Soo Thunderbirds

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For the defunct EPHL team, see Sault Thunderbirds.
Soo Thunderbirds
Soo Thunderbirds.png
City Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
League Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League
Division Western
Founded 1999
Home arena John Rhodes Community Centre
Colors Black, Red, and White
              
Owner(s) Albert Giommi
General manager Kevin Cain
Head coach Jordan Smith
Affiliates Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Franchise history
1999-2002 Soo Thunderbirds
2002-2003 Sault Ste. Marie Jr. Greyhounds
2003-Present Soo Thunderbirds

The Soo Thunderbirds are a Junior "A" ice hockey team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. They are a part of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

History[edit]

Soo Thunderbirds first came into being as a junior hockey program in the late 1970s through a group started by the late Zoltan Kovacs Sr.

Zoltan, who emigrated to Canada from Hungary in 1956, was an old-fashioned, hardworking man who ran a successful janitorial-cleaning business, rising every morning before 3 a.m. to begin his day's work.

He started the Thunderbirds of the former International Jr. B Hockey League to keep more young hockey players at home.

Zoltan wasn't in the hockey business for money. In fact, not only did he never make a cent from his hockey venture, it cost him plenty of his own hard-earned money.

In his mind,though, running the Thunderbirds was money well spent.

Abbie Carricato coached the Thunderbirds during Zoltan's ownership period (1978-1982)and often referred to his old friend as one of the finest individuals he has ever known.

The Thunderbirds won three IJHL championships during Zoltan's ownership. The IJHL later folded.

Zoltan was in his 72nd year when he succumbed to cancer on January 30, 2004.

Zoltan's son, Zoltan Jr., or Toots as he is known to his family and hockey friends, is fond of saying that it was not until he was older "did I realize what a positive impact my dad had on the young men who played for the Thunderbirds.

"My dad always stressed the importance of leadership in the organization and how important it was to the young players on the team, from the owner right down to the coaches. That is obviously why he chose Abbie as his first and only coach. My dad certainly would be proud of the Thunderbirds winning the Dudley Hewitt Cup for the first time in franchise history."

2012 was a Championship year for the Soo Thunderbirds. They won the NOJHL League Championship as well as the coveted Dudley Hewitt Cup. They went on to play at the Royal Bank Cup in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

Team Captains: Mike Hull, Matt Wallace, Nick Oho, Dave Cara, Matt Wallace, Ryan Maunu, Adam Kauppi, Tyler Gendron, Nick Minardi, Kevin Smith, Jerry Petingalo, Micky Sartoretto.

Season-by-Season results[edit]

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA P Results Playoffs
Soo Thunderbirds
1999-00 40 22 15 3 - 184 145 47 3rd NOJHL
2000-01 40 33 4 1 2 240 95 69 2nd NOJHL Lost Final
2001-02 42 35 5 0 2 347 122 72 2nd NOJHL Lost Final
Sault Ste. Marie Jr. Greyhounds
2002-03 48 35 11 2 - 305 161 72 2nd NOJHL Lost Final
Soo Thunderbirds
2003-04 48 31 9 7 1 266 155 70 2nd NOJHL Lost Final
2004-05 48 26 17 2 3 206 175 57 5th NOJHL Lost Semi-final
2005-06 48 31 16 0 1 220 165 63 2nd NOJHL Lost Semi-final
2006-07 48 22 22 0 4 170 184 48 5th NOJHL Lost Semi-final
2007-08 50 33 9 - 8 206 145 101 1st NOJHL Lost Final
2008-09 50 35 14 - 1 244 153 71 2nd NOJHL Won League
2009-10 50 33 14 - 3 253 154 69 3rd NOJHL Lost Final
2010-11 50 38 9 - 3 244 144 79 1st NOJHL Lost Semi-final
2011-12 50 37 11 - 2 245 156 76 1st NOJHL Won League, Won DHC
2012-13 48 33 9 3 3 223 123 72 2nd NOJHL Lost Final
2013-14 56 48 5 1 2 245 102 99 1st NOJHL Lost Final

External links[edit]