By Matt Stefano
He spent one season playing AAA hockey down in Toronto, Ontario, but now he’s coming home this season to play junior.
The Soo Thunderbirds have announced today that they have signed 2004-birth-year forward Kenny Belanger Jr. for the 2021-2022 season.
Belanger, who is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, played the 2019-2020 season with the Toronto Marlboros Under-16 hockey club, where he had 1 goal, 4 assists and just 2 penalty minutes in 27 regular season games.
He then notched a goal and an assist in 7 playoff games with the Marlboros during the 2020 postseason.
This past June, the 17-year-old forward was also drafted by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2nd round (22nd overall) in the 2021 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection.
Belanger, who stands 6’1 and weighs 171 pounds, is also the son of former NHL forward Ken Belanger Sr.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native also has family ties to the Soo Thunderbirds, as he is the cousin of Soo Thunderbirds second-year forward Ethan Novello.
“Kenny came in and earned a roster spot and we’re excited to have him join the program,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “It’s always a big adjustment for any young player at this level, but with said we feel Kenny can push for more opportunities within the lineup as the season unfolds and his game continues to improve.”
(Photo of Kenny Belanger Jr. credit to Dan Hickling)