Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 05, 2015

Shift of landscape sends the Soo Eagles to Middletown, NJ

Footprint moves east with team to the be known as the New Jersey Jr. Titans in the NAHL

FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Soo Eagles membership in the NAHL to Middletown, New Jersey beginning in the 2015-16 season. The team will adopt the name New Jersey Jr. Titans and play in their current facility, the Middletown Ice World Arena.

“We have seen our footprint in the North Division slowly migrate to other areas that became increasingly further from Sault Ste. Marie are and were left with no opponents within a reasonable traveling distance to the upper peninsula of Michigan. As a result, the NAHL recently opened up a discussion with us about a new opportunity that existed in New Jersey that is going to be a part of new growth of the league in the east,” said Ron Lavin, principal owner and governor of the Eagles. “"While the past two months have been filled with many details, emotions and recent league approvals surrounding a decision like this, it reflects the current footprint that has evolved in the North Division.”

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 05, 2015

Eagles poised to return to NOJHL

Pending approval from the various governing bodies, Soo Eagles are set to return to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League effective the 2015-2016 season.

by Randy Russon

The changing climate and moving footprint of the North American Hockey League has led the Michigan-based Eagles to seek a return to the NOJHL.

When current Eagles ownership led by majority stakeholder Ron Lavin and coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo left the NOJHL in 2012 after two successful seasons as members, they joined an NAHL that had a presence in three other Michigan towns — Kalamazoo, Port Huron and Flint. Read more...

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 05, 2015

Soo Eagles Remain In The Soo Though NAHL Leaves

The Soo Eagles Organization is one of the most dedicated and committed organizations in all of Junior Hockey.  This starts with Ownership setting the tone. Lavin committed to the Soo area five years ago, and that commitment remains just as strong today as it did five years go.  While change is always expected, some things simply can not be anticipated. In the last five or six years, the NAHL has failed franchises in, Detroit (twice), Port Huron, Flint, Kalamazoo, Alpena, Traverse City and Marquette.

It now adds Soo Michigan to that list, though that failure can not be attributed to lack of effort, or financial commitment.The Soo Eagles NAHL franchise will be relocating to Middletown New Jersey. The Soo Eagles as an organization will remain in the Soo and seek to re-enter the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League pending formal application to USA Hockey. The NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild were put in a similar situation and have left for the BCHL starting with the 2015-2016 season. Ron Lavin is committed to the to Soo, and the entire Northern Michigan Region.  He is not about to abandon his second home, or the people who have been so loyal to him.

It is unfortunate, but the NAHL franchise move was completely unavoidable. With no other teams in the State of Michigan, without having a travel partner, the challenges to operate effectively would have simply been insurmountable.The closest road trip would have been nine hours away, and other teams within the NAHL didn’t want to make that trip on a regular basis.  Lavin was simply left with no choice. But his commitment to the Soo rises to a level that he is willing to invest even more in the community to keep Tier II hockey in the Soo by purchasing another franchise to replace the NAHL franchise and keep the Pullar Center full.

While some may complain about the NAHL leaving, none should ever contend that Lavin and the rest of the organization have not done their best for the Soo. In business you can not control what the rest of the market will do.  You can only control how you anticipate market changes and adapt to those changes if you wish to survive and continue to grow.The Soo Eagles are doing just that, anticipate, adapt, and continue moving forward.Good people, and good hockey people find ways to make a difficult situation into a challenge to be overcome by setting new goals, looking for a positive result. The Soo Eagles will do just that as they continue to develop players at all levels in Northern Michigan.

Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher
Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 04, 2015

North Division Finals (Janesville wins series, 3-1)

Game 4: Janesville 6 @ Soo 2 – The Janesville Jets offense returned in grand fashion on Saturday night as they claimed Game 4 with a 6-2 win, to capture the best of five series, 3 games to 1 and win the North Division playoff title. Because the Jets are the #1 overall seed, they will be one of the two hosts for the next weekend’s Robertson Cup National Semi-Finals.  Their opponent will be determined following the conclusion of Game 5 of the Central Division Finals, which will take place on Monday night, but it will be either the Minnesota Wildness (if Austin wins) or the Minot Minotauros (if Minot wins). The Jets jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back in the game, which including two goals from Nils Ryhaard and another from Dan Kucerovy. The Eagles responded with two goals in the 2nd period from Pat Gazzillo and Brad Pung, but they would never be closer than two goals to the Jets lead as Alex Smith added a 2nd period tally to make it 4-2 after two periods. In the 3rd period, an early goal from Grant Hutton put the game out of reach and Kucerovy added his second goal of the game later in the period to make the final score 6-2. Mitch Fossier also had a good night for the Jets, chiming in with three assists.  Jets goalie Matt Jurusik only had to face 18 shots and make 16 saves in the win. Soo starting goalie Jack Berry was pulled after letting in five goals and making 24 saves. Chad Catt came in relief and made seven saves in his final NAHL game.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 04, 2015

Rookie goalie saves Soo Eagles


The kid came through in the clutch.

Rookie goalie Jack Berry helped save the season for the Soo Eagles on Friday night.

Playing ahead of veteran Chad Catt and making his first start of the playoffs with his team facing elimination, Berry made 36 saves as the Eagles blanked the visiting Janesville Jets 4-0 to force a fourth game in the best-of-five, North American Hockey League, North Division final.

Janesville — which finished first overall in the 24-team NAHL during the regular season — still leads the series over the Soo, but now by a 2-1 margin.

Game 4 is tonight at 7 p.m. at Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.

As the rookie Berry stopped every shot he faced, veteran forwards Trevor Cope, Leo Lumm and the hard-toiling Denver Pierce took care of the scoring.

Cope scored the first two goals of the game.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News May 01, 2015

$40,000 consolation prize for Pullar Stadium

By Scott Brand – Soo Evening News

While the news was disappointing on Saturday as the Pullar Community Building came up short in the Kraft Hockeyville, U.S.A voting, the always upbeat Linda Hoath wasn't letting the results get her down.

"It was David versus Goliath," she explained of the inherent advantage Johnstown had on Sault Ste. Marie. "They have 140,000 people living right around them."

And the long odds finally caught up with the Pullar, despite the best efforts of Eastern Upper Peninsula residents.

"I can't thank this community enough," said Hoath. "They did an awesome job."

The consolation prize, in the form of $40,000, also helped to put a smile on the face of the executive director of the Sault Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and a new effort to make up the $110,000 shortfall through a "Go"Fund Me/ Pullar Stadium" campaign has already garnered $3,500 in pledges just since Saturday evening had Hoath encouraged that this campaign could bring home its own grand prize.

"If everyone who voted just pledged $10," said Hoath mentally calculating the results. "We could raise enough money."

Hoath's biggest disappointment, she admitted, was not bringing a National Hockey League pre-season game to the Pullar, but she hadn't given up hope on that front.

"We'll try to find somebody to come in here and do a game," said the eternal optimist, expressing the belief that the NHL will return to the original Hockeytown, U.S.A.


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Our Mission

The Soo Eagles are committed to developing a tradition of academic growth, athletic skills, leadership, self-esteem, self discipline, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship.  We will provide this opportunity through the NAHL Tier Two Junior Hockey League as well as having the players involved in the community of Sault Ste. Marie in many projects.