Eagles prep for NAHL takeoff
|Tuesday, 08 May 2012 06:44|
By: Randy Russon - Mika Media
Soo Eagles and their chief pilot are getting ready for a takeoff flight that will transport them from one junior league to another.
And the fact that the Michigan- based Eagles have departed the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League for the North American Hockey League could lead to more options and opportunities for players from the Sault Ste. Marie area.
After four seasons in the NOJHL, in which they were 2010-11 champions, the Eagles are leaving for the NAHL effective the 2012-13 campaign. The Eagles will continue to play their home games at venerable Pullar Stadium.
And the reputable, respected Bruno Bragaganolo will continue to lead the Eagles as coach and general manager as they make their move from the NOJHL to the NAHL.
Currently, the NAHL is a 28-team, five-division league spanning 14 American states. The Eagles will hold their first of three off-season tryout camps from May 11-13 at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. and among others, a number of players from the north side of the International Bridge are expected to be in attendance. All NAHL teams can carry two import players and in the case of the Eagles, Bragagnolo makes no secret of the fact that he would like to tap the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. market.
Of note, players of First Nation descent are not classified as imports which means the Eagles, as an example, could sign defenceman Tyler Sehovic from Sault, Ont. and he would not count as one of their two Canadians.
Sehovic, a 1995 birth year, played with the Eagles during the 2011-12 NOJHL season and is a 2011 Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds.
“If he doesn’t sign with the Greyhounds he’d be a player that we would look closely at signing,” Bragagnolo said of Sehovic, a tall, rangy defender. “Tyler is a good, young player with a lot of potential.”
Besides Sehovic, there are several others from the 2011-12 Eagles who could potentially make the move from the NOJHL to the NAHL for the 2012-13 season, notably forwards Dallas McLaughlin, Gavin Burbach, Josh Borgen, Cole Hyrsky, Connor Lyons and Aaron Leach, defencemen Johnny Dora and A.J. Kapcheck and goalie Chris Truehl.
Meanwhile, Brian Nanne, a 1992 birth year forward, formerly of the NOJHL’s Soo Thunderbirds, is a player of whom Bragagnolo said, “We are definitely interested in acquiring if he is interested in playing in the NAHL for us.”
Nanne spent the 2011-12 season with the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and produced 40 points, including 15 goals, in 49 games.
“There are quite a few players from Sault, Ontario who we are potentially interested in,” Bragagnolo said evenly.
“We’l l see what happens. There are a lot of good hockey players in Sault, Ontario and just as the OHL or the NOJHL are options for them, maybe the NAHL will be now as well.”
All NAHL teams can have a roster of 30 tendered and drafted players until September 1 when the number must be reduced to 25.
The annual NAHL Draft is slated for Thursday, May 31 and the number of players that each team is able to select depends on the team’s roster as of May 30. Leading up to May 30, each team’s roster can be comprised of protected veteran and signed tenders only. For example, if a team has 10 veterans rostered and 10 signed tenders then that team is allowed 10 draft picks, for a total of 30 players.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 06:48|