Soo Eagles add another player from EL; activity aplenty in junior league

Hayden Daca has signed up to play for the Soo Eagles. jpg, SH

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Soo Eagles have committed to free agent defenceman Hayden Daca.
The December, 2001-birth-year skater spent the 2019-2020 season with the Elliot Lake Wildcats, who finished in last place in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
The Wildcats have since ceased operations ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
Overall, Daca performed rather well as an NOJHL rookie with lowly Elliot Lake in 2019-2020, managing five goals, eight assists, 13 points in 52 games from his blue line position.
Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo said both he and head coach Doug Laprade like what they have seen of the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Daca.
“He is a player who Doug and I noticed when we played Elliot Lake last season … and we both thought that he really improved as the season went on,” Bragagnolo told Sault This Week.
“Doug just saw (Daca) at a (North American Hockey League) tryout camp of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and recommended to me that we commit to him,” Bragagnolo added.
Bragagnolo said he and Laprade also scouted Daca when the young defenceman played for the major midget Soo Indians of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association during the 2018-2019 season.
“We are really familiar with the kid and (Eagles head coach) Doug (Laprade) in particular has really done his homework on him,” Bragagnolo noted.
Daca becomes the second player to be rescued by the Eagles from the Wildcats.
Earlier, as reported by Sault This Week, the Eagles signed forward Nick Jameus.
“We love his work ethic and skill level and Doug and I think he will fit in well with our team,” Bragagnolo said of the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Jameus.
As an NOJHL rookie last season, Jameus, who has a 2002 birth date, finished fourth in scoring on the Elliot Lake points chart. He totaled six goals, nine assists, 15 points in 51 regular season games on a Wildcats team that finished in last place overall with a record of 7-46-3.
Prior to his NOJHL rookie year, Jameus played two seasons in the Great North Midget Hockey League, suiting up for both the Soo Jr. Greyhounds and Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have received the go ahead to hold their main tryout camp next month.
Eagles general manager Bruno Bragagnolo has confirmed the main camp dates and details.
The Eagles are one of 11 teams in the NOJHL and its lone American entry.
With a good reputation as a franchise that develops its players and provides a first rate environment, the Eagles are coming off a 2019-2020 season in which they posted a record of 30-21-5.
The 65 points the Eagles earned was good for fourth place in the NOJHL’s West Division and just two points back of the third place Soo Thunderbirds. The Eagles then swept the fifth place Espanola Express in two straight games in the preliminary round of the playoffs before the COVID-19 pandemic put an abrupt end to the season.
Off the ice, the Eagles are actively involved in the Michigan Soo community. And they have received considerable recognition for their volunteer work within the community.
Besides the veteran Bragagnolo as general manager of 10 years, the Eagles feature the reputable Doug Laprade as head coach.
The 51-year-old Laprade is a former national championship player and assistant coach from his days with the Lake Superior State University Lakers.
Known as a player’s coach, Laprade has spent the past two seasons as the Eagles bench boss.
At any rate, the Eagles main camp is slated for Aug. 12-14 at Big Bear Arena in the Michigan Soo.
For player registration, go to or call general manager Bruno Bragagnolo via 847-921-4543 or head coach Doug Laprade at 906-322-0748.

All aboard the Express! Destination: Espanola.
Espanola Express president and general manager Jason Rapcewicz has confirmed the commitment of four more returning players for the 2020-2021 NOJHL season.
The planned returned of the four skaters — three defencemen and a forward — brings to eight the number of players that Rapcewicz already has commitments from for the upcoming NOJHL season.
The latest players to commit to return to Espanola for the 2020-2021 campaign are defencemen Jackson Legro, Robert Brisson and William Whelton and forward Josh Boucher.
Legro, who has a 2000 birth date and is from the American state of New Hampshire, netted two goals, 11 assists, 13 points in 35 games for Espanola in 2019-2020 after being obtained from the Blind River Beavers. He has a future commitment to play at Lebanon Valley College — a Division 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association school — for the 2021-2022 season.
Brisson, an Eastern Ontario product who has a 2002 birth date, got into 26 games for Espanola in 2019-2020 and had three goals, seven assists, 10 points from his blue line position.
Whelton, a youngster with a 2003 birth date, played in 53 games as a 16-year old rookie for the Express this past season and managed a goal, five assists, six points. He is from Whitby, Ont.
And Boucher, who hails from the Greater Sudbury town of Lively, came through with 10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points in 55 games for the Express in 2019-2020. He has a 2001 birth date.
“We have big expectations for them as returning players,” Rapcewicz relayed to Sault This Week. “We would like the older players to provide solid leadership roles.”
They are the latest players to confirm their return to Espanola for the coming season.
Previous commitments, as earlier stated by Sault This Week, were made by returning forwards Cole Delarosbil and Brennen Martel and holdover goalie Carson Boutin.
Rookie goalie Connor Lemieux has also committed to the Express.
All four are Northern Ontario products with Delarosbil being from Sault Ste. Marie, Martel from Timmins, Boutin from Iroquois Falls and Lemieux from the Thunder Bay area.
Delarosbil and Martel both have 2001 birth dates. Boutin and Lemieux were both born in 2002.
As for the trio of returnees, Delarosbil stands in at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds while Martel is 5-foot-8, 150 pounds — and both have 2001 birth dates. The 6-foot, 185-pound Boutin, meanwhile, was born in 2002.
Of note, all three are graduates of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
Delarosbil played for the Soo Jr. Greyhounds; Martel suited up for the Timmins Majors and Boutin tended twine for both the Sudbury Minor Wolves and Kapuskasing Flyers
Delarosbil, whose initial season on the Express was derailed by a broken ankle that he suffered in January, came through with six goals, three assists, nine points in just 27 outings as an NOJHL rookie.
Martel, meanwhile, got into 37 of Espanola’s 56 regular season games as a first-year NOJHLer in 2019-2020 and contributed three goals, three assists, six points as an energetic, two-way puck hound.
“As forwards they have different skills but what they have in common is their compete level,” Rapcewicz said in praise of Delarosbil and Martel.
As for Boutin, the young goalie joined the Express from the Komoka Kings of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League via the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL during the 2019-2020 season.
Boutin, who had a 4-7-3 record with a 4.32 goals against average and .895 save percentage after joining the Express in December of last year, matured on and off the ice, said Rapcewicz.
“He came in and did a nice job for us as one of our two goalies,” Rapcewicz said of Boutin, who faced a whopping 636 shots in 921 minutes of play for Espanola, which ended up in fifth place in the West Division of the NOJHL.
“Carson got better and, you know what, he worked harder as the season went on and we look forward to his expected return to Espanola for the coming season,” Rapcewicz added.
The commitments from Boutin and Lemieux indicate that the Express will be in a position to trade 2001-birth-year goalie Joel Rainville, a Sturgeon Falls product who has played the past two seasons in Espanola.
Espanola is coming off of a 2019-2020 season in which it finished in fifth place in the West Division of the NOJHL with 39 points from a record of 17-34-5.

Rayside Balfour Canadians general manager Jeff Forsyth has confirmed the signing of three rookie players ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
The Canadians are coming off of a 2019-2020 regular season in which they finished atop the West Division standings of the NOJHL with a record of 40-11-5.
It was a season of firsts for RBC in 2019-2020 under the new ownership of Mark Burgess, managing director Blaine Smith, Forsyth as the GM and Dan Cuomo as head coach.
As for the three newcomers who have signed up to play for the Canadians, they are forwards Mackenzie Sedgwick and Samuel Assinewai and defenceman Wilson Farrow.
All three are Northern Ontario products with Sedgwick being from Thunder Bay, Assinewai from the Manitoulin Island port of Little Current and Farrow hailing from Sudbury.
Sedgwick has a 2002 birth date while Assinewai and Farrow were both born in 2004.