T-Birds re-acquire Ouellet from Truro

By Matt Stefano

A familiar face is coming back to the Bird nest!

The Soo Thunderbirds have announced on Tuesday that they have re-acquired forward Kelsey Ouellet from the MHL’s Truro Bearcats.

In exchange for Ouellet, the Bearcats will get the CJHL rights to defenceman Mason Chitaroni (Who now plays for Acadie-Bathurst Titan).

“We are thrilled to welcome Kelsey back to the T-Birds,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “Kelsey brings great energy to the rink everyday, which is infectious both on and off the ice.”

Ouellet, who is coming over from the Bearcats, spent one season with the Soo Thunderbirds back in 2021-2022, where he finished fourth in team scoring with 16 goals and 45 points in 48 regular season games.

The Kapuskasing, Ontario native also led all T-Bird players in penalty minutes that season with 68.

“Excitement would be the word I’m feeling right now to be coming back to where I first started my junior hockey career,” Ouellet said. “I always wanted to finish my junior hockey career in the city (Sault Ste. Marie) that I started!”

During the 2022 playoffs with the T-Birds, Ouellet then scored 5 times and set up 9 others in 15 postseason games, and helped the T-Birds win their fifth Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy in franchise history.

At the 2022 Centennial Cup Tournament, which was held in Estevan Saskatchewan, Ouellet then finished tied for first in team scoring with 1 goal and 1 assist.

“The memory of winning the Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy with the T-Birds is a memory that has never left me, and it’s a memory that stays with you forever,” Ouellet said. “That season when we won it (Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy) was one of the funnest years of hockey that I’ve ever had, and the T-Birds taught me so much that season. I also have no doubt that the T-Birds will teach me more here now in my final season with them.”

After spending one successful season with the Soo Thunderbirds, Ouellet then ended up being traded to the MHL’s Truro Bearcats back on September 5, 2022.

During the 2022-2023 season with the Bearcats, Ouellet scored 4 times and set up 5 others in 31 regular season games.

“My season playing for the Bearcats last year in Truro was a great experience, and I definitely got better as a hockey player,” Ouellet said. “Unfortunately I got injured halfway through the season and ended up missing two months of hockey, but the community of Truro was very welcoming to me and the fans were incredible, so I can’t thank the Bearcats organization enough for what they’ve done for me.”

Ouellet, who is a 2003-birth-year forward, stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 175 pounds.

With the addition of Ouellet, the T-Birds now have three 2003-birth-year players on their 2023-2024 roster.

The other two are Daniel Beaupre (Forward) and Kolby Fellinger (Defence).

“Kelsey is a player that we obviously know well and he was also a key member of our championship team from two seasons ago,” Henderson said.

“This year with the T-Birds I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, including the players, coaching staff and the amazing billet family I’ve had during my first year,” Ouellet added. “This year I also plan on bringing my developed skills and what I’ve learned while I was playing in Truro last season. And last but not least, I want to help this team win another championship!”

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