So much for this being a rebuilding season for the Sudbury Nickel Barons, formerly the Sudbury Cubs.
The new-look Nickel Barons with new owner Mike Mooney and old-but-new coach Dave Clancy are the talk of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in the early going of the 2012-13 season.
Now comes the biggest test of the young season for Sudbury.
The top two teams in the NOJHL will face off on Friday night in North Bay when coach Tom McCarthy and his Trappers play host to the Nickel Barons.
Sudbury is perfect through six games this season with a 6-0 record while North Bay has a mark of 4-0-1.
The low-key Clancy has made his return to the NOJHL and Sudbury a good one thus far. The veteran bench boss, who has coached in Sudbury for a number of years at a number of levels, has a knack of being easy to play for but demanding at the same time.
Leading the way on ice for the Nickel Barons through six games is second-year forward Darcy Haines, who has 16 points, including 10 goals.
As Clancy has his style of coaching, so does McCarthy over in North Bay. McCarthy is known for his fiery, combative nature but like Clancy, is a respected player’s coach.
Forward Brennen Dubchak, formerly of the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League, is the Trappers scoring leader with 3-5-8 totals.
The expansion Elliot Lake Bobcats, off to a 1-5 start in their first NOJHL season, have added several newcomers to their roster, including the well-travelled Kyle Rowe, a 6-foot-2, 215 pound forward who was a fifth-round pick of the Soo Greyhounds at the 2010 Ontario Hockey League draft.
The Bobcats are home to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Friday night and will be out to try to build on their first-ever NOJHL win, which was a home-ice decision over the Blind River Beavers last weekend.
HOCKEY NORTH SHOW
Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 1400 Radio — http://:stream.1400espn.net — I host the Hockey North Show along with sidekick Brad Coccimiglio.
The HNS deals mainly with the NOJHL and the North Division of the North American Hockey League but we also talk up the OHL, mostly the northern teams, namely the Soo Greyhounds and Sudbury Wolves.
Because exchanging banter and information, the HNS also features weekly guests.