By Matt Stefano
Knock on wood Sault College Cougars hockey club.
You now have yourself forward Caleb Wood!
The Soo Thunderbirds have announced today that forward Caleb Wood has committed to the ACHA Division 2 Sault College Cougars hockey club for the upcoming season.
“It feels great,” said Thunderbirds graduate Caleb Wood. “I’m very excited to join the Cougars and Sault College is the best fit in my eyes.”
Wood, who just graduated this year from the NOJHL, played this past season with his hometown Soo Thunderbirds, where he finished second in team scoring with 10 goals and 23 points in 21 games.
“Even though this season was shortened games wise, I still spent the summer and seven months with an awesome group of guys, including the coaches. The scoring I felt was nice, but my teammates deserve the credit because they were awesome,” said Wood.
During the 2020-2021 season, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native also wore the “A” on his chest for the Thunderbirds road games.
“It felt good to be in that role, but our whole team all pulled out for each other and we all got along great,” said Wood.
Wood, who just completed his final NOJHL season with his hometown Thunderbirds, was also the recipient of this year’s Fordy Varcoe Memorial Trophy for the team’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
“It felt great to win that award,” said Wood. “It’s a good feeling to know that’s how I’m viewed by my team and I hope to continue to contribute with that attitude.”
Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, the twenty-one-year old forward played two seasons with the Soo Eagles over in Soo Michigan from 2018-2020, where he put up 71 points in 105 career regular season games.
“Soo Michigan was great and I loved my time there. The Eagles were a great organization and there’s nothing negative to say about playing for them,” said Wood.
In his rookie season with the Eagles back in 2018-2019, Wood finished tied for the team lead in goals with 19 and finished tied for fifth in team points with 36.
That season, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product also led all NOJHL rookies in power play goals with 8.
“That season was great,” said Wood. “Obviously the stats felt good and gave me confidence, but that whole season overall made me never want to stop playing junior hockey.”
In his second season with the Eagles in 2019-2020, the Sooite forward then finished second in team goals with 20 and finished fifth in team points with 35.
“The second season was equal to all the junior seasons I’ve played. It was a season with amazing people. It was very enjoyable and I wish it never ended,” said Wood.
Wood, who did not get a full-time NOJHL job until the year 2018, still had a chance to play four games as an affiliate player with the Soo Thunderbirds back in 2016-2017 season.
In his NOJHL debut with the Thunderbirds back on November 16, 2016, Wood was named first star of the game after scoring his first NOJHL goal and setting up two others in a 6-2 win over the Elliot Lake Wildcats at the Essar Centre (Now called the GFL Memorial Gardens).
“That night went by so fast, but that game really got me excited,” said Wood. “I still remember the insane pass that Gage Stephney gave me and the thrill I felt after tapping it in. Then after that game, I started to realize I was never going to quit the game of hockey as long as I can play.”
Wood, who then ended up playing across the bridge with the Soo Eagles from 2018-2020, was then acquired by the Thunderbirds in a trade from the Eagles back on September 6, 2020.
“I was pumped and I was glad to comeback to my hometown team,” said Wood. “Also, finishing my junior career with a great organization like the Thunderbirds was the cherry on top.”
Wood, who will be playing hockey this fall at Sault College (hopefully when COVID clears up), will also be taking the Business program while attending school there.
“I chose to take business because it really interested me. It was also one of the classes I took back in highschool and I loved it,” said Wood.
Starting this fall, Wood will also be reunited at Sault College with his former Soo Thunderbirds teammate Parker Morgan, who also signed with the Cougars hockey club back on April 28.
“It’s awesome to know that Parker will be there. Parker has been a close amazing friend to me for years now and has my back, which is exactly what I would do for him. He’s a classy guy that honestly everyone should look up to. He’s a perfect example of a great down to earth person that I have much respect for and he comes from an amazing family,” said Wood.
Morgan, like Wood, also wore the “A” on his chest for the Thunderbirds road games during the 2020-2021 season.
“I’m extremely thrilled to be on the same team as him again. We’re very close friends off the ice as well,” said Wood.
(Photo of Caleb Wood credit to Bob Davies)