By Matt Stefano
Fletchy, McAuley and Roach are all becoming T-Birds!
The Soo Thunderbirds have announced on Tuesday that they have signed goaltender Maverick Fletcher, forward Callum McAuley and defenceman Evan Roach for the upcoming season.
All three of those guys are also 2006-birth-year players.
Fletcher, who is from Sudbury, Ontario, spent last season with the Great North Under-18 Hockey League’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds, where he had a 1.60 goals against average and 4 shutouts through 15 regular season games.
The 6-foot-1 and 172-pound goaltender also played one game with the Soo Thunderbirds back on February 4, where he made 25 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Soo Eagles at the John Rhodes.
This past April, Fletchy then ended up being drafted by the Erie Otters in the 2nd round (22nd overall) in the 2023 Ontario Hockey League Under-18 Priority Selection.
“Maverick was sensational all season with the Jr. Greyhounds as he beat several of the top teams in the province,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “His work ethic is impressive, and we can count on some great play in net with our goalie tandem this upcoming season.”
“It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m headed towards a prestigious team that has a great history,” Fletcher added. “It was also an honour to be able to play one game with the Thunderbirds last season as an affiliate player and now I’m looking forward to spending next season with a great team and a great coaching staff.”
McAuley, who is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, spent last season with the Great North Under-18 Hockey League’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds, where he recorded 8 goals and 18 assists in 28 regular season games.
Last season, the 5-foot-10 and 155-pound forward also played 16 games (Including 12 in the playoffs) as an affiliate player with the Soo Thunderbirds, where he recorded 2 goals and 5 assists.
“Callum (McAuley) was so impressive in our playoff run last season, and as a young player he earned tremendous confidence from our staff,” Henderson said.
“I’m very excited to sign with the Thunderbirds for next season and this past season with the Jr. Greyhounds was a good year for my development,” McAuley added. “Also, getting some ice time with the Thunderbirds this past season gave me a lot of confidence to be a good player at the next level.”
Roach, who is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, spent last season with the Great North Under-18 Hockey League’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds, where he recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in 13 regular season games.
Last season, the 6-foot-1 and 174-pound defenceman also played 2 games as an affiliate player with the Soo Thunderbirds.
Roach was also drafted in the 15th round (298th overall) by his hometown Soo Greyhounds back in the 2022 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
“Evan (Roach) has a real strong desire to learn and improve daily, and that commitment will serve him well this fall,” Henderson said.
“Signing to the Soo Thunderbirds is an incredible feeling,” Roach added. “I’m excited for the opportunity to take my game to the next level, to challenge myself against stronger competition, and to learn from the very experienced coaching staff and teammates. I’m also focused on my goals and am ready to embrace the next chapter in my life.”
If the last name Roach sounds familiar to you, it’s because Evan (Roach) is also the son of former Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and former Soo Greyhounds defenceman Gary Roach.
DOG HOUSE IN THE BIRD NEST
With the signing of Fletcher, McAuley and Roach, the Thunderbirds now have a total of five players signed out of the Soo Jr. Greyhounds program.
The other two Jr. Greyhounds who signed with the Thunderbirds are Declan Gallivan and Candon O’Neill.
“It’s great to see three more players from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds program make the jump to join the Soo Thunderbirds on a full-time basis for next season,” Henderson said. “We have also added some great people and families to our program and we are really excited to see those players blossom as Thunderbirds.”