By Matt Stefano
Justin Mauro is coming home to join the Bird nest!
The Soo Thunderbirds have announced on Thursday that they have acquired forward and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Justin Mauro from the CCHL’s Navan Grads in exchange for a player development fee.
Mauro, who is a 2002-birth-year forward, played in 8 games this season with the Navan Grads, where he had 1 goal and 2 penalty minutes.
At the start of this season, Mauro also suited up for 14 games with the OJHL’s Markham Royals, where he tallied 2 goals and 4 assists.
“It will be fun to play in front of my family and friends now that I’m in my final year of junior hockey,” Mauro said.
Mauro, who is the newest member of the Soo Thunderbirds, is no stranger to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, as he also played three seasons with the Blind River Beavers from 2018-2021.
During his time with the Beavers, Mauro tallied 27 goals and 87 points in 104 games played.
“I remember Blind River versus the Soo was always a competitive and exciting game for me to be in,” Mauro said. “I’m looking forward to being apart of that matchup again.”
With the addition of Mauro, the Thunderbirds now have a total of six 2002-birth-year players on their team, along with Youssef Chaouachi, Wyatt Marlow, Dharan Cap, Michael Chaffay and Brock Santa Maria.
Mauro, who is a 2018 15th round pick of the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, is also the older brother of former Blind River Beaver and current Sudbury Wolves forward Devin Mauro.
“It’s always great to have a player return home and we are excited to add Justin to our lineup,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “Justin has enjoyed a tremendous junior career thus far and will certainly add a lot of skill and speed to our lineup.”
The 5-foot-7, 155-pound forward is expected to be in the Thunderbirds lineup for tomorrow night’s game in Elliot Lake.