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Date Published: October 9, 2006

A look at the Onaping Falls Huskies and NOBHL Showcase Results

Showcase Weekend

As has been the custom over the past few years, the Northern Ontario Bantam AAA Hockey League opened regular season play with a "Showcase Weekend", bringing all five teams together for a single round robin of play in one location. Based on the ten games played to date, there have been a few interesting trends.

First and foremost, the teams, like all other minor hockey teams across the country, are trying to adjust to the "new standards" of rule enforcement as officials begin to call the game strictly by the book. Many infractions that had been allowed to gradually work their way in as an accepted part of the game, especially on the defensive side of the puck, have now been eliminated.

Defensemen are being forced to keep both hands on their sticks and keep their sticks away from opponents as hooking and slashing calls run rampant in the early going. While fans, coaches and players may find it frustrating initially, the "new standards" are here to stay and the teams that evolve most quickly to the now-acceptable style of hockey are sure to reap the benefits.

While league-wide parity is still something of a pipe-dream within the ranks of the NOBHL, early signs this season point to a much more closely contested loop. No team went through their opening four games with an unblemished 4-0 record, although the Sudbury Wolves 3-0-1 record finds them sitting in first place with 7 points, one better than the Soo Greyhounds and two up on North Bay Hilltop Variety Blades.

Although the Timmins Technosub Rangers currently sport an 0-4 mark, the goal differential (goals for less goals against) is only ten goals after four games, or an average of 2.5 per game. By comparison, the Rangers allowed a whopping 122 more goals against than they scored one year ago, with Timmins allowing opponents to reach double digits on eight separate occasions during their 2005-06 campaign.

Onaping Falls Huskies

After icing a team that many thought could contend for a franchise-first league title last year, Onaping Falls Huskies long-time head coach Dave Berthelot enters this season in a rebuilding mode, returning just two members of the '05-'06 squad. Following is a "by position" look at the Bantam Huskies:


With the decision of Minor Bantam Max Bouffard not to return to the Huskies for a second year, Onaping has turned to former Sudbury Minor Bantam product Carter Frattini and Rayside 1st year bantam Eric Fraser to take on the challenge this year.


Ryan Hull returns for a second season to anchor the blueline after picking up nine points in 29 games one year ago. Nickel Centre products Michael Szymanski and Michael Rollins join Sheldon McGinn and Brett Dusick as Berthelot continues his tendancy towards big, physical defensemen.


Berthelot and company are hoping that lightning can indeed strike twice. Their decision to keep Minor Bantam Jamie Haines in the fall of 2004 paid off big time one year later as Haines recorded 31 goals and 32 assists in finishing 6th in league scoring in 2005-06.

Back to the well as Berthelot signs Valley East native Darcy Haines (the younger brother) with two years of bantam eligibility at his disposal. But make no mistake - the Huskies offense will be lead by returning captain Joshua Patrick, who should receive support from a pair of long-time Walden Minor Hockey linemates in Adam Ritchie and Liam Deacon.

Valley East Minor Hockey does their part by providing the likes of Shane Violette, Brett Wilson and Benoit Roy to the Onaping roster while Sebastien Leroux, Ryan Chretien, Shawn Leonard and Craig Riehl round out the forward corps.

The injury bug wasted little time in biting the Huskies as Chretien, Deacon and Leonard are all on the shelf. Leonard is expected back hopefully for the Thanksgiving weekend set in North Bay, Chretien perhaps a week later while Deacon is still a month away from returning.

The Huskies kick-started the 2006 season with an appearance at the Toronto Red Wings Early Bird Tournament as the team was tagged with four consecutive losses. Onaping Falls fell to the Toronto Marlboros (4-1), the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2), the Brampton Battalion (5-4) as well as the Buffalo Regals (3-2) before returning to Greater Sudbury.

The event also drew fellow NOBHL entries as both the Greyhounds (4-0 in round robin before losing 7-2 to the Marlboros in championship Q-F action) and the Blades (2-1-1 in round robin and eliminated 7-0 by York Simcoe in consolation Q-F action) participated as well.

The tournament was captured by an extremely impressive North York Jr Canadians team, beating Detroit Honeybaked 4-1 in the final. The Canadians are among the 25 Bantam Division entries that will also be in Sudbury in early November as part of the 2006 Big Nickel Tournament that will also include fellow quarter-finalist Toronto Red Wings, Markham Majors, Toronto Marlboros and Sault Ste Marie.


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Article Archive:
Huard steals the show, from a local perspective, at OFSAA

Medal Count continues to rise for Lady Wolves
St Benedict still the team in beat in 2008
Four more NOHA crowns claimed locally...and AAA Wolves shine on the road

Applefest 2007 provides healthy crop of medals for Lady Wolves
High-School Football Predictions - 2007
Exciting finals highlight Big Nickel closing day
A look at the Onaping Falls Huskies and NOBHL Showcase Results

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