By Matt Stefano
After going a whole season without OHL hockey due to COVID, the OHL is now getting set to prepare for their 2021-2022 season.
And with OHL Training Camps set to begin, there will be a total of three players from the Soo Thunderbirds who will be attending OHL Training Camps this year, including Kaden Dundas (Soo Greyhounds), Andrew Gibson (Soo Greyhounds) and Tyson Doucette (Peterborough Petes).
“We are excited for all three of our players that will be attending OHL Training Camps this year,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach and co-owner Cole Jarrett. “For all three of them, it’s an exciting opportunity to make an impression and earn a spot or see where they stack up at that level. It will be a valuable experience either way.”
BIRDS IN THE DOG HOUSE
This year’s Soo Greyhounds Training Camp will feature a pair of Soo Thunderbird blueliners that will hit the ice at the GFL Memorial Gardens, including Kaden Dundas and Andrew Gibson.
Dundas, who is attending Soo Greyhounds Training Camp as a free agent, recorded 5 assists in 16 games played during his rookie season with the Soo Thunderbirds in 2020-2021.
“It’s an honour to be invited to the camp of a team I’ve been cheering on since I was a young kid,” Dundas said.
Dundas, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, is also a 2003-birth-year defenceman.
“I plan to go to camp willing to work hard and open eyes, and I’m looking forward to learning from very talented players and a great coaching staff,” Dundas said.
Gibson, who is the other blueliner attending Soo Greyhounds Training Camp, was drafted by the Hounds in the 4th round (67th overall) in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection, after spending last season with the Windsor Zone Jr. Spitfires Under-16 hockey club.
“I plan on showing the Greyhounds coaching staff that I’m ready to play at the next level,” Gibson said. “I also plan on showing the physical side of my game which I haven’t been able to use last season.”
After being drafted by the Hounds back in June, the 16-year-old defenceman from La Salle, Ontario then ended up signing with the Soo Thunderbirds back on July 14.
“I have been playing against older and faster guys, so I feel confident with the faster speed of the game and I feel confident in myself that I will play to the best of my ability,” Gibson said.
At this year’s camp, Dundas and Gibson will also be on the ice with a trio of former Soo Thunderbirds who now play for the Soo Greyhounds, including Robert Calisti, Tyler Savard and Connor Toms.
The Hounds will officially kick off their 2021 Training Camp on Monday, August 30 with a Team Red vs Team White scrimmage beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Both Dundas and Gibson will also be participating this year with Team Red.
DOUCETTE IS DUE SOUTH
After putting up 5 goals and 11 points in 20 games during his rookie season with the Thunderbirds in 2020-2021, seventeen-year-old forward Tyson Doucette has caught the eye of one Ontario Hockey League team down south.
Doucette, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, has been invited to attend Peterborough Petes Training Camp as a free agent.
“I’m excited about this opportunity given to me with such a successful history filled team,” Doucette said.
Doucette, who had 5 goals last season with his hometown Soo Thunderbirds, scored more goals than he had during his season with the Great North Under-18 Hockey League’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds in 2019-2020.
During that season with the Under-18 Hounds, Doucette found the back of the net twice in 24 regular season contests.
“I thought my rookie season with the Thunderbirds went great with the help of coach Denny Lambert and associate coach Jeremy Stevenson, who both gave me opportunities to improve myself and build my development,” Doucette said.
At the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, Doucette was also the recipient of the Michael Doan Memorial Award as the Thunderbirds Most Improved Player.
“It’s funny a feeling, because it’s one of those awards that you don’t look forward to receiving as a player,” Doucette said. “As a player you think, was I that bad before?”
“Looking back at the OHL Draft and not being selected, I can reflect on the amount of work I put into practice and training,” Doucette added. “I can now see the difference in the player I was at beginning of last season until the end of last season, and even today going into Petes Training Camp.”
Peterborough Petes 2021 Training Camp (Presented by Pat McAuley Group Of Realtors) will kick off on Tuesday, August 31.
“I plan on showing my speed on the ice and I want to show how hard of a player I am to play against and to not give up,” Doucette said.