Soo T-Birds ready for battle at national playoff

Soo T-Birds ready for battle at national playoff

The champions of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play the best Canadian junior ‘ A ‘ hockey teams in Estevan, Saskatchewan.  

Just a week after winning the NOJHL championship, the Soo Thunderbirds are now in Estevan, Sk. for the Centennial Cup.   

“There was no Dudley Hewitt Cup, the Central Canadian Junior A Championship, this year.  So this is great that the winner of the NOJHL goes directly to the Centennial Cup,” said Rob Mazzuca, NOJHL Commissioner.     

“The Soo Thunderbirds are a terrific team. They reeled off 26-straight wins at one point.”

 The T-Birds faced an uphill battle in the NOJHL final, losing the first three games, before coming back to win four consecutive games against the Hearst Lumberjacks.  

“They had an incredible five weeks,” said Mazzucca.

 “They had hot goaltending, and that’s what you need to get to the nationals, and the T-birds got that. It’s probably the hardest fought series I’ve seen in 11 years.”

Mazzuca said the Thunderbirds are a resilient team. And, he believes they stack up well against the competition at the national level.

“They knew what it would take to win, and kept on going against Hearst. This is going to be a great event for the T-Birds because this is a short-term tournament.”

“By the way, the Soo is the youngest team at this tournament and they’re going to have fun.” said Mazzuca

As to who might win the Centennial Cup? 

“The Soo Thunderbirds rank in the top 20 in the country, but the odds on favourite is the Brook Bandits from Alberta, and then you have the Summerside Western Capitals from Prince Edward Island.“

The Soo Thunderbirds lost their first game Thursday against the Flin Flon Bombers by a score of 6-1.

The T-Birds play the Summerside Western Capitals from PEI Friday at 6 P.M.