TIMMINS - Three members of the Abitibi Eskimos and two members of the Cochrane Crunch have been named to the 20-man roster that will represent the NOJHL at the upcoming Central Canada Cup Challenge.
The tournament gets underway Friday and continues through Sunday, at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto.
Member of the Eskimos named to the team include the team’s top two scorers — Brady Clouthier (20, 14-17-31, 27) and Brenden Locke (17, 15-10-25, 7), as well as defenceman Ryan Kerr (19, 1-11-12, 27).
The Crunch will be represented by their top two scores — Cody Gratton (20, 23-14-37, 16), Dustin Cordeiro (17, 22-10-32-21).
The roster also includes Moosonee native Khadyn Butterfly (13, 6-6-12, 46), a defenceman who plays for the Sudbury Nickel Barons.
Kevin Cain, of the Soo Thunderbirds, will serve as general manager of the NOJHL squad, with Thunderbirds coach Jordan Smith behind the bench.
His assistants will be Ryan Maunu, an assistant coach with the Thunderbirds, and Don Gagnon, coach of the Blind River Beavers.
“It is a true honour and privilege to be part of Team NOJHL and it was a real challenge selecting our roster than will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge,” Cain said.
With a maximum of five 1994 birth-year players allowed on each competing team roster, the selection process was a difficult one and it was something Cain and the rest of the staff did not take lightly.
“A number of extremely talented players in our league, especially the ’94s, had to be left off our roster due in part to us having just one team taking part, as well as a limit on the number of 20-year-olds we were allowed to choose,” Cain said.
Six of the nine teams that comprise the NOJHL had at least two players named to the squad.
“On behalf of the NOJHL, we congratulate the players that have been chosen to represent our league at the Central Canada Cup Challenge,” said NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“It was definitely not an easy task selecting one team out of all the talented players we have in the NOJHL, but Kevin (Cain) and the rest of the staff are to be commended for their due diligence and efforts made in formalizing the NOJHL roster.”
The NOJHL’s first game at the Central Canada Cup Challenge goes at 4 p.m. on Friday, against Team OJHL Paul Coffey.
Following are the other members of Team NOJHL: Goalie Brian Kment (Thunderbirds), goalie Mario Culina (Thunderbirds), defenceman David Radke (Thunderbirds), defenceman Ryan Mooney (Nickel Barons), defenceman Nathan Campbell (Elliot Lake Wildcats), defenceman Ethan Strong (Kirkland Lake Gold Miners), forward Tristen Hazlett (Gold Miners), forward Nicolas Sicoly (Thunderbirds), forward Spencer MacLean (Wildcats), forward Luc Soares (Gold Miners), forward Jaren Bellini (Thunderbirds), forward Anthony Miller (Thunderbirds), forward Dylan Callaghan (Nickel Barons) and forward Adam Baxter (Wildcats).
Team NOJHL does not include any members of the Powassan Voodoos, the Mattawa Blackhawks, or the Blind River Beavers.
Carla Vine (Gold Miners) and Lisa Parise (Nickel Barons) will serve as the team’s trainers, while Brian Workman (Nickel Barons) will be the equipment manager.