By Matt Stefano
With the month of November officially started, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League has announced it’s roster for the Eastern Canada All Star Challenge, which will be taking place from November 16th-18th, in Cornwall, Ontario.
This year’s roster for Team NOJHL will feature seven members from the Soo Thunderbirds, including five players.
Jaren Bellini, Caleb Boman, Brett Jeffries, Darian Pilon and Aiden Salerno are the players selected from the T-Birds while Thunderbirds president Kevin Cain will serve as Team NOJHL’s assistant director of operations and vice president Mark Hebert, has been named the equipment manager.
After suiting up for Team NOJHL last November in Toronto, T-Birds forward Jaren Bellini is returning to the all star team for his second year. The 19 year old Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native currently has 8 goals and 10 points through 16 games this season. Bellini recorded his 100th career point back on September 16th vs Blind River.
T-Birds sophomore defenseman Caleb Boman, who doesn’t turn 18 until November 4th, is currently second in NOJHL points amongst defensemen with 19. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native also led all T-Bird defensemen in points last year in his rookie season with 32.
Overage forward Brett Jeffries, who was the recipient of last season’s Mitch Tetreault Memorial Trophy as the NOJHL’s top defensive forward, follows T-Birds captains Anthony Miller and Gavin Burbach, who both participated in the previous tournaments for Team NOJHL. The Cochenour, Ontario native, who was named T-Birds captain one day before opening night, currently has 6 goals and 13 points through 15 games along with 12 penalty minutes.
Rookie forward Darian Pilon, who was named the NOJHL’s Gongshow Gear rookie of the month in September, is currently tied for second in T-Bird scoring with defenseman Caleb Boman. Pilon, who turned 17 years old back on October 2nd, currently has 8 goals and 19 points through 15 games along with 16 penalty minutes.
Overage defenseman Aiden Salerno, who was acquired in a trade this October from the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, has 1 assist through 4 games thus far with the T-Birds along with 10 penalty minutes. The Long Beach, New York native, who just turned 20 years old today, also attended New York Islanders development camp this past Summer.
Kevin Cain, who served as the director of operations for Team NOJHL last season, is another member of the T-Birds returning and Mark Hebert, who is in his first year as T-Birds vice president, will join Cain on team staff.
Other participating leagues in this year’s tournament will include: CCHL, OJHL, Quebec Junior Hockey League and the Maritime Hockey League.