By Matt Stefano
From Tunisia, to Quebec, and eventually to the Bird nest!
The Soo Thunderbirds have announced today that they have signed Tunisian-born Canadian forward Youssef Chaouachi for the 2021-2022 season.
Chaouachi, who is a 2002-birth-year forward, stands 6’2 and weighs 190 pounds.
“I’m super excited to be joining the Thunderbirds,” Chaouachi said. “The Thunderbirds are one of the premiere teams in the NOJHL and I’m happy to have an opportunity to be in the Soo and to live a new experience.”
The 19-year-old forward spent the 2019-2020 season with the Kents Hill School Huskies in Kents Hill, Maine, USA, where he had 3 goals and 2 assists in 29 regular season games.
“I was on campus for both 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 at Kents Hill and it was two of the best years of my life,” Chaouachi said. “I’ve met people that I never thought you can meet and they still hold a special place in my heart. Our team played an extremely competitive schedule where we faced teams that had multiple division 1 and division 3 commitments, so it was a blast competing against everyone.”
Chaouachi, who was originally born in Salambo Tunisia, ended up moving to Montreal, Quebec when he was only 8 years old.
Since his move to Canada, the 19-year-old has been playing hockey ever since.
“I’ve been living in Canada for 12 years as of June 5, 2021, and I’ve been playing hockey since I was 8 years old,” Chaouachi said.
“Coming to the Thunderbirds, I want to bring my positive attitude and hard work on and off the ice,” Chaouachi added. “I want to lead by example and always try to do the right thing. I’m also hoping to help the community of Sault Ste. Marie because I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things.”
Chaouachi becomes the first player to sign with the Thunderbirds following their 2021 training camp.
“Youssef is a player we expect to come in and bring a great work ethic and attitude everyday to the rink,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “He’s a big guy who plays physical, so we’re happy to have him.”