975) , it activate this blog pretty quick !!

    Long live Peachy & the NOJHL

  38. League Fan

    Well said Sigs 2012 …The Volunteers in Iroq worked hard and are still working to support the team and are doing a hell of a Job, Has this Joker NBT 1975 ever been in the igloo one if not the nicest arena in North eastern Ont…. LEJIB you are right on lets ignore him ,,,,,,,he either forgot to take his Medication or took too much….

  39. Mike

    Bold prediction for tonight : two upsets.

    The Beavers will squeak by KL by a 3-2 score. It will a solid defensive and goaltending battle by two teams on the rise.

    EL will stun the Soo by a 5-3 score in a tough, physical, dirty game that will almost get out of control.

    Last prediction : the Barons don’t lose this weekend.

  40. League Fan

    Mike my prediction is that you will be batting 0000 tonight lol

    ha ha good luck on the remaining pred….. for the week end

    … Good luck on your predictions…. Oh by the way your Oct 17 at 11:12 was very good…..

  41. Mike

    League fan – I’ll be at least one out of three in my bold predictions… :) I gotta pick one game to watch on fasthockey on this glorious Friday. Not sure which one yet. Might go for the bloodbath in the Soo! Wish I could watch it with NBT1975 and maybe learn from this wise man. I hear he wants to start a Jr H league for BR, Gogama, Verner, Massey, Larder Lake, KL, Moosonee, Lake Manitou and Wahnapitae. Could work… he’s volunteered to be commissioner, referree, trainer in Larder Lake, arena builder in Gogama and sheep dog for the cows in Verner. Don’t let his dim comments fool you. He’s very handy.

  42. League Fan

    Yes Mike I had not seen the third one ha ha

    so your average just went up to 333.33 lol pretty good…..that’s the game you should be watching with NBT 1975.

  43. Elliot Lake Bobcats

    Hey Mike you forget the Desbrat Danglers….LOL! On another note Bobcats have made another bold move and have part ways with Captain #11 Danny Carter. After last weekends games the Bobcats oraganization did not like where the leadership was at both on the ice and in the dressing room. We have been contemplating for awhile in hopes it would change but was not making progress. The team has been making great strides on the ice and keeping things interesting but we still are missing small pieces that are very easily able to be fixed. We now only have two 20yr olds in our line up and four 19yr olds which makes for a very young team but as the season goes on they will mature and learn and with that comes confidence. After announcing that we were going to be making a change in leadership role Danny requested a trade. We asked him where he would like to go and helped him go where he requested. We did send him to North Bay and we wish him well. We are very pleased with our teams work ethic all week in practice and our off ice trainning sessions. We do have now a card open and do have 1 more player on his way in with in the next week from the EJHL and still waiting for appeal process for defencmen Jumpei Suzuki to start play.

  44. NBT1975

    What can I say?! I like the way R.R. writes but lets face it he is a fan of “hick hockey towns” such as as Elliott Lake & Blind River that should start up a Junior “B” League. It says volumes about this Blog that is manetained by someone (R.R.) who seems to think that Elliott Lake & Blind River actually bellong in a Junior “A” League. I will be interested to see if you print this R.R. Its time to sepperate the Junior “A” teams from the Junior “B” boonies! That way the NOJHL will get more resspect than it does imho.

  45. Randy Russon Post author

    NBT1975,

    I like Elliot Lake. I like Blind River.

    What can I say?

    Your vision for the league is astounding.

    Regards,

    RR

  46. Stix601

    Well, let’s just close this one out by suggesting NBT1975 uses the word “kept”. much simpler than that complex verb “manetained”. Cheers and enjoy the hockey this weekend everyone!

  47. Bayer

    some former NOJHL alumni with goals tonight, marc-alain begin on his first professional goal tonight for the Knoxville Ice Bears and Andre Leclair with his first goal for the Huntsville Havoc.

  48. jagr_68

    Good game in KL yesterday, Both goalies were solid and you could see that both these teams are verry well coached. KL got the 3 on 0 in double OT and Picard-Fiset made a beauty of a pass to Dionne for the winner. I really like a couple of new additions for KL in much talented Matt Schwehr who has a point in all 4 games he has played now and Breener Blankenship on D. Blind River has to be the most improved team up to now and I predict a 6-4 win tonight at the Igloo for them. Should be a good one.

  49. Bruin19

    Last nights game between the Goldminers and Beavers was entertaining. Miners were dominate for the first 5 mins then it was basically all Beavers. The Miners did not play overly well. Komma was solid in net. Regardless its was easy to see why the Beavers had a good weekend last week. They have speed and size. I expect a interesting game tonight between them and the much improved Eskies.

  50. Bruin19

    Yes Matt was cut by the Eskies. Thought with his speed he would of done well on the big ice at the igloo. Glad he is a Miner.

  51. League Fan

    Was in Eskies Land tonight to watch the Beavers ……..Was very impress with the Beavers speed ……..To Beaver fans you have a team that will be making noise before the season is over….

  52. stick

    Barn burner in the Igloo tonight, Beavers kept coming back after it looked like they were toast a couple of times. Eskis now have a lot of firepower but defensive coverage and goaltending where not at it’s best. Actually same goes for the Beavers. All in all a very entertaining game right up to the last few seconds.

  53. ABITIBIAN

    There wasn`t a lack of entertaiment nor a lack of celebrations last night….wow. I don`t think it`s an indication of both team`s weakness , it`s just one of those games.
    Lots of speed on both sides right to the last buzzer.Beavers score 6.5 sec.left on the clock kept me in my seat, shows a lot of character.
    I like Beaver`s Melanson, gritty with speed, wasn`t Marshall a winger, he played D last night .
    No other games this weekend what`s up with that ?

  54. League Fan

    Yes ABITIBIAN right on I guess we were watching the same game…that little No’13 (Melanson) could play on my team . He’s something to watch. Also agree with no other games ????????

  55. sigs2012

    on the bright side, as a FB fan friend posted: “…at least all 4x goalies got to play.” , lol.

  56. North Bay Hockey

    Scott pawson may be back with the trappers by January 1st he has been traded from truo bearcats host of the Fred page cup and current record is 12-0-1 to the junior b listowel cyclones where is has 5 points in 7 games

  57. arenamum

    Congratulations to former Temiscaming Royal player, Andre Leclair on being signed by the Hunstville Havoc of the SPHL. Look forward to following his progress this season….

  58. Golden Bear

    Why won’t the T-birds play the Soo Eagles on Halloween night at the Pullar in a charity game for the Rollie King Cup. Both teams had agreed on a 2-3 series for the cup at the end of last season.Last season a pre season tourney was held at the Pullar which involved a Nahl team and 4 teams from NOJHL. Seems real PUZZELING!

  59. stick

    Looking for to the Eski/Suds game tomorrow night. The new look Eskis are on a 2 game winning streak while the Suds is in the mist of a 4 game losing streak. One streak will continue tomorrow.

  60. North Bay Hockey

    I know I’m biased as a North Bay fan but I just looked at the schedule and as of November 11th the trappers will have played only 5 home games and 14 on the road pretty crazy… It’s a good record for so many away games looking forward to Sunday night

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