TWO GOOD GOALIES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

It’s somewhat of a given that John Kleinhans of the Soo Thunderbirds is the best goalie in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

For one, the 1991 birth year tender from Sterling Heights, Michigan had the best numbers of any NOJHL goalie during the regular season: a 26-9 win-loss record to go with a .912 save percentage, 2.86 goals against average and 5 shutouts.

It also helps that Kleinhans is in his third full NOJHL season — he spent his first two with the Michigan Soo Eagles — and his save percentage has always been above the .900 mark.

Kleinhans has been a workhorse for the Thunderbirds this season as the NOJHL regular-season league leaders have gone through three backup goalies.

The Eagles, on the other hand, have the luxury of two no. 1 goalies in 1991 birth year Luis Puig and 1993 youngster Chris Truehl.

If Kleinhans is the best goalie in the NOJHL, then it says here that Puig and Truehl are tied for second.

The 6-foot-3, 195 lb. Puig, who hails from the north side of Chicago, put up good numbers of his own during the 2011-12 regular season. He shrugged off a concussion and subsequent mid-season slump to finish strong and with these numbers: 11-4-2 record, .894 save pct. and 3.73 GAA.

Puig has also posted three shutouts this season — including one in the opening game of the playoffs — and remarkably, all three have been in Blind River, which has been known to be a goalie’s worst nightmare with its tiny ice surface and dim lightning.

Puig, who joined the Eagles earlier this season from the North American Hockey League’s Michigan Warriors, is a late bloomer and is only in his second season of junior.

Truehl, who hails from just outside Madison, Wisconsin, has also excelled this season, his first in the junior ranks. The lanky kid with the quick glove and textbook style was 14-3-1 with a .907 save pct. and 3.31 GAA — and played some of his best games against the first-place Thunderbirds.

To me, the Thunderbirds are a better overall team than the Eagles in terms of junior experience, talent and depth. And I really like Kleinhans as a goalie.

But given my druthers, I’d rather have two good goalies like Puig and Truehl to choose from.

Just my thoughts.

90 thoughts on “TWO GOOD GOALIES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

  1. Stephen Heisler

    Randy,
    Goalies are like girlfriends, it is always good to have a backup plan, but that #2 has to know her place.

    In my younger days, I would try and wheel 2-3 bunnies at a time, all thought they were #1. There were a lot of interesting situations when it came to holidays, my birthday, or other special days. You have to have a really good one, a really fun one, and a number 3 just because you can.

    The same goes for goalies, you want to make them think they are THE MAN, but when it comes down to it, a coach is going to have to make the choice. It is on that day when the “other(s)” want to find another #1 gig.

  2. Tilly

    According to this site it seems that only the soo teams play in the nojhl. What about laino. What about promoting players for their skill and accomplishments and not for their location! I wonder if randy named the all star team with Greg and Matt making it. Greg had a measly 17 goals

  3. North Shore

    Tilly – you are sadly mistaken chump! RR may live in the Soo but he does a very nice job of covring the entire NOJHL. This league is lucky to have a guy like RR covring this league and I knows that I am not alone in saying so.

    Beavers now 0 and 3 and the Capy Era is almost over.

  4. American Eagle

    Big “W” for the Eagles last night and enjoyed RR’s writeup on SaultThisWeek.com website. Louis Puig ur awesome! Another Shut-out!
    Right on RR about Puig and Truhel – Eagles have 2 #1 goalies and 2 is better than 1 whether it’s goalies or “puck bunnies” LOL.

  5. kurlydo2000

    Lipinski nice story in the nugget today about you but you must of forgot your skates in norhtbay.

  6. Eskisfan

    Another barn burner, back and forth, eskis looked good one shift and scary the next, with that the trappers looked dominant on some and ho hum on others. Both goalies made some big saves. teams are definetly getting under each others skin now. Bad blood brewing. Good to see Gehl on the other end of some pretty big hits.

    Eskis 3rd goal looked it was the AP Lemire who scored and that is how it was announced. The shot might have got tipped but the AP deserves an apple at least. Actually all the AP’s looked pretty good bringing energy and an unexpected physical component. Plourde looked especially good.

    Game 4 should be a beauty.

  7. northernlites

    Well just back from the igloo, fast game, good hits until the goons came out. Does this North Bay coach have any control over his players, my God the can make a great rugby team from these guys. Like I said earlier a lot of cheap shot artists. To bad because it started off as a very good played game. In the later part of the game Trappers deserved more penlites that they received, no control coach, Trappers really showed what class was all about. I guess this is what happens when you play a well disciplined team.

  8. stick

    Kurly sure hope you attend the game it was a nerve racking affair but a huge win for our Eskimos. Coach Gagne did a great job using the 6 AP’s and Fecteau stood strong in the third period when a few vets made some mistakes. All in all a big confidence booster for tomorrows game in the bay. Go Eskis Go

  9. stick

    Trapper fans I don’t usually pick on your team but your coachs are way out of control. I can’t understand why they bad mouth our players when the Eskimo coach’s do not. There is a little word called CLASS and the NB bench sure has none of it. How the league gave this McCarthy guy coach of the year is a beyond me. He is like a child screaming and yelling after every play great example for his players.

  10. guest

    @northernlites…More penalties for the Trappers? Couldn’t have been more lopsided. Officiating was horrible IMO. Yes the Trappers deserved some of the penalties but come on…. Officiating always seems to be a problem at the Igloo and not just for the Trappers but for all teams in this league.

  11. Hockeyfan

    Stick I’m right behind you on that one…and yes, I am a trapper fan. Since the first exhibition game, I turned to my friend and said this guy is crazy…all he does is yell.
    And it has not stopped. I am shocked that the players still listen to him. I said after a few games that he will lose the room and be fired…I was wrong. He’s still here. I’ve had to move all over the rink in North Bay to find a place where I don’t hear his constant annoying screams.
    And some of the things he yells, well I hear those same things from the Tyke coaches – SKATE – GET IT OUT – SKATE (again) – GET THERE…I could do a pretty good imitation.
    When I heard he won coach of the year, I felt bad for the other coaches. I watch how the other coaches carry themselves on their respective benches and I see nothing but professionalism (the odd scream for a bad call – but that is to be expected).
    I expect Gagne will take over now.

  12. Bruin19

    northernlites

    One game does not make you a well disciplined team. The Eskies were 2nd in the league in penalty minutes. They just understand that in the playoffs you must show more disciplined and that comes from following a great coach like they have in Gagne. Also helps not having Lacasse in the line up. The AP’s did a great job and will make it difficult for the coach not to consider them when the Eskies get healthly. Good Luck Eskies!

  13. fanman

    The Huntsville Otters of the OJHL have folded today. I wonder if they might join the NOJHL?

  14. bayinfo

    Hockeyfan

    Ever watch the series 24/7???

    Criticize the coach all you want…, his yelling 9 times out of 10 is indeed instruction ( funny that a coach actually does that with his players eh??)

    His “yelling”, pales far to comparison from sucessfull NHL coaches coaching at the highest level. Many Who in fact constantly yell from the bench, you just cant hear them in a rink that large with 20 000 people .

    And as far as that room is concerned .., you are definately WRONG. There is not a tighter room in hockey, hense why they have done as well as they have without any of the firepower that other teams possess.

    Your expert opinion was also shunned when the league , as a whole, votes for coach of the year.

    I’m sure you could take your coaching certificate and do a way better job :)

  15. hockeyfan

    24/7 – following NHL teams with NHL coaches…not sure how you figure the 2 are even remotely related.

    I’m not criticizing the coaching, just the yelling. It’s rather annoying to listen to – couldn’t imagine sitting on the bench all game long.

    Um, I already said I was wrong about the room, but thanks for reiterating that fact. Are you my ex-wife? (insert stupid smiley face here) She always reminded me I was wrong too.

    Can you beleive they never even consulted me on the whole coach of the year thing!!!

    I have my coaching certificate from way back when – if you’re looking…(put in one of those confused smiley faces with a tongue out and a cigarette, and maybe a nice mexican hat…yeah, that would be funny – a mexican smoking smiley face)

    To change subjects, I guess if Huntsville did fold from the OJHL, they could be coming to the NOJHL – which would be great for the league…

  16. Trapperfan

    I think that people’s persception of the Trapper’s coach is scewed to say the least. There is a big difference in yelling out of control giberish and shouting out instructions and encouragement to the player. Perhaps Coach McCarthy’s only fault is that of his passion for the game and all those boys on the ice to do well.
    Bayinfo you are spot on about the the players in the room. They are the tightest group to occupiy that dressing room in at least 3 seasons. Each and everyone of those boys have bought in to the idea that their individual effort is all part of the theams sucess this year as a whole unit. :)

  17. northernlites

    As you say Trapper its great for the coach to yell encouragement to his team but to shout obscenities to the opposing teams players, shows classless leadership

  18. Blue Liner

    A short excerp from the Timmins Daily Press:

    “It was a good game,” said Paul Gagne, head coach and general manager of the Eskimos. “There are emotions all the time even with the coaching staff. But when you see the coaching staff trash talking the players from the other side, even my players came up to me and told me they couldn’t believe it. There trash talk from the coaches. My point is, you’re coaching now let it go, you’re not playing any more. Let it go and just do some coaching

    You can read the whole story on their web site.

  19. eaglesrock

    Randy, good column as always and on Juniorhockey.com. yes, Eagles fortunat to have 2 good goalies in Chris and Louie. BORDER BATTLE TONIGHT! Let’s pack the Pullar with 1,000+ Fans!

  20. LeJib

    ‘guest’ said it – “Officiating always seems to be a problem at the Igloo…” Among all the execs, GMs, etc, in the NOJHL, Chris Dawson would be known as ‘the quiet man’. When Chris suggests the officiating was a bit ‘slanted’, you can be pretty sure it was more than just a lttle ‘slanted’. Thirteen penalties to four, in a Jr. hockey game between two pretty evenly matched teams?? With the ‘four’ team being among the league leaders in PIMs? What is wrong with this picture? Are ‘phantom penalties’ now entering the mix? Just wonderin’.

  21. northernlites

    LeJib
    Just wondering if you were at the game Thursday night, the Trappers deserved every penlites they got and even more, when you have a coach with no control over his players things like this happen. It started out well, good fast hockey, then the mugging started and continued right to the end of the game. Next time Trappers are in town I hope they bring Kleenex. Ask anyone who was at the game.

  22. stick

    I agree with Randy Mr. Cain has done a great job but I also think he has a great avantage working in a hockey market like the Soo. I would like to see how he would do working under the conditions that Paul Gagne has to deal with in a Iroquois Falls.

  23. eskimos

    guest’ said it – “Officiating always seems to be a problem at the memorial garden 8-5 penalties to the eskimos , lots of homer ref around this league hey LeJib

  24. bayinfo

    eskimos

    refs in north bay are rarely from north bay actually
    neither ref was from north bay last night
    they are usually from sudbury , timmins, and last night was no different

    north bay refs , reffing in north bay , are not a regular occurance

    try again

  25. bayinfo

    Actually one game, Haines was having a hissy that he and Carrol were in the box, yelling at the refs telling them they “wanted their precious North Bay to win”.

    The refs were both from sudbury :)

  26. LeJib

    Nice try ‘eskimos’. ‘guest’ didn’t say that. Trappers did have ONE more power play than Eskies, plus half a minute. I was simply making an observation that others had obviously picked up on previously. On a happier note, ‘Cheers’ to ‘Abitibian’ and ‘Eskisfan’. Hope we’re all still around for another year of great Jr. hockey in 2012-13. Tip o’ the hat to you too, ‘kurlydo’.

  27. BirdsFan1

    I hope Eagles Fans are not chirping about last night’s W over the Thunderbirds. The Birds had already clinched a spot in the 2nd round and played there back-up goalie. The Birds coasted and still almost beat the Eagles as the game went into OT. That Depp is a helluva player tho for the Eagles reel fast and a helluva shot. RR gave him a good write-up from last nites game and deservedley so. http://www.saultthisweek.com

  28. BayBruiser

    eskimos – thanks for supporting guest and LeJib point about the poor officiating in IF. 8-5 with 2 late frustration penalties is quite even (much more-so than 13-4). As soon as I see Shermanshesky is doing a game I cringe.

  29. stick

    eskimos are in the same boat as the rest of the teams refs come in from Cochrane, Timmins, KL, NL, NB and Sud. So lets face it very hard to get compedent officials.

  30. eskisfan

    Too bad the Video is gone from the Gehl hit. I did get to watch the clip numerous times. That was as bad as it gets. We see Diaz get games, Esposto get games, Beaudion get games, Haines get games, Lacasse get 4 for telling a ref off, most after video review and just to name a few. Somehow the commish turns a blind eye on this one? Are you for real?
    Randy if you didn’t like Diaz suspension, you really won’t be impressed with the lack of one for Gehl. Guy is what 6.4 230lbs? Skates in full out and JUMPS (totally left this feet) into Fournier’s head with OBVIOUS flying and extending elbow well after Founier has moved the puck. On ice refs gave him 2 and 10, so a 2 min penalty for the trappers, which is fine i suppose but everyone in the rink was in shock by the play and figured it would get reviewed and then something would get handed down at a later date. not the case. One of the worst attempts to injure i’ve seen all year, a year in which suspension after suspension is handed out like candy on halloween. How Gehl, the biggest strongest guy in the gets nothing for leaving his feet to put an elbow into the face of an opponent is beyond me. I guess it’s like the NHL, regardless of how dangerous or disrespectful the play is, if the receiveing player isn’t seriously injured, it doesn’t deserve a suspensions. Shame….just a shame.

    I realize we’re all grateful for the Trappers stepping up to take the Dudley but guess some people are especially thankful.

  31. ABITIBIAN

    LeJib-
    I`ll be around & have been for some seasons….but we`re not gone yet , another game tonight !!
    This is not your classic N-B & Eskies playoff rivalry. One that stands out was (I think 2003 ) the Dusty Mc Crank yrs..boy did he get under my skin & rouled up the crowd at the Igloo. I`m sure someone could refresh my memory , but I think for 2 yrs in a row we met the Skyhawks & went to game 7 …man that was some intense hockey with sold out crowds !!
    Cheers to you mate…catch you on the blog .

  32. bayinfo

    the gehl video proabably got removed because everyone was expecting to actually see something, not a glorified elbow.
    grasping at straws in your hate campaign

  33. bayinfo

    it barely phased the defensman, it was worse than a regular elbow, but definately not suspendable, it didnt do any thing, it didnt really connect. North Bays best player was off for 10 minutes, thats the extra punishment.
    I’ve seen Angel Begin attempt much worse vs Lipinski, one out right spear to the stomach comes to mind with no penatly call. So stuff happens, and refs miss calls in every game and get calls wrong, its human nature.
    But lets face it , he and gehl can both get frustrated , they are comanding the most attention, for obvious reasons.
    I really dont think refs would purposely call one way over the other , although at times it may seem that way.

  34. bayinfo

    not too impressed with the scratched player for the eskies doing colour on fast hockey.
    Do you really have to make fun of schneeberger and leposavic’s names?
    Run down gehl and lipinski, and call samtleben a faker?
    This is my first fast hockey experience, and i have not heard any others , including north bays, but if that is common place on these broadcasts, it is extremely annoying. I hope some where along the line it would not be soo bad. I expect fan biase, even in the nhl we listen to it (Bruins).
    But making fun of names and basic goating of players is a little over the line.
    My opinion

  35. bayinfo

    Another tight , hard fought game in this , super close series.
    Eskies worked their butts off as usual, hats off to them.
    Suds vs the Bay should be even more intense, and probabaly even higher scoring.
    Gehl shows why he is the captain, leading by example.
    Good job boys!

  36. stick

    No problem with the refs tonight just a great game with NB pulling off the win. Feel bad for Eski goalie makes all the hard saves but lets in 2 softies. All in all a great effort by 2 good hockey teams. NB made one very good move when they brought in Gehl he was the difference in the series. Congratulations Trappers

  37. northernlites

    I really hope somebody puts this big dumbbell Gehl into the boards head first, he deserves no less, what a complete moron, He’s got to be the biggest idiot in this league. Im crossing my fingers for somebody to do him in. And as for the refs, this is the worst season that I have seen in the past ten years, and you can hear it at every rink. Its to bad the Trappers have to resort to that type of hockey, we might as well give them clubs and work boots. Im hoping Sudbury buries this moron.

  38. Eskisfan

    Commanding attention? In the games i saw, Gehl SHOULD have commanded attention, but didn’t and in IMHO, that is why the Eskimos are out.

    Trappers best player was allowed to be their best player and they did a great job of containing ours. They dedicated one man to Begin and apart from game 3, he was basically neutralized. 3 of 5 games he was held to a point or less.

    Why we never did anything to send a message to Lipinski or try to take any ice away from Gehl is tough to understand and leaves a sour taste. Big strong boy, his speed is nothing spectacular but if you give him the room and time, he makes things happen. I honestly believe that with his lack of foot speed he could be effectively contained to some/any extent. He wasn’t double shifted often and probably didn’t play 20 minutes in any of the 3 games i watched, he was just Brad Gehl allowed to play his game.

    Love coach Gagne and i know we’re nowhere without him. I understand he tries to teach and play a gentlemens game but there came a time where the Eskimos needed to pay attention to serious scoring threat. Been a long time since i seen one player singlehandly win a series. 3 game winning goals and 14 points over 5 games. Gehl is the series MVP and Lipinski gets the honourable mention.

    Eskimos played near perfect Eskimos hockey in the second and third, had the trappers on thier heels but the Eskimos simply couldn’t generate much for offence.
    Congrats to the Trappers on the win, good luck against the Cubs.

    Congrats Eskimos on a solid season, over 500 and oh so close to a division championship. Best of Luck to the graduating players. Big Thanks to Marc Alain Begin for the years of great entertainment. #1 Eskimo of all time and a real treat to watch. #10 is retired in my books. Hope to see all elegible players back next year.

  39. LeJib

    Abitibian – ‘Cheers’ right back. Have to agree this series sure didn’t have the fire of the earlier ones. I had it figured to go 7 games, and toss a coin as to the eventual winner. Hope we’ll be lucky enough to enjoy the same well-matched rivalry again next season. I think we’re having more fun than the NB-Suds rivalry, which seems to lack the spark from years gone by. I sure do remember the McCrank years. He generated as much intensity in a game as the likes of Troy Crowder and Dennis Bonvie did with our dearly-departed Centennials. Anyway, we wish you luck in keeping your organization up and humming for years to come. Maybe we’ll see you at the Dudley next year. Good show mate.

  40. sigs_2012

    Bayinfo,

    Re. Color on fasthockey…
    A 17 year old kid doing his best to help out a regular caller. Lack of tact and discretion? Sure, to some degree.
    But tell you what,
    I was @ rink early helping with setup and distincly heard some NB players making fun of /cutting down Igloo announcer, fans, venue and more. Also overheard a nb team official talking on his cell and making plans as if that night’s game was a foregone conclusion.
    I know that two (three?)wrongs don’t make a ‘right” , but what comes around…

    Sour grapes aside, cograts NB for gehlin’ at the right time, and good luck vs the Cubs and perhaps either Soo.
    At this point, I just want the nojhl to do us proud @ the DHC.

    Very proud of this years’ Eskis, the org, and especially the lads aging-out like Begin, Gartner, Lacasse, Fecteau, Moses. Thanks, boys, good job, and best to all of you as you move on to another stage of your young lives.

  41. MarkP

    bayinfo,

    I was right beside them doing fasthockey tonight and I didn’t hear much of what was said because that arena was noisy.

    About the names of Leposavic and Schneeberger, they were asking me during the first intermission the proper pronounciation of each name, which they entered the second period discussing. I’ll be honest, a lot of the names are hard to pronounce if you haven’t covered them on a regular basis.
    The players doing colour will have a bias for obvious reasons, I think the play-by-play guy Jairus did a great job from what I’ve seen, I watched game 3 through fast hockey as well as being there tonight.
    I’ll admit when a player is doing colour for me, there are times where he does come off as biased but for the most part, I try and avoid asking questions that would put that bias on the forefront.
    Feel free to check out the North Bay broadcasts online or come up to the top of section 4 for the games if you want to hear my play by play.
    Great series for Gehl and the Trappers and onward now to Sudbury.
    Hope all you Trapper fans in NB turn out in bunches, this is some can’t miss hockey as they are playing great!
    If you can’t make it to the arena, fasthockey is the best place to be :)

  42. ABITIBIAN

    No problems with the refs , the guy from Sud. rules with a tight fist.

    Great game to go out on, keep your heads up boys.
    Gehl does remind me of former Skyhawks McCrank, love to hate him.

    8 overagers leaving , best of luck in your futur endeavours.
    Hoping to see a good core of the players come back next season.

  43. momoftwo

    I will have to agree with bayinfo – the commentating was brutal last night. Very biased! Looking forward to watching the next series on fasthockey because Sudbury doesn’t have play by play and colour guys. Great win for the Trappers! Bring on the Cubs.

  44. Trapperfan

    First and foremost to the Eskis Thank you for all your hard work and making the Trappers earn the series win. It is always great hockey to watch when these 2 teams meet. There is no doubt that Gehl is making a big difference on the ice and I have to agree with you Eskifan that Gehl and Lipinski could have been played differently and that might have made the difference. LOL interesting that Gehl is reminding people of McCrank.
    Traps will have their work cut out for them with the Cubs as well, and really will have to contain there #1 line, and the D will need to be sharp. All in all I say the Trappers in 7!

  45. SovEaglefan

    The best guys on fast hockey and on ESPN1400 are veteran broadcaster Johnny Michael Bell and his sidekick Larry Pozzebon. Johnny has been doing junior hockey broadcasts for over 20 years and has a knowledge of the game and style that is unsurpassed in the NOJHL and probably where they are heading the NAHL. You can’t get much better than those two and the coverage the Eagles and league gets from Randy Russon and Sovereign Communications. Keep up the great work guys, you are the best!!!!

  46. Tilly

    Sudbury is the biggest team in the league and Abitibi is the smallest. So Ghel will have work cut out for him here. Sudbury top line has three of the strongest players and 2 200 pound players so even there top line can handle Ghel. The difference will be coaching. You have north bay with coach of the year and a team who follows and you have Sudbury a coach that gets ran by his players. No discipline by the cubs will land them in a loss in 5

  47. North Bay hockey

    Nice series win Trappers, the Cubs are full of fire power but tend to allow quite a few chances on Net looking back at some of the Shots on goal totals the cubs have allowed 35+ on a lot of evenings, so the trappers will need to capitilize on all chances. It would be nice to see the Trappers go onto the DHC this year for some players to get experience for 2012-2013, but that may be looking ahead. Best of Luck Trappers vs suds,

    trappers in 6 if we stay with 1 goalie in the series lol.

  48. eskisfan

    I don’t know. North Bay did great job of shutting down Begin but the Cubs have way more tools/threats than we did. As mentioned they’re a much bigger club as well. I give the nod to McCarthy in the coaching department but just about everywhere else is all Cubs. If MacKenzie and the Cubs pay just a little extra attention to the Gehl, they should be fine. Esposto is back and i think the Cubs are relatively healthy. They’ll be a handful for sure!

    I hate the fact that the Cubs are an undisicplined bunch of individuals but like in years past, they’ll bring a playoff effort/game to the table and will advance on the finals, 5 or 6 games. I’m rooting for the Trappers if only because I don’t want the Cubs to represent the NOJ at the Dudley but even if the Cubs do get by the Trappers as they should, i’ll find comfort in knowing the Eagles or TBirds will be waiting to peck their hides off in the Finals.

    BTW, Gehl is a lot like McCrank, a character, big strong and he can certainly play hockey. Gehl better offensively, McCrank better physically. Enjoyed watching them both and much like we Eskimos fans haven’t forgotten #7, we won’t soon forget #17.

  49. LeJib

    Must comment on all the renewed interest in Dustin McCrank. A lifelong close friend of ours was Dusty’s prof at Canadore College. The words she used to describe him were: quiet, unassuming, polite, studious, cooperative, a pleasure to teach and to know – you get the picture. It’s almost like a Jeckyl and Hyde situation. Two others like that, I know of first-hand, were those I mentioned previously, Troy Crowder and Dennis Bonvie. Anyway, thanks once again to Abitibi for a good first round, and here’s hoping the Trappers can now get past the Cubs.

  50. momoftwo

    @Tilly – The Cubs may be a bigger team then the Eskies, but their problem will be that their big guys are goons and will take stupid penalties. Abitibi has a much more disciplined team. The Trappers did a bang up job on keeping out of the box and if they can maintain that discipline they should do well. I say Trappers in 6.

  51. Muskokahockeyfan

    No Huntsville will not be in the league. There were some discussions with the NOJHL but nothing more. The town will have a junior C team next year.

  52. Hawks_96

    Too bad Huntsville isn’t joining they would have been a nice touch to have to the NOJHL since we are loosing the Eagles.

  53. Eskisfan

    Word is hosting the Dudley last year is what done them in.

    Brampton, Vaughn and Huntsville are all gone for next year. Talk of a Peterborough and Lindsay merging the two clubs (and sponsorship dollars) so there may be one more gone before long.

    Harder and harder to run a junior program. Unless you have someone with deep pockets(usually a players daddy) or a VERY light travel schedule, you simply can’t make it go. hard to raise 200 000 in ticket sales and board adds.

  54. Hawks_96

    The Nojhl should try to get a team in (Parry Sound or Muskoka), (Manitoulin, Espanola), (Amos, La Sarre, Ville Marie), (Michigan (Marquette, Alpena, Mackinaw City), (2nd Sudbury Area team Rayside, Valley East, Garson), And Timmins Should have a team. The Quebec team could be an affiliate team for Val d`or or Rouyn Noranda. Timmins is one of the Norths Largest populated areas and dosen`t have a team which is a shame. I don`t mean to offend any Eskies fans you guys and Timmins would make a good Rival with Kirkland Lake.

  55. Soo bird

    3 good games coming up at the Essar Centre. NOJHL next year prospect from the Midget AAA Soo and Sudbury Saturday and Sunday and Monday Soo vs Eagles. I was reading the Sudbury Star today and Wolves are talking about a situation:
    Here is a copy paste from the Sudbury Star:

    The Wolves were again shorthanded due to injuries to regulars Andrey Kuchin, Nathan Pancel, Brody Silk, Alex Racino and Jacob Harris, then lost captain Michael MacDonald to injury yet again early in the contest. Callups Jason Lacroix and Aaron Scott did a good job filling in with rookie defenceman Jeff Corbett, who took a regular shift at forward.

    The lack of bodies, and lack of willingness of other local players to step into the void, is frustrating for Cull.

    “We really appreciate Aaron Scott and Jason Lacroix coming out and playing, and I’ll tell you one thing, we’ve called other kids locally and they don’t even want to come,” Cull said.

    “So it’s amazing how that happens. Then we have the coach in North Bay where Danny Desrochers is, and they don’t play until Friday and he won’t let the kid come. The game has changed. You call guys and they don’t even want to come anymore, and that has happened throughout the year for us. It’s amazing. Everybody wants to be a hockey player, but they always have something else to do. And these are local kids. It’s a little upsetting and disappointing.”

    How come kids find excuse for not going with the Wolves. Every kids I know wants to play at the highest level. You play hockey to move up!!!!
    I really don’t understand.

    The Danny Desrocher case is something I read in the pass on this blog so I am not suprise to see North bay holding him back. That is a shame and it should not happen in this league.

    Soo Thunderbird game on Monday, be there……

  56. sigs_2012

    Hawks_96,
    As an Eskis supporter, no offence taken.
    The opinion you express has come up on RR’s blog time and time again.
    Eskis USED to be in TImmins, as the Golden Bears.
    But lack of support and poor management resulted in the team folding, being bought and moved to I.F.

    As long as the NOJHL maintains a franchise in IF, you will NOT see a team in Timmins, albeit a logical place to be , or anywhere else near IF, for reasons mentioned and others.

    As it is, the Eskis can’t ice enough players from a district extending from Hearst down to Temiscaming SHores to form a whole team, hence they have to import players from abroad. WIth the Gold Miners in there now, and good for KL and the League, there’s too thin a layer of available talent to water down any more. And by the way, have you noticed that there seems to be an inordinate amount of talent from the Hearst area to the Eskis? And a lot of the IF midget talent ends up playing in Hearst, Kap or KL, ….. but not in Timmins (Majors)? Why is that?
    When was the last time that a TImmins based team won anything at a level from Bantam on up?

    TImmins, like one or two other larger communities, has issues with its minor league development system. It doesn’t bode well if the James Bay Frontier’s largest community can’t develop sufficient quality players to form a nucleus of a competitive team to call its own.

    Also, until Timmins builds a first-class facility, a true Junior-A class rink to at least match the Igloo, that community will not have a good enough facility to call “home” for a Jr. A club.

    I believe that the corporate support is there now, which is critically important to having a viable Jr A club; whether the community support is there, by way of political will to invest in a class facility, and by way of volunteers willing to make put their noses to the grindstone to ensure the club’s success, has yet to be proven.

    Until then, and until their minor hockey system gets on the same page, I don’t believe that you’re going to see a Jr. A franchise in Timmins.

    With all due respect, and no offence, to Timmins (Schumacher, South Porcupine, Porcupine, etc.).

  57. stick

    I alway’s thought the reason the Cubs/Northern Wolves were in excistence was to feed the big club I am shocked that the players don’t want to go. It sure don’t look good for Jr A hockey down the road. Minor hockey in all the small towns is down and the comittment of the kids is not there. I am sure a lot more teams will be folding the tent in the next few years. Sad

  58. sigs_2012

    Soo Bird,

    Re. Star article

    VERY interesting.

    On the one had, one can see the point of a coach/GM of a club that is about move up a notch in the finals and doesn’t want to lose one of its star players to what essentially can be best described as “filler”, or less graciously, “cannon fodder”. to a major jr club that may offer little if anything in return. The risk of not just losing the player for the duration of his hiatus but of also losing him to injury , looms large on the perspective donor team.

    The other side of the coin is that I’ve always believed and experienced that you don’t deny a player the ability to play at a higher level. Period.
    Now if the kid truly doesn’t want to go, that’s one thing. But if he’s being DENIED or “highly discouraged” from going, that’s another thing altogether and a policy/strategy that would be hard to prove, and even harder to change or discourage.
    Mistakenly perhaps, I’ve had this belief that a team can’t deny a player from playing at a higher level nor can it threaten to “blackball” him should things not work out/the player returns to his original club. It appears that my belief is not founded on fact.

    This is something has to be addressed, and enforced, from Hockey Canada on down.

    Perhaps those more in the know with rules, regulations and policies and elaborate on this further, since I’m just expressing from “gut feeling” and not based on any actual knowledge of rules and policies.

  59. Eskisfan

    Wow Cull explodes to the media! That is crazy though, how can you turn down an opportunity to go and play in the O, even if just for the memory, a picture, to say you dressed or played a game or even just to sit and watch the game in the best seat in the house? It’s not as if they all have NCAA eligibility or even the skills required to get a scholly. At one point or another most of those kids will say I should’ve went.

    I won’t bother to go back look up who posted earlier in the year to cover up/mislead the Desrochers story but some poster(s) is eating their words. Cull certainly didn’t help the trapps recruiting efforts with that bomb!

  60. Tommy Hawk

    its amazes me that the rookie Wolves coach slings mud at the Trappers continually with regard to Desrochers, the kid is being developed perfectly for the Wolves next year by Coach McCarthy and at the Trappers expense. Funny thing is Sudbury has two of the best forwards in junior A hockey playing under their noses for their Tier II team and never once had either of those premiere players in their line up this year, and sadly, never even gave either a chance. Sudbury has enough players in their own community to ice two tier II teams and create a perfect OHL feeder system, but it looks like they have all the answers outside of their own city system. Why do the Wolves refuse to draft and develop local players ? Haines and Carroll alone would have had the Wolves in OHL Championship contention this season and not their farm team made up of players that simply don’t want anything to do with the big club because they have simply been ignored and shut out by their OHL home center. Why ? False promises perhaps, Maybe the Sudbury Wolves should look in the mirror and not to North Bay.

  61. Tilly

    Cull has called up every player possible from the cubs ad trappers. He even has called up players from midget. I believe the Scott’s Dusick lacrois and comptois have all played 9 games for the wolves. From what I have seen cull doesn’t even play them anyways. So what the difference on having them dress? Desrochers has played all his games as well. The only kid I think is Haines but I think he doesn’t want to dress since he knows he won’t be played or have a chance. Cull can start saying thank you as the cubs have a full lineup thanks to the wolves for the first time all year now.

  62. North

    To touch on Cull’s lashing out at local kids let me say this. There is little to be gained with the “call up”-with the short bench the other day Scott played 1 shift and Lacroix 2. Both are good kids who work hard. They don’t receive anything for going (ie.sticks,apparel,etc..)-so if it’s for a photo, big deal. Kids who can play want to play and should be called to attend the odd practices to understand systems and show their skill set. And I can tell you that one of the kids who declined had been ripped by Cull in the past (ie.”you will never play junior because of your skating”). I believe if there was more communication and they actually contributed-it would help the big club.
    As far as Desrochers goes-I am confused as his situation is different. He has signed a contract and will receive some schooling so therefore you would think the Wolves would either keep him for the remainder of the season or have control over his playing but I do not know what the agreement between the 2 clubs is.
    Instead of criticizing the local kids-why not promote and develop an environment that they would love to attend? I think Cull has done a great job with his club but let’s look at the big picture and both sides can do a better job. Some kids aren’t even called to attend main camp.
    I wish both clubs in Sudbury a long playoff run.

  63. eskisfan

    “It looks like they have all the answers outside of their own city system. Why do the Wolves refuse to draft and develop local players”

    Most people involved or who follow the OHL will argue that part of the reason that the Wovles are middle of the pack team and not a contender year in year out is because they are too loyal to the North. Every year they draft Sudbury kids, north bay kids, soo kids, thunder bay kids and places in between. Gauarantee no team has drafted more Northern kids than the Wolves and they would of took Kujawinski had he been around at pick 6 this past year. That commment is oh so similar to what he Cherry said about the leafs ignoring the Ontario talent when total opposite is closer to the truth.

    As for the best playes in tier II (i’m assuing your talking about carrol, Esposto, or Haines. those are the only kids i can actually understand not wanting to go. They’ve all been there before, at least they’ve experienced it at one point or another. I’m not sure you can use a 20yr old as an AP anyway but i could be wrong.

    “kid is being developped perfectly? That is sarcasm right? how can you develop kid perfectly for the team he was drafted by, if you don’t let him go play when he wants or when Wolves need him? perfectly by whose account? Certainly not the Wolves. That’s like grading your own tests or completing your own job evaluation.

  64. bayinfo

    With two key players nursing injuries for north bay, why the heck would they risk their 3rd highest scorer going to play a nothing game.,

    development blah , blah , blah!!!???!!!

    Do you want the kid playing meaningful games and getting actual ice time?

    Or lets throw out one of the key players of a team , to act as a band aid , ride the pines most the game, and then risk being amongst the north bay injury problem?? Exercising caution is all it is.

    arguments can be made on one side or the other. Its playoffs and i assume coach mccarthy wants his team worrying about “their” team, and concentrating on their series.
    The odds are very low that danny could get injured when plays for the wolves, just as low as they were for all the players he would be replacing, and the ones that are watching from the sidelines in the Bay right now.

  65. Sec2RowP

    4,794 at the Wolves Tuesday game but I wonder if the Cubs will get over the 100-mark on Friday.

  66. Nukker

    Tommy Hawk: Both Cubs players you mentioned are over-agers. They would need to acquire their rights from their previous OHL teams and bump an O/A spot for them. As good as they are at the NOJHL level, they would be hard pressed to get 30 points in a full season in the O. They would not get the opportunities that they are getting in Tier II if up with the big club. Just look at their career OHL stats, they don’t lie. For the record, the Wolves are in OHL championship contention. Niagara is the only team that, on paper, is a better club than them in the East. Also, if you look at the past draft selections, I can assure you Soo and Sudbury have the MOST drafted players from Northern Ontario.

    It’s a shame that players are rejecting offers to go the Wolves as AP’s. Kids all over the north dream of putting the blue and white on. Shame on the Traps for holding Danny back.

  67. Nukker

    Tilly: Lil’ Haines doesn’t have what it takes to play in the O. At times, he can be a dynamic offensive player but the game is played at both ends of the ice. I’m sure he would jump at the opportunity to suit up with the Wolves but I doubt Cull has made the call.

  68. Randy Russon Post author

    hi all,

    My NOJHL FINAL FOUR FORECAST will be posted on Friday.

    Regards,

    RR

  69. Muskokahockeyfan

    Never say never to the NOJHL coming to Muskoka, but never to Parry Sound.. Seguin maybe as the township there retrofitted the arena to house the old Bruins team .. and they did well attracting around 200 fans per game and close enough to Parry Sound.. but there will never be junior hockey in Parry Sound proper.. Manitoulin will never have another junior team.. period.. it was an exercise in futility.. the days of attracting players from your backyard have been over for years…

  70. eskisfan

    Bayinfo you’re putting yourself and the Trappers in front of the player and your “development Blah Blah Blah” comment says exactly that. You need to remember that Jr A tier II is a developmental league! Providing opportunities for advancement/promotion should be part of every Jr A club’s mandate, with no room for “unless we’re scared you’re going to get injured or if the club believes the O game is meaningless, and it’ll be up the discretion of us to decide on both those instances.

    The kid was drafted by the Wolves, the Wolves sent him to develop and to call him up when needed. That is the deal. At the end of the day it should of been up to the kid. you can’t go on “what if he gets hurt”. Trapps should of been happy to let him go and get the experience and build thier own portfolio by promoting growth, moving a player on to the next level and acting as an affliate squad for the Wolves! That in itself sells the program to young developing and aspiring potential recruits. In any event, i’ll go back to my orginal statement and leave it at “This will not help the Trappers recruting efforts”. I’m not knocking the oganization as a whole, i think the trapps are great org, but they made mistake, admittedly or not.

  71. North

    Nukker..are you saying that the other Cubs call ups are OHL ready—and I disagree with your statements on all 3 players.
    It is erelevant in the end-I do agree with the fact that the Wolves are good enough to make the Eastern final. Cull has done a great job in his 2 seasons. But the 2 call ups played 3 shifts total the other night with a short bench-the 2 boys have been loyal .
    Fans don’t always know all the background information , rules, health issues, etc..involved.

  72. Tommy Hawk

    Just started following this group and my oh my, is it me or do the eskie fans and their personnel on here have all the answers for all of junior hockey or what ? Eskiefan, work on your own team or golf game, pretty sure the Traps will do just fine, McCarthy has done a darn good job with a team that plays hard for him every night and just doesn’t quit and pretty sure that includes Danny Desrochers, Danny Boy just might have an extended OHL career and further with the coaching of McCarthy through the Trappers development in junior hockey this season, and guess what, he will be able to play for the Wolves next season and not just sit on the bench, get over it and yourself, maybe you should send in a resume with all your answers in tow, do I smell a roast or is that Cull on fire I mean the firing line

  73. Hawks_96

    The cubs leading scorers cant be called OA’s. Why wouldn’t Douskey he isn’t an OA and has already played 2 games in the WHL so there is no NCAA issues . Unless there is a WHL that is blocking his writes from the Wolves. I also don’t know why they wouldn’t call up Poulin-Roy for some more games the GNML is having break for the OHL Cup. Thanks sigs_2012 on the explanation on why Timmins doesn’t have a NOJHL team it makes sense.

  74. Scott Kell

    tommy hawk- take a long look in the mirror..youre saying ridiculous things..know the facts before you speak

  75. ABITIBIAN

    Tommy Hawk-
    Welcome to the blog….I`m sure you read the etiquette.

    Opinions are just that , an opinion, they are neither right or wrong , it`s an opinion. Facts, make sure you provide them.Respect, It`s like anywhere else , you have to earn it.

    For a newbie on this blog, your post pretty well sets the tone.

    An Eskimos & NOJHL fan

  76. Tilly

    Nukker: “lil Haines” got ripped in the paper earlier in the year for not wanting to go play for the wolves. His older brother got shafted in the soo and played as a 16 year old and got drafted 1 round or 2nd, so to see his older brother not get a shot with a club who wanted him I’m sure he is educated to know that the ohl is rules by politics. Example: Poulin Roy plays and protects burgess kid so he gets called up every year. As well lil Haines was in the run for defensive player of the year. Every time he replaced either nick or Jaime on the first he racked up points.

  77. Rack

    I wonder how many of the bloggers that condemn the Trappers for not throwing Desrochers to the Wolves would be of the same opinion if the Wolves were looking for one of their stars during a playoff run?

  78. hockeyfan

    I don’t think the biggest problem is not allowing him to play during the playoffs…even I, the most critical one of this situation, can see why they would say no to a game this week. It makes sense. I would do the same.
    But don’t hide behind the fact that its the playoffs so its ok to say no to the OHL club.
    On atleast 3 occasions during the year, the trappers said no. On one occasion, the wolves were desperate, and the traps still said no – and then turned around and healthied the kid…as a twisted message of some sort.
    There is more to Cull’s message in the media than just this past game. He must have been over his boiling point in trying to get the kid up.

  79. Nukker

    So you think Carroll, Haines or Esposto are good enough to bump Captain Macdonald, Kuchin (3rd leading scorer on team) or McFadden (leading D man scorer)? As for AP ice time, I think many underestimate how big of a leap it is from Tier II to Tier I. It’s a huge learning curve, just ask any OHL rookie.

    Hawks – I’m not sure I follow, why can’t they be called OA’s? That’s exactly what they are, 1991 BD’s. As for Douskey, Wolves would need to acquire his rights from Medicine Hat for him to play if I’m not mistaken. I agree on Poulin-Roy, he could’ve went up for a couple games.

    How did Haines get shafted in the Soo? I never doubted lil Haines’ ability to put up points, he’s always been a threat when crossing the opposing team’s blue line.

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