the north face london Here’s to a true north OHL final
Here to the north country of the Ontario Hockey League.
Of the 20 teams that make up the OHL, only three Soo Greyhounds, North Bay Battalion and Sudbury Wolves are based in the northern part of the province.
The Greyhounds and Erie Otters will meet in the Western Conference finals and North Bay will try to upset the Oshawa Generals in the Eastern Conference finals.
As the top seed in the Western Conference and first overall in the OHL the Soo will have home ice advantage for its series with second ranked Erie.
Erie may have National Hockey League star in waiting Connor McDavid leading the way but the Otters are so so in goal and besides, they just do not have the skilled depth of the Greyhounds.
With all those high NHL draft picks in their lineup forwards Jared McCann, Nick Ritchie and Justin Bailey, defencemen Darnell Nurse and Anthony DeAngelo and goalie Brandon Halverson among them the Soo is as good a team as the OHL has had since those London Knights powerhouses of a few years back.
As for the other series, I am going to go with the upset and take North Bay in six games.
Oshawa is talented and well coached and may have the best goalie in the OHL in Ken Appleby, who is from North Bay, ironically.
But North Bay is a team that was made for the playoffs and I happen to think that Stan Butler is the best, most effective coach in the OHL.
Plus, the Battalion has a couple of good old Northern Ontario boys on its roster in high scoring forwards Michael Amadio of Sault Ste. Marie and Ryan Kujawinski of Iroquois Falls.
BEST OF THE BIRDS
Kudos to the Soo Thunderbirds on yet another championship round, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League campaign.
This marks the fourth successive year that the Thunderbirds got to the NOJHL title round and the accomplishment adds to the 2011 2012 win it all season.
And while the Thunderbirds have their share of older,
19 and 20 year old players, they also boast good, young blood led by forwards Jaren Bellini and Nic Sicoly, defencemen Brandon Grandinetti and Owen Headrick and goalie Mario Culina. I knew Louis for many years and always enjoyed talking baseball and hockey with him. He liked to have a beer and he liked to talk Tigers and Soo Greyhounds. I will miss his happy face and pleasant personality. They don come much nicer or more genuine than Louis my old grade school teacher (and softball coach) Larry McNally out for supper with his wife, Jane, last weekend. One of the best teachers I ever had and just a great all around person, Mr. McNally tells me he is now 77 years old. Well, let me say that if I do get to age 77, I hope I look half as good then as Mr. McNally does now. Love that guy Calder, a 1998 birth year forward who has played for coach Pat Carricato and the AAA midget Soo Indians the past two seasons, has committed to the Lake Superior State University Lakers of the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association.