Seasoned coach Patrick Carricato is headed back of the bench after a three-year hiatus.
JuniorHockey.com. "I enjoyed the break. But I missed the game at the same time."
In addition to competing in tournaments on both sides of the International Bridge, the Indians will play home-and-home series with top major midget teams in the Michigan area. And as members of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, the Indians can still qualify for the state championships.
Carricato said a call from Indians owner-general manager Mike Kaunisto sparked his return to coaching after his three-year, self-imposed exile.
"This feels like a good fit and it feels like the right time for me to get back into coaching," said Carricato. "We have our tryout camp set for June 8th and 9th (at Lake Superior State University's Taffy Abel Arena) and those of us who are a part of the Soo Indians are pretty excited about that."
Besides Kaunisto as GM and Carricato as bench boss, the Indians coaching staff includes assistants Rick Corbiere and Jerry Harwood, both of whom have many years of coaching experience in the game.
"I'm looking forward to working with Mike, Rick, Jerry and our trainer, Marty Pacaro," noted Carricato. "I'm pretty excited and I can't wait to get back on the ice. I guess you know that coaching is in my blood."
Abbie Carricato, the soon-to-be, 75-year old former coach of the Ontario Hockey League Soo Greyhounds, as well as the erstwhile Soo Thunderbirds of the International Jr. Hockey League and the Bay View Athletics, Algoma Contractors and Soo Legion midgets.
Meanwhile, as a bonus in their return as an active team, the Indians have formed a de facto affiliation with the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League.
"We're looking forward to working closely with (Eagles coach-general manager) Bruno (Bragagnolo) and his staff," added Carricato.
As for the Indians upcoming, June 8-9 tryout camp, it is open to midget-aged players on both sides of the International Bridge.
Jordan Smith is returning to his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie to take over as head coach of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League's Soo Thunderbirds.
The 27-year old Smith becomes the Thunderbirds fourth head coach since 2011.
Preston Mizzi guided the Thunderbirds to the 2011-2012 NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup, Central Canada championships before being suspended by Hockey Canada for alleged off-ice conduct related to alleged drinking on the team bus.
Warren Lavoy then took over as head coach to begin the 2012-2013 season but was fired midway through it and replaced by general manager Kevin Cain.
Cain said at the end of the 2012-2013 campaign that he would not remain on as coach of the Thunderbirds for the 2013-2014 season.
Enter Smith, who played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 2001 until 2005 as a hard-hitting defenceman with the Soo Greyhounds after playing a handful of games in the NOJHL for the Thunderbirds.
The eye injury marked the end of Smith's pro career but the courageous kid went on to be a star defenceman over five seasons of Ontario Universities Athletics hockey at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
Cain, the man who orchestrated the hiring of Smith, is ecstatic to have his new coach on board.
Sault Ste. Marie," said Cain.
Toots Kovacs, no stranger to Soo coaching circles, called the Thunderbirds hiring of Smith "an excellent choice.
Smith called his hiring by the Thunderbirds "an honour" and said he is looking forward to "the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success that the Thunderbirds have had over the years."
LONG TRAIN RUNNING
1996 birth year goalie Ryan Running, who spent the 2012-2013 season as the third-stringer with the Flint Jr. Generals of the North American 3 Hockey League, is heading north of the border for a tryout.
The 6-foot-2, 180 pound Running has been invited to the July 6-7 tryout camp of the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
"We had one of our contacts highly recommend Ryan to us," said Blind River assistant coach David McCaig. "We contacted him and he is anxious for this opportunity. Every player who comes to our tryout camps will get a fair opportunity."
Running will also attend several North American Hockey League tryout camps, including ones hosted by the Soo Eagles and Corpus Christi Ice Rays.
Time is on young Running's side as he preps for the junior tryout camps that he is planning on attending.
As a 1996 birth year, Running still has eligibility remaining at the midget level.
The Blind River camp that Running is slated to attend is one of two that the NOJHL Beavers will be hosting this summer.
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