Soo Eagles News - Hockey News July 21, 2015

Multiple commitments to Soo Eagles

by Randy Russon
hockeynewsnorth.com

Homegrown forward Landon Hubbard heads an early list of players who have committed to the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the 2015-2016 season, HockeyNewsNorth.com has confirmed.

A 5-foot-9, 165 pound puck whiz with skill and speed, Hubbard has spent the past two seasons playing with both the AAA midget Soo Indians and the Soo High Blue Devils.

He finished up the 2014-2015 season with the Indians and scored 15 goals in 27 games.

Indians head coach Pat Carricato had all good things to say about Hubbard when asked by HockeyNewsNorth.com.

“He was a key part of our success,” Carricato began. “He’s great teammate and a pleasure to coach. I think he will be a good player for the Eagles this season.”

Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has been watching Hubbard develop over the past few seasons and said the 1998 birth-year forward “is definitely ready to move up to the NOJHL. He has really good skills and he’s a smart player.”

Hubbard said he looked at opportunities to play in the North American Hockey League but opted to stay home and skate in the NOJHL for the Eagles.

“This will be my last year in high school so I thought it would be best to stay here and play in the NOJ,” Hubbard told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “It has a reputation as a good league and this is a good step up for me.”

Hubbard is one of six players who have committed to play in the NOJHL for the Michigan-based Eagles in 2015-2016.

The others are 1996 birth-year goalie Jack Deines, 1996 birth-year defencemen Alex DiBacco and Levi Rowan, 1996 birth-year forward Kendall Huckins and 1997 birth-year forward Korey Muzzy.

Deines played for Detroit U-D Jesuit in 2014-2015 while DiBacco is from the Chicago Young Americans, Rowan is from Cadillac high school, Huckins is from the erstwhile Batchewana Attack and Muzzy is from the Minnesota Revolution.

“All of these players are well-known to me and our scouting staff and we are happy to get commitments from them to play for the Soo Eagles this coming season,” Bragagnolo told HockeyNewsNorth.com.

“Deines had an excellent pre-NAHL camp and caught the eyes of many observers and was the best goalie there. DiBacco is a tough, hard-nosed defenceman with good offensive skills. Rowan has really impressed us with his skill and smarts. Huckins is a kid who can put up points and is hard to play against. Muzzy is a player with size, skill and a lot of potential,” assessed Bragagnolo.

 
Soo Eagles News - Hockey News July 21, 2015

Soo Eagles sign Jake Palmerio

by Randy Russon
hockeynewsnorth.com

A Sault Ste. Marie native, the 5-foot-9, 178 pound Palmerio becomes the first Canadian to sign with the Michigan-based Eagles, who are returning to the NOJHL this season after three years in the North American Hockey League.

Palmerio, who scored 20 goals in 32 games for the Batchewana Attack of the now-dormant Canadian International Hockey League in 2014-2015, jumped at the chance to sign with the Eagles after being offered a spot by coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo.

“I got to know Bruno from having practiced with the Eagles a few times last season and I really like him,” said Palmerio. “He runs a really good practice and has a great reputation.”

Palmerio had opportunities to play junior hockey elsewhere in 2015-2016 but decided to stay home after talking with his parents and with Bragagnolo.

The youngster said he aspires to be “one of the better players on the Eagles and in the league. I want to show Bruno that I can be a first-line player.”

Playing a season of junior as a 17-year old with Batchewana and former Ontario Hockey League coach Denny Lambert in 2014-2015 was a “great experience” said Palmerio.

“Denny is a great guy and a great coach who taught me a lot,” said Palmerio. “He definitely made me a better player.”

Bragagnolo, who has coached the Eagles for five years now — two in the NOJHL and three in the NAHL — said Palmerio is a player who he quickly targeted as one of four Canadians that the Michigan Soo team is allowed to carry.

“I got to see a lot of him when we invited him to skate with us over the course of last season,” said Bragagnolo. “Jake is a smart player and a good skater who knows where to be on the ice. This is a kid who we really like a lot.”

 
Soo Eagles News - Hockey News July 21, 2015

Soo Eagles add a speedster

By Randy Russon
hockeynewsnorth.com

Speed demon forward Brad Hofelich has committed to the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, HockeyNewsNorth.com has confirmed.

Hofelich, a 5-foot-9, 165 pounder who is blessed with skill and smarts, scored 34 goals, 38 assists, 72 points in 27 games for Novi High Wildcats — a Detroit area school team — in 2014-2015.

“He is a player who we think can put up some numbers and be a good all-around player for us,” Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “Brad has a lot of potential.”

 
Soo Eagles News - Hockey News June 25, 2015

Soo v. Soo X 12

hockeynewsnorth.com
Randy Russon

The focus for the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is now on the 2015-2016 season.

The NOJHL held its annual general meeting in Sault Ste. Marie recently and among other orders of business, finalized its 2015-2016 schedule.

The NOJHL will operate with two six-team divisions and an unbalanced schedule in 2015-2016. All 12 teams will play 54 regular-season games.

Soo Eagles, Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers, Elliot Lake Wildcats, Espanola Express and Rayside-Balfour Canadians will make up the West Division.

The East Division will be comprised of the French River Rapids, Powassan Voodoos, Timmins Rock, Iroquois Falls Eskis, Cochrane Crunch and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

Five teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs with a new twist.

The fourth-and-fifth-place regular-season finishers in each division will meet in a best-of-three series to decide the no. 4 playoff seed in both the West and East.

Meanwhile, with the Michigan-based Eagles back in the NOJHL after three seasons in the North American Hockey League, the cross-border rivalry with the Ontario-based Thunderbirds will be renewed.

The two teams will face off against one another 12 times and Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo said he is “really looking forward” to renewing old acquaintances with the Thunderbirds.

“One thing we missed when we were in the NAHL was our rivalry with the Thunderbirds,” Bragagnolo told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “Our biggest home crowds in the five years that I have been involved with the Eagles were when we were a part of the NOJHL and playing the Thunderbirds.”

The Eagles play out of venerable Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo and late-season games against the Thunderbirds used to draw an average of 1,200 fans to the old Portage Ave. barn.

Thunderbirds president-general manager Jamie Henderson is also anticipating the rivalry with the Eagles.

“The Eagles are a tremendous addition to our league,” Henderson told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “Certainly playing them 12 times will re-ignite that rivalry we enjoyed back in 2010 and 2011 when we had some exciting games on both sides of the border.

“Maybe most importantly, for our players, is the opportunity to play even more high pressure games which will ultimately help them prepare to move ‎up to the next level,” Henderson added.

The Thunderbirds are slated to move from John Rhodes Community Centre to the more-spacious Rankin Arena for 2015-2016.

 
Soo Eagles News - Hockey News June 09, 2015

USA Hockey approves Soo Eagles

by Randy Russon

It’s official.

Michigan-based Soo Eagles have received approval from governing-body USA Hockey to re-join the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League as an expansion team for the 2015-2016 season, HockeyNewsNorth.com has confirmed.

The Eagles had earlier been approved by Hockey Canada to return to the NOJHL after being a part of the North American Hockey League the past three seasons.

As members of the NOJHL, the Eagles won the championship in 2010-2011.

Coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo, who has been with the Eagles for five years — two in the NOJHL and three in the NAHL — said he is “both happy and excited to have received the phone call from USA Hockey earlier today.

“The NOJHL is a growing league with good leadership and a good reputation. We are very happy to again be a part of the NOJHL and to be able to renew the cross-border rivalry with the Soo Thunderbirds,” Bragagnolo added.

The Eagles will continue to play their home games at venerable Pullar Stadium in the downtown Michigan Soo.

With all the necessary approval for the Eagles now in place, the NOJHL will be a 12-team league in 2015-2016 — which is double what it was seven years ago.

Besides the Eagles and Thunderbirds, other teams that will comprise the NOJHL in 2015-2016 are the Blind River Beavers, Elliot Lake Wildcats, Espanola Express, Rayside-Balfour Canadians, French River Rapids, Powassan Voodoos, Timmins Rock, Iroquois Falls Eskimos, Cochrane Crunch and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

 


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