An NOJHL flashback
by Randy Pascal
Since the launch of SudburySports.com in January 2004, much has changed in the landscape of local sports in Greater Sudbury. Yet there remains an
ardent interest in re-visiting the past, with several of the This Week in Sports (TWIS) articles garnering copious comments over the years.
And while the TWIS feature will continue to focus on taking a stroll down the memory lane of Sudbury sports in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s,
it seemed only fitting to re-publish some of the original articles that appeared on our website, near the start of the new millenium, from time to time.
Just for old times sakes.
If the landscape of sport, in general, in Sudbury has changed substantially in the past decade, the same can be said in spades for the NOJHL (Northern
Ontario Junior Hockey League). Now home to twelve teams, the league faced some major challenges with lack of parity and intra-league competition
just ten years ago.
The attached article, first published on January 13th (2005), recalls a number of familiar names from the league, most notably goaltender Paul
Dainton. After enjoying a successful NCAA career with the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Dainton would play for three more years in the
pros (AHL/ECHL), last suiting up with a team in Milan in the Italian league in 2013-2014.
Nathan Daly scored a pair of goals and newly acquired forward Jeff Christison added an insurance marker as the Rayside-Balfour
Sabrecats doubled the Manitoulin Wild 4-2 in Chelmsford Thursday.
Jordan Cheechoo added the remaining Cats goal, blasting a shot from just over the centre red line with just thirteen seconds remaining in the
opening period to give Rayside a 3-1 lead.
Brent Assinewei and Eldon Cheechoo tallied for Manitoulin, with both goals coming on the power-play. Cedric Bradette earned second
star honours in picking up the win between the pipes for Rayside with a 35-save performance, while Matt George turned aside 28 of the 32 shots
directed his way in net for the Wild.
Notes: Christison was acquired from the Sudbury Northern Wolves prior to the January 10th cutdown, coming over as compensation for
the acquisition of goaltender Paul Pidutti in December....January 10th brought about a handful of moves as teams trimmed their rosters to 21 players
- among the Manitoulin released players was former North Bay Skyhawks defenseman Jason Gauthier, who joined former teammate Sylvain Houle as
last-minute acquisitions of the Port Hope Predators...
....both young men join a roster that already features goaltender Paul Dainton, a local product who played with Rayside-Balfour one year ago...
Rayside released former Timmins Majors forward Tyler Scott at the deadline, while it appears that the Northern Wolves roster will boast a little
more offense with the addition of smooth-skating forward Jason Kauffeldt. The product of Valley East had played for Sudbury in 2002-03...
The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League is also pleased to announce that Manitoulin Wild forward Denis French has been chosen as Player of
the Week for the week ending Sunday, January 9th. The 20 year-old Sutton/Ontario native recorded back to back two goal games, as the Wild split a pair
of contests last week.
Playing in his first year with the Wild after toiling with the Georgina Ice one year ago, French added an assist and currently sits fifth in team
scoring with 26 points, with an even split between goals and assists.
Other players receiving consideration for the award were Abitibi teammates Luc Champagne and Kurtis Camirand, as well as Soo Thunderbirds
forward Chris Towell.