Former Thunderbirds head coach to assist with SMHA

By Matt Stefano

He’s been the associate coach of the Soo Greyhounds since 2018, and now he’s about to lend a helping hand with the SMHA (Sault Major Hockey Assiciation) for the upcoming season.

It was announced on Monday that former Soo Thunderbirds head coach and current Soo Greyhounds associate coach Jordan Smith will be assisting with the SMHA (Sault Major Hockey Association) and providing a support system for all their coaches for the upcoming hockey season.

Smith, 35, is among the extensive list of hockey pros that will volunteer with the SMHA and will be helping out with the Sault Major Hockey Association ‘Coach Mentorship’ Program.

The other members that will also be helping out with this program, are John Dean (Soo Greyhounds Head Coach), Jamie Tardif (Soo Greyhounds Associate Coach), Craig Hartsburg (Former Soo Greyhounds Head Coach), Toots Kovacs (Former Thunderbirds Head Coach/Associate Coach), Trevor Daley (Soo Thunderbirds Owner), Mike Hall (Sault College Cougars Men’s Hockey Head Coach), Denny Lambert (Former Thunderbirds Head Coach & Assistant GM), Mark Matier (Former Soo Greyhounds Defenceman) and Terry Barbeau (Former Thunderbirds Goalie Coach), plus more.

The SMHA Coach Mentorship Program was a program that began back in 2018, which was initiated by former Thunderbirds head coach/associate coach Toots Kovacs along with former Soo Greyhounds head coach Craig Hartsburg.

This program was created to provide assistance to all the elite coaches from Atom to Midget AA and Midget AAA.

It also allows all the coaches to have access to the panel of volunteers, which now includes Smith, as a resource throughout the 2021-2022 hockey season.

Smith, who is one of the latest members to assist with this program, has been the Soo Greyhounds associate coach since 2018, and has an overall record of 73 wins, 47 losses, 10 overtime losses and 2 shootout losses.

Smith, who also served as the Soo Thunderbirds head coach from 2013-2017, helped the Thunderbirds win to back to back Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy titles (NOJHL Playoff Champions) in 2015 & 2016 and one Dudley Hewitt Cup title (Central Canada Junior A Champions) in 2015.

In his first season behind the bench with the Thunderbirds in 2013-2014, Smith helped the Thunderbirds finish in first place in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League with 48 wins and 99 points.

The Thunderbirds, who had 48 wins and 99 points that season, also set new NOJHL records for most wins and points during a regular season.

During his four years behind the bench with his hometown Soo Thunderbirds, Smith had an overall record of 176 wins, 29 losses, 4 ties and 9 overtime losses.

Smith, a two-time NOJHL Coach of the Year (2014 & 2015), is also the Soo Thunderbirds all-time winningest coach.

After four successful seasons behind the bench with the Thunderbirds, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product then moved up to become an associate coach in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves.

During his one season with the Wolves in 2017-2018, Smith was also reunited with four players that he previously coached on the Soo Thunderbirds, including the Pilon brothers (Darian & Drake), Mario Culina and Nolan Makkonen.

Following his season with the Wolves, Smith was then hired as an associate coach with his hometown Soo Greyhounds in 2018-2019.

Smith, who is now a volunteer with the SMHA Coach Mentorship Program, has also helped schedule a free one-day seminar, which will take place in August.

More details will be released at a later time for more information you can visit the SMHA website at

(Jordan Smith hoisting the Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy as head coach of the Soo Thunderbirds in 2015/Photo credit to James Eagan’s Sports Sports Photography)



WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin