SIJHL preseason preview: Thunder Bay North Stars



Release Date: Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016

SIJHL preseason preview: Thunder Bay North Stars

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Boasting a veteran line-up combined with a solid coaching staff, the Thunder Bay North North Stars look towards a promising season in the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

After winning five Bill Salonen Cups in the first nine years in the SIJHL and a couple of other finals appearances added in during that span as well, the North Stars have to look back to the 2009-10 campaign when they last captured a league title.

Under the guidance of former SIJHL coach of the year Jeremy Adduono, he is aiming to guide his squad back to the glory days when SIJHL championships were the norm in the Lakehead.

The fourth SIJHL preseason preview features the Thunder Bay North Stars.


Head Coach: Jeremy Adduono (4th season)
GM: Kris Kellaway

Last season’s record: 28-24-1-3 (3rd overall)

SIJHL: What can your fans expect to see from your club this season?

JEREMY ADDUONO: Our fans can expect to see a more mature and battle-tested group. We have plenty of experience in our line-up and lots of guys on our roster that have played in big games. Our fans can expect to see a team that is disciplined and resilient; a team that competes hard and finds ways to win hockey games.

SIJHL: Who are some of the players you expect to lead your team this season?

JA: This is the oldest team we’ve ever had; we have a great group of ’96-born players such as Nick Nigro, Jesse Talakoski, Brad Araba, Ryan Walsh, Nathaniel Dupuis,, and Brett Wolframe, that have not only played together on our roster over the past couple of years, but have played together throughout their careers with the Thunder Bay Kings. These guys along with likes of Joe Newhouse form and exceptional leadership group for us and should set the tone for the team identity that we want here in Thunder Bay.

SIJHL: Who are a couple of returning players you expect big things from?

JA: Of course Nick Nigro, who has scored over 70 goals in the past two seasons including playoffs. We expect him to continue his offensive production and enhance our power play. We’re hoping that Kris Hamlin can also take another step forward in both leadership and offensive production. He was over a point-a-game player last season. Brad Arabia had over 20 goals, and we expect him to be even better this year. Bradley Thrower and Brendan Gillis should also provide even more offense. And last but not least, Joe Newhouse who is one of the premiere defenceman in the league. He should anchor our D-core, provide offense from the back-end, and provide a calming type of leadership to our group.

SIJHL: Who are some of the newcomers you’ve signed that you’ve been impressed with?

JA: We were excited to acquire forward Tyler Minoletti from the Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL. They had a great season last year, and we expect Tyler to bring his grit, experience, and winning attitude to our dressing room. We’re also very excited to get D Ryan Walsh (Elmira Sugar Kings) and forward Brett Wolframe (Jr. B Stars) back into our fold. Both guys were huge players for us two years ago, and both guys are both more mature and stronger than ever. Ryan is dynamic from the back-end, adds another layer to our rush, and we expect him to make our power play better. Without question, Brett is a heart and soul guy. He leads by example and can do it all. He can play any forward position, is effective on both sides of special teams, and he’s as gritty as they come. Also excited to see young forward Jett Leishman (Thunder Bay minor midget Kings) start his first year. He has good size and a heavy shot. If he can handle playing with the older guys, he could surprise some people.

SIJHL: What do you expect from all your players heading into the 2016-17 campaign?

JA: We expect all our players to approach the season as both an opportunity and a challenge. We have fallen short of our ultimate goal in the past few seasons and expect that our players, especially our veterans, embrace the ongoing commitment it takes to be there in the end. We also expect our guys to act as professionals both on and off the ice. They’re expected to appreciate the chance to play junior A hockey and be role models through their on ice play and behavior in the community.

SIJHL: What is one feature you feel your club will provide this season?

JA: Our hope is that our team will provide a tough challenge for all of our opponents. We expect the league to be very competitive and we certainly expect our group to raise the level of play in the SIJHL.

SIJHL: What goals and expectations do you have heading into the start of the regular season and beyond?

JA: Our goal as a team is to be better every day. One thing we’ve learned is that if we’re not improving, we’re falling behind. More specifically, we want to finish as high as we can in the standings, but our ultimate goal, like the other five teams is to win the League title. Our biggest expectation for our group is that we are resilient no matter what happens during the year. It’s a long and unpredictable season and we expect to keep our focus and effort towards achieving what we set out to do.

SIJHL: Do have any other thoughts or comments to wrap things up?

JA: The league as a whole has been improving every year. We expect things to be even better this year and as competitive as ever. Like every other team in the league, we feel it’s our responsibility to improve the reputation of this league and strive to increase the level of play.

The North Stars open their season Saturday at Minnesota at 7 p.m. in Hoyt Lakes while their home opener is against the same Iron Rangers Sept. 28 at the Fort William Gardens. Game time there is 7:30 p.m.