North Bay deal is good for NOJHL

All seven teams in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League — regardless of stature or market size — are of equal importance when it comes to the present and future of the tidy association.

At least that is the way most reasonable NOJHLers see the picture.

But the new three-year lease that North Bay Trappers recently negotiated with the City-owned Memorial Gardens may be the most important occurence within the NOJHL over the last while.

The Trappers are fresh from a previous, three-year agreement with the City of North Bay that was, quite frankly, not overly sweet in comparison to what other teams in the NOJHL have with their respective towns.

As well, in comparison to Nipissing University’s hockey team — which shares Memorial Gardens with the Trappers — North Bay’s NOJHL team was treated somewhat like a second-class citizen by the City.

But without getting into all of that, the Trappers have a brand new deal with the City of North Bay — an agreement that is better than the previous one.

Which is not only good news for the Trappers, it’s good news for the rest of the NOJHL.

Personally, I am happy for the Trappers and the good people who lead the organization, beginning with chairman and director of operations Tim Clayden, his general manager Chris Dawson and their hand-picked coach, former Ontario Hockey League and National Hockey League first-rounder, Tom McCarthy.

BIRD MIGRATION

Players moving on out-number those who are coming back.

Still, the reigning NOJHL and Dudley Hewitt Cup, Central Canada champion Soo Thunderbirds will return an assortment of players for the 2012-13 season, all of whom who have varying upsides.

18-goal gunner Kurtis Barbarie, 17-goal lamplighter Greg Sartoretto, 13-goal producer Derek Battagin and 10-goal grinder Darcy Casola are among the returning forwards for the Thunderbirds, who will also welcome top-scoring defenceman Corey Jackson and dependable defender Jeremy Solomon back into the nest for the 2012-13 NOJHL campaign.

Also slated to return is Quebec import Joey Couture, a fibrous forward who joined the Thunderbirds late last season. And Thunderbirds general manager Kevin Cain tells me that he expects to know the status of third-year left winger Jake Wright within the week. Wright is an Ontario Hockey League draft pick of Sarnia Sting.

To be sure, the Birds have lost of bevy of NOJHL standouts to graduation, including all-star and playoff MVP goalie John Kleinhans, high-scoring forwards Micky Sartoretto, Matt Amadio, Brett Campbell and Kevin Michelcavage and blueliners Kris Barclay and James Delayer.

Gone by way of relocation to other Jr. A leagues are defencemen Dylan Connolly and Josh Hicks.

Cain, two-time GM-of-the-year, remains as a constant in the front office but the coaching staff has a different look.

Veteran NOJHL assistant Warren Lavoy gets his shot at being headmaster and Dennis Bolton has joined the Thunderbirds as an associate after four seasons with Soo Eagles, who have departed the NOJHL for the North American Hockey League.

Of all the holes to fill on the 2012-13 edition — and there are many — the biggest gap is between the pipes with the departure of the American-born Kleinhans.

But Cain told me that he feels incoming netminder Steve Dombrosky is “more than capable” of stepping into the starter’s role.

Dombrosky, a 1993 birth year from the USA, began the 2011-12 season in the NOJHL with Soo Eagles before finishing up with the AAA midget Soo Indians.

78 thoughts on “North Bay deal is good for NOJHL

  1. Cubs Fan

    looking forward to Sept 5 2012 ! I thought I was done with this league but once the Scott Group sold the club to the local guy !, now I am back on board.

  2. Sec2RowP

    It is good that an arena deal was hammered out in the Bay – now I’d like to know how the Lakers ladies team squeezes in to play starting in Sept. 2013.

  3. Golden Bear

    Hopefully the Soo Eagles and the Soo Thunderbirds can still play the best 2 out of 3 series for the Rollie King Cup. It would be great to renew the rivalry.Kevin and Bruno need to set up the times,How about a game in Soo Mich on Halloween (oct31)Both teams are off.

  4. NBT1325

    finally a good deal for the Junior Trappers and City of North Bay. It was rather obvious that Nip U hockey got favorite deal from Mayor and his “conflict” the last time out. Pretty bogus and corrupt even my hockey standards imho.

  5. Beavers1

    RR: I am just wondering on what date that your “Hockey North Show” does begin?? It is a Show that I really enjoy great info on all the Teams in the Noj.

  6. Old Viking

    I cant go anywheres in town without people talking about the Elliot Lake Bobcats! Hockey Fan’s here are PUMPED UP!

  7. Randy Russon Post author

    latest RR column just posted on http://www.juniorhockey.com:

    Eagles eye first NAHL season

    Beavers1,

    Thanks. First edition of the Hockey North Show on ESPN 1400 Radio for the 2012-13 season is Tuesday, September 11.

    Regards,

    RR

  8. Old Viking

    no matter – Kirkland Lake Gold Miner’s have last place written all over them! actually KL will finish 6th – last place is reserved for the Blind River Beavers !!!!!

  9. Trapperfan

    Well tis early but I would like to weigh in on the the standings at the end of the season:
    Trappers
    Gold Miners
    Nickle Barons
    Eskis
    Beavers
    Thunderbirds
    Bobcats

  10. Bruin91

    Old Viking must know something about the Gold Miners he isn’t sharing. Or he doesn’t know anything about hockey. The Goldminers don’t even have there entire team selected. Based on ther coach and his eye for talent and the players he has selected so far hunting for little Bobcats should be fun this year!

  11. foober40

    I was at the Miners camp last weekend , It was face paced and very competitive . I believe they signed about 10 or so players and invited a number of others to the main camp on the weekend of the 18th . There were some very impressive player in my opinion and I think people will be surprised at the level of talent . Depending on how they finish filling the roster it could be a good year for them .

  12. john-kl

    nice to see at least a few positive comments for Kirkland Lake after the gong show last year as the Blue Devils, all indications say that the current group running this team are going to want a first class organization and will take the time it needs to build it, and it will for sure take some time.
    GREAT first step in landing Lafleur as GM/Coach, this is one guy who has the desire to build a winner and will work extremely hard to do so, and from what we hear, this team will be keeping a very tight reign on these players…another positive step forward…looking forward to the next few years as this team builds…

  13. KL Flash

    lets hope this Kirkland Lake Gold Miners team makes a go of it. That Blue Devils organisation was a real emarassement!

  14. Cassio

    I really cant see how Blind River is going to win any more games this season than they did last season (8). Not hearing much about Abitibi or KL either. Probebly be between the Soo, Sudbury, North Bay and perhaps evan E-Lake.

  15. BirdsFan1

    Not a word in the “Sault Star” about the Thunderbirds since the Sports Dept thru a childish hissy fit at the end of last season Crybaby Ruicci and Big Mouth Montegue..
    Thankfully we have RR writing up the Thunderbirds in “Sault This Week” “Juniorhockey.com” and this Blog.

  16. Cue For Treason

    Havent heard much from the Thunderbirds. Maybe theyre at the Beer Store loading up for there 1st Road Trip!

  17. Old Viking

    Lots a talk about the Bobcats around Elliot Lake and even when I was in Iron Bridge the other day I heard talk about the Bobcats and the Beavers rivalry.

  18. KL Flash

    Word is that the Soo Thunderbirds are bying new uniforms with the players two favourite colours: Blue and Blue Light!

  19. eski01

    Not much gossip on the Eskis try out camp? I was out of town last week and missed it, was hoping to get some new on here.

  20. Old Viking

    Is Ryan Leonard orignally from Blind River? The old Junior B Beavers had a pretty good goalie name of Paul Leonard.

  21. Cubs Fan

    will Jayce Douskey be back with the team this year ? I know the Cubs gave him the boot last year which pissed me off something fierce, we could of used a guy like that and his skill set against the Trappers last year I’ll tell ya that !

  22. Toots Kovacs

    To Birdsfan 1: I take full responsibility for the tension you speak of between the Birds and the Sault Star. When we were out in Humbolt at the RBC and the players came to me and said they no longer wanted to speak to the Sault Star because of the negativity, I fully supported them. Right or wrong, I had to support the players.

    To Cue for Treason and KL Flash: No the Thunderbirds are not at the beer store loading up for the first road trip and the team colours are not blue and blue light. It’s people like you that like to kick someone when they are down but that’s OK, just keep poking the bear. They made a mistake, were penalized for it and are moving forward. The players and the organization will no doubt bounce back. Now that they had a taste of the Dudley and the RBC they want to return. The leadership they have on and off the ice this coming season will suprise alot of people.

  23. WittyFan

    Miners are going to contented this season. New ownership group pulled of a coup by hiring Lafleur. I hope the rest of the league is ready. From what I’ve seen their D is going to be very impressive. Their top D man from last season looks to be about #6 on the depth chart. Very talented top two lines and if Lafluer can get Turbide to buy in he could tear it up like he did when he won the GNMHL scoring title. Early questions surrounding goaltending but I’m sure Mr. Lafleur is on top of it. KL will lead the league in attendance this season. The JOE is gonna be rockin!!
    Hey Old Viking, better make sure your helmet’s on tight.

  24. Linda Lamorie

    Old Viking
    Paul Leonard Jr who played goalie for Blind River Beavers in the old days is Ryan Leonards Father.
    Paul Leonard Sr is one of the founding fathers of the original Beaver team and Ryans Grandfather
    Hockey smarts all around for Ryan
    Ryan has a lot of relatives and friends in Blind River
    He also was an assistant coach for the Beavers under
    coach Todd Stencil
    Looking forward to having Ryan back in the Beaver barn

  25. eskisfan

    I agree KL will be better and the attendence shoudl eb good as well. Top in the league? you’ll need over 700 per game and although they’ll do it a few times, it might be a stretch to ask for it all year especially since the Trappers are going to be very storng and i expect them to average clsose to 800 this saeson. It’s possible and i wish them well, I do expect KL to be a much improved and that includes on the D, but has to be expected. IMO ,they only had 2.5 legitimate jr D last year in #7, #47 and #48. 2 of those have graduated. Only thing that didn’t fully expose the Gold miner D last year was Appleby and they won’t have him this year so KL fans will need to Wittyfan’s prognosis to be bang on.

  26. Randy Russon Post author

    NORTH BAY TRAPPERS PRESS RELEASE

    Trappers Training Camp begins as Club prepares to Host the Central Canadian Championships

    The North Bay Jr. ‘A’ Trappers quest to Host the 2012-2013 Central Canadian Championships at Memorial Gardens in the City of North Bay begins this Monday night, August 20th, 2012 at 6 pm.

    The Trappers have previously held 2 highly competitive camps already this off-season and expect the intensity to ramp up even more at main camp starting next week.

    Trappers returning 2011-12 NOJHL Head Coach of the Year, Tommy McCarthy can’t waited to get started. “we are coming off a very exciting finish last season” stated Coach McCarthy “ I am positive the City of North Bay and our junior hockey fans will be very pleased with the group of young men that we are assembling this season to join our Trappers junior hockey family, we are all in for some very exciting and entertaining evenings this winter leading this community into the Central Canadian junior hockey Championships later this spring”

    Trappers President/GM Chris Dawson is equally excited to get started, “we haven’t had a day off this summer in building this team, the North Bay community sponsors have been fantastic with us this year and we have been diligent at putting the best team possible on the ice in order to give our sponsors and community junior hockey fans something to cheer about all season long leading into the Championships held in North Bay this May”

    With many veterans “chomping at the bit” to return for the upcoming season, the Trappers hockey management team knows there will be some very difficult decisions come late August.

    Trappers Director of Operations Tim Clayden believes this year’s team has the makings to do
    something very special.

    “it’s always tough on Coach’s and Management this time of year when you have to tell a good hockey player and even a better person that we just don’t room” said Clayden.

  27. Blue Liner

    Trappers Director of Operations Tim Clayden believes this year’s team has the makings to do
    something very special. ( an excerpt from the above press release)

    My comment on the above is:

    Isn’t that type of comment a little presumptious?? Forward looking or taking liberties.

    Hate to see that bubble get burst……or would I. ahahahahahahahahahaha

  28. upfront

    Birds Trade Jackson to Lindsey and Wright to Woodstock no players in return from what I can tell So that will open up a few more spots for sure

  29. Trapperfan

    Blueliner, unlike other organizations that have made similar statements of their teams in the past the Trapper organization’s management team and coaching staff will be well respected by the players. This team will play as a team with each knowing their roles very well.
    Here’s to a great season for the Trappers!!!! North Bay can’t wait!!

    GO TRAPPERS GO!!!

  30. eski01

    Trapperfan, you’re making that same statement as other teams have in the past! How do you know that this group will play as a team and that each will know their rolls? Most of them probably have met each other for the first lime in North Bay this month. Hockey is played on the ice so we’ll have to wait and see, the trappers roster always changes during the season and this year will be the same.
    KL have listed on their site some 14 players commited…

  31. stick

    Not looking forward to another season of coach McCarthy yelling and screaming from the bench. He should take a leason from coach Gagne on how to control yourself and act like a professional. ):

  32. foober40

    Heading to the Miners camp today . Hopefully all the new signed players and the new invitee’s will make for some exciting hockey on this lovely August afternoon . Stick , every coach has his own style that works for them . I have witnessed McCarthy in action and have no problems with how he coaches . The yelling is either direction to the on ice players or positive reinforcement of performance . The players respond positively to him as a coach so I guess if you don’t like the yelling sit further away . As for Gagne , I’ve witnessed and been told of some of his actions over the years that I would consider far from what you call professional conduct . In the end the players that stay play for him and like him . Every coach has their moments but it’s the complete body of the accomplishments and the respect they earn form their players that speaks the most to who they are and what they stand for .

  33. Beavers1

    Just saw a dude hitchiking on Hwy 17 headed east to Sudbury – was wearing an green old Sudbury Wolves hockey jacket and looked like he was comming off a two week bender – just wondering if it was Peachy lol!

  34. upfront

    T Bird

    Battagin showed Didn’t see Barbarie

    There were a few prospects but who knows what the team will pick

  35. upfront

    Please Send your thoughts and prayers to Braden Mc Lean of the T-Birds who broke his neck on day 2 of the tryouts

  36. eskisfan

    Wow that’s terrible news

    Best of Luck to Braden Mclean and his family on a speedy recovery. When looking for motivation, inspiration and confidence for such a battle, see Grant Marshall’s story.

  37. LeJib

    How do we know that the Trappers ‘will play as a team’? It’s been said before, any player who does not put the name on the front of his jersey ahead of the name on the back of his jersey, is not likely wearing a Trappers jersey. That’s how.
    Granted, hockey is the greatest game of ‘ifs, wouldas, couldas, shouldas’, but I expect the Traps to ice a nice cohesive unit again this year.
    As to McCarthy’s coaching style, he’s very reminiscent (although a little quieter) of a gentleman by name of Bert Templeton, who was known to enjoy some success in Junior hockey. And thanks to ‘foober40′ for your timely comments.
    We are very much looking forward to the 2012-13 version of the NOJHL, with a balanced schedule, and (if I recall correctly) the elimination of the ‘shootout’ nonsense(?). We think we’re going to see improvements all around.

  38. Linda Lamorie

    Blind River Beavers are hosting Main Camp August 24-26th
    Friday, Aug 24th – registration is at 4:30pm
    On ice from 6-8pm
    Saturday-on ice from 8am-9:30am
    -fitness testing-10am-12 noon
    -on ice 4pm-6pm
    Sunday-on ice from 8:30am-10am
    For those chosen to stay, practices will begin Tuesday, August 28th from 9pm-11pm
    All are welcome to come check out our new prospects, returning players and the new coaching staff.
    We are very excited to get started this season.
    Get your season tickets from LeeAnn @ 705-356-7571 and be ready for a winning season.
    Exhibition game Sunday, September 2nd against the new Elliot Lake Bobcats at the Elliot Lake Arena at 2pm
    Should be a very interesting and exciting game. These two teams will be the new rivalry of the league.
    Come out and cheer your team on.

    Also, The Beavers are still looking for 10 billet homes, if you can help out please call Linda @ 705-356-4937

  39. Brad1984

    Heard from someone that the Eagles will play two exhibition games against the Flint Jr. Generals this Saturday (8PM) and Sunday (noon?) at the Big Bear Arena. I’m not sure if this is true or not.

  40. Randy Russon Post author

    Brad1984,

    Bruno Bragagnolo from the Eagles says they “are working on it” but nothing has been finalized as of right now.

  41. eskisfan

    I think Stick is referring to McCarthy’s tactics of yelling vulgarities at the opposing players. Other than coach Kerr and Gagnon, I can’t recall many if any coaches from the NOJHL calling teenagers names and i certainly have never been coached by anyone who gets in to yelling at the opposition. McCarthy is passionate no doubt and i think the emotion gets the better of him from time to time, but all take passion of indifference any day. All in all McCarthy is good coach with lots of experience and i heard the kids like playing for him. I for one am glad he’s here. I think the NOJHL is fortunate to blessed with some very good coaches, some are little more entertaining than others but in the end, they do great service for our little league.

    Foober you can consider yourself lucky because based on what has been reported here or what i’ve seen in the past 10 years from the 4 or 5 time NOJHL coach of the year, re-occuring 1st or 2nd team NOJHL all star coach, former NOJHL prospect tourney coach, assistant coach for Hockey Canada East prospects from 2011 and coach of the 2010 league NOJHL league champions, what you’ve claimed to have witnessed (not saying it didn’t happen) is certainly the exception as opposed to the the rule. And Hearsay is just that….

  42. foober40

    Eskisfan ,

    I’m not sure why you would think I should consider myself lucky .I wasn’t saying Paul was a bad guy or that I thought he was a bad coach . I know and respect Paul a great deal and have had the pleasure of chatting with him on numerous occasions . He is a terrific coach and a great guy . I simply meant that coaches are all human and sometimes they don’t always have a good day . Hockey is a game that requires passion by all those involved from players to coaches to team staff to volunteers to fans . On occasion even the most “professional ” of coaches does something that is out of character and could be deemed “unprofessional ” .You see it with major junior coaches all the way up to NHL coaches . So even as good a coach an d person that Paul is he’s had his less than stellar moments . Hey I’ve competed in many sporting events in my time and have more than my share of times when I’ve acted less than proper . You realize that you made a mistake , apologize and move on a better person . Has Tom McCarthy ever crossed the line of proper decorum ? I would think so . It doesn’t make him a bad coach any more than it would make Paul a bad coach . As for what I saw , it is in fact what I saw in person and as for hearsay I know who I trust and that is my concern .

  43. Randy Russon Post author

    Flint Generals v. Soo Eagles

    Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League will play host to Flint Jr. Generals of the NA3HL in a pair of exhibition games this weekend. The two teams will meet Saturday night at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Big Bear Arena in the Michigan Soo. There will be no admission charge.

  44. eskisfan

    foober lucky was probably the wrong word, i simply meant rare occurance. I dont always agree with or understand gagne but i too certainly respect him.

    Eveyone gets caught up in the heat of moment from time to time and i think itd be tough as a coach, ive wathced it happen in every level so i certainly wont fault any one coach for getting excited and yelling. i was just trying to clarify what i thought stick was getting at. Again MaCarthy is good coach and is respected and respect is earned

  45. Bruin19

    Goldminers vs. The Eskies at the Joe tonight, game time 7:30
    Both teams have alot of new players, should be interesting.

  46. bayinfo

    North Bay Press Release. Player signing;

    The junior ‘A’ North Bay Trappers are four days into training camp and the roster is slowly taking shape.

    Nearly 50 prospects still battling for a spot on the team will have the chance to showcase themselves Friday evening during a Red-and-White game at Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m.

    While a solid core of veterans are in camp looking to keep their spots for the 2012-13 season, when the Trappers will play host to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup regional junior ‘A’ championship, commitments are being made to a few new players this week.

    Thursday, the Trappers announced the signing of Brennen Dubchak, a 1993-born forward who already has Dudley-Hewitt tournament experience after spending last season with the Thunder Bay North Stars, who hosted this past April.

    The five-foot-seven, 150-pound Dubchak had 16 goals and 31 points in 40 games with the North Stars last season.

    He said he’s “excited” about coming to North Bay to join the Trappers.

    “I’m trying to have an open mind and be competitive and work for my spot, because nothing is guaranteed,” he said. “I’m just trying to use my experience to my advantage and see what I can do here and never give up.”

    A speedy forward with a right-handed shot, he has spent time during the first few days of camp skating alongside veteran Brad Edwards and London Knights draft pick Tait Seguin.

    “They’re both great players, they’re easy to get along with on the ice and they talk a lot, move the puck and they’re very smooth skaters,” Dubchak said. “I just try to get in the open space and hopefully, they get it to me.”

    A native of Kenora, Ont., Dubchak said he tries to model his game after a hometown boy, Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards.

    “I just try to do all the little things right,” he said. “I look up to Mike Richards, he’s a player who does everything you can possibly do on the ice. I try to use my size to my advantage, even — when you’re smaller, you can be more shifty and try to be smaller in the corners and make room out there.”

    Coming to North Bay for the Trappers camp was bittersweet, however — Dubchak had to leave Kenora last Saturday, the same day Richards brought the Stanley Cup to town for a hometown celebration.

    “It was pretty exciting and they brought it out on lake and stuff,” Dubchak said. “My Dad is kind of close to Mike Richards. It wasn’t nice to leave early, but hopefully, there will be another time.”

    Dubchak said he’s still trying to get comfortable on the ice and build some confidence, but he likes what he has seen on the ice during the Trappers’ camp thus far.

    “The skill in this camp is unreal and I’m excited to get this season started and hopefully, keep progressing,” he said.

  47. Sigs_2012

    Gold miners looked good on Saturday, much better balanced than
    Anytime last year. This should be a good season for the club, and an escalation of the rivalry with the Eskis. I hope, and predict that the miners will give anyone a run for their money this year, including the ballywhoo’d DHC hosts.
    The Eskis are a young club, I calculated collectively about 6 months younger
    than the KL club, which can mean about a year ahead developmentally.
    Exhibition is what it is , an opportunity to test drive and evaluate players in real life conditions. A 48+ game season is a grind and too many factors invOlved to make any precise predictions.
    A lot of nice albeit young talent on Eskis club. With so few returnees, and so many kids right out of midgets, gagne will be teaching the equivalent of grade 1 to his “class”; the fast learners will excel, the slow learners will have to swim or sink.
    I caution all Eskis fans to be patient. Gagne’s systems are not for everyone; when a club comes together that “gets it” though, they are very tough to beat. But to get from “wannabees” to the real thing takes time. A lot of time.
    All fans should realize the priorities: to develop the youth FIRST and everything else follows as fate, luck and the hockey gods allow.

    Oh and on Saturday , Eskis’ Therrien and Hamel (2/3 of #1 line) and at least another player were not dressed. I didn’t notice a backuP goalie either. Word is that injury Friday night to Therrien was not severe and he’s expected back soon. FYI

  48. League Fan

    I’m Told that Eskis have only 8 Players returning from last year and
    the Miners have 7, so yes it does take time to teach a system to the New players, we have to be patient.

  49. kenadian

    Big crowd in Copper Cliff last night, maybe 130ish…

    Wondering who was wearing #20 for the Bobcats…..solid Dman built like a brick outhouse.
    Barons played a good game seeing only 5 returns (thankfully…) Leroux IMO will be named C. He was all over the ice, a couple other “vets” better step it up, and put forth the effort (this isn’t last years team/coach) but once again the stupid retaliatory penalties crept into their game….I’m sure THAT will be addressed this year

  50. kenadian

    Anyone know WHEN the NOJHL`s website will have this season`s scheduleÉ

    North Bay has a link to their schedule, BUT shows 50 games and some of the dates don`t jive with my tickets (got my Baron`s season tickets last night) and one game in late Feb shows them in Sudbury when there`s a different date on my printed ticket

  51. kenadian

    Just realized the link to the Trapper’s schedule is from LAST YEAR……….so they don’t have their schedule posted either

  52. Sigs_2012

    I’m informed by good sources that league website is slated for major retrofit soon, “new platform” whatever, and that individual teams will follow soon too.
    Also incorporated in the new “platform” is a new live scoring system.
    “basic training ” for each team’ live board operators were offered online training last and this week.

    We will see how it all looks soon, I’m sure.

    Sigs

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