SUDBURY, Ont. – As players ponder what comes next in their respective careers, a number of those in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League have earned an opportunity to compete at the next level through their excellence on the ice.
Here’s a look at the current NOJHL commitment tracker of where players are off to next. (As of April 3/20)
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS
Jackson Hjelle, (G) Gustavus Adolphus (MIAC)
The 20-year-old netminder will attend school and man the nets for the Gusties, who are members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Hjelle finished fourth among NOJHL goalkeepers in goals-against average at 2.55 and was best in save percentage at .928
Dominic Boily, (G) Maryville (ACHA)
The Beavers other netminder went 10-4-0-0 with Blind River down the stretch after being picked up from Elliot Lake in early January.
Maryville University is in St. Louis, MO., and the Saints are members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Kyle Quinn, (F) UNLV (ACHA)
Another member of the ACHA, the Skatin’ Rebels of Nevada-Las Vegas will see Quinn further his education and continue his hockey career.
Quinn played at over a point-per-game pace with the Beavers after being acquired from the Soo Eagles early in the campaign picking up 17 tallies and adding 19 helpers for 36 points in 33 outings.
ELLIOT LAKE WILDCATS
Connor Taylor, (F) Northland College (WIAC)
Taylor led the Wildcats in offensive production in 2019-20, netting 19 goals and helping set-up 29 others for Elliot Lake.
In 153 NOJHL contests, the Pekin, Ill., native scored 39 times and assists on 49 more.
The Northland Lumberjacks play out of Ashland, Wis., and are members of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Mattais Salem, (D) Laurentian (OUA)
The NOJHL’s top defenceman, best overall team player and first team all-star award winner will head Laurentian University in Sudbury to complete with the Voyageurs in U SPORTS and the OUA.
The 20-year-old blueliner from Brampton, Ont., pace all league blueliners in offensive production with 66 points as he notched a NOJHL-best 16 goals among defencemen while adding 50 assists along the way.
FRENCH RIVER RAPIDS
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS
Zacharie Giroux, (F) Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Giroux was a point-per-game player for the Canadians, getting 23 in as many games on nine goals and 14 assists.
Set to turn 17 Sunday, he skated in five OHL contests with Flint where he scored once and provided helpers on two others.
Giordano Biondi, (F) Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Representing the NOJHL at the CJHL Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont., Biondi provided 21 points for Rayside-Balfour while notching a dozen tallies and chipping in with nine assists.
He also had a 13-game stint in the OHL with Sudbury and scored once.
Brett Jacklin, (F) Laurentian University (OUA)
Seeing ice time in 19 OUA match-ups and five with Sudbury in the OHL, Jacklin returned to the Canadians to help them skate to a NOJHL West Division crown.
Jacklin picked up four markers and provided assistant on six more with Rayside-Balfour and also had seven goals and a half dozen assists with the Voyageurs.
Nicholas DeGrazia, (F) Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Set to make the full-time jump to the OHL, DeGrazia heads to the Sudbury Wolves after winning NOJHL Rookie of the Year honours.
He led all rookies in goals with 32 and tied in overall points with 61 and also provided five game-winning markers.
DeGrazia was a member of Team Canada East that captured a silver medal at the World Junior A Challenge.
Mitchell Martin, (F) Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
The Kitchener Rangers will be getting a player who had a strong rookie year with RBC.
The 17-year-old Sudbury product lit the lamp 25 times and doled out 36 assists for 61 points, which tied him for the NOJHL rookie scoring lead.
David Bowen, (G) Drummondville Voltiguers (QMJHL)
Bowen had a personal single-season best 18 victories for Rayside-Balfour.
He was fourth overall in save percentage in 2019-20 at .924 and had two shutouts, along with a 2.65 goals-against average, which placed his fifth in the league.
Cameron Lamour, (G) North Bay Battalion (OHL)
Seeing action in nine games on the year, Lamour went 5-3-1-0 with a 2.97 GAA along with a .921 save mark before getting called up to North Bay of the OHL.
With the Battalion, he saw action in 16 outings and had 886 minutes of game action while facing 505 shots against in that span.
Jake Lamberty, (F) Northland College (WIAC)
Lamberty was a 40-point man for the Eagles, matching a career-high in goals with 12 while also producing a personal-best in assists with 28.
He’ll join Elliot Lake’s Taylor at the WIAC school.
Shane Brancato, (G) Trine (NCHA)
Brancato heads to Trine in Indiana who compete in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.
He had a strong year for the Michigan Soo where he led all league goaltenders in minutes played at 2,536 while registering 21 wins.
Brancato also had the second-most saves in the NOJHL with 1,379.
Joel Brandinger, (F) Tufts (NESCAC)
School in New England awaits Brandinger after a solid final year in the Jr. A ranks.
The 20-year-old from Grand Rapids, Mich., produced 42 points in as many games for the Eagles as he collected 19 tallies, including four game-winners, and 23 assists.