As the calendar turns to August, the Soo Thunderbirds are a month away from opening the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League regular season.
As the summer winds down, the Thunderbirds roster is taking shape.
The team has inked four players this summer in addition to a number of returning players.
Among the newcomers is forward Brock Santa Maria, who spent last winter with the Soo Thunderbirds major midget team but also played in nine games with the NOJHL Thunderbirds.
In those nine games, the 16-yar-old had two goals and five points and also suited in nine playoff games with the team.
In midget, Santa Maria had 18 goals and 28 points in 36 games.
The team has also signed a pair of other forwards, including Stephen Pszeniczny who spent last season with the Thunderbirds minor midget team.
In minor midget, the 15-year-old Pszeniczny had 10 goals and 22 points in 24 games and also had an assist in the lone game he played with the major midget club.
The other signed forward is 16-year-old Cooper Smyl, who spent last winter playing AAA midget with the Soo (Mich.) Indians where he had four goals and 15 points in 42 games.
Smyl and Santa Maria were teammates in minor midget.
The NOJHL club has also inked 17-year-old Echo Bay product Chase MacIntyre.
MacIntyre spent last season with the Greater Toronto League’s Mississauga Senators midget team and also got into seven games with the Ontario Junior League’s Georgetown Raiders.
MacIntyre had a goal and three points in seven games with the Raiders.
Among the returnees confirmed are forwards Nick Smith, Camden Findlay, Avery Rebek, and Nolan Ford, defenceman Tristan Cicchello, and goaltender Colin Ahern.
Smith finished second on the team in goals last season with 27 and had 54 points in 45 games.
Ford had nine goals and 28 points in 51 games while Rebek had 11 goals and 22 points in 46 games.
Findlay had four goals and 14 points in 49 games.
Cicchello had four goals and 27 points in 47 games.
Ahern posted a record of 24-6-0-0, a 2.55 goals against average and 0.915 save percentage in 30 games.
Earlier this summer the Thunderbirds traded Tyler Malpass to Fort Frances of the Superior League in exchange for a player development fee.
Defenceman Kobe Seguin was invited to Team Canada West World Jr. A Challenge selection camp, scheduled to begin Monday in Cornwall.
Former Soo Greyhounds Phil Caron, who is set to play with the NOJHL’s Timmins Rock this season, has also been invited to the camp.
The Thunderbirds open the regular season on Sept. 7 at home against the Soo (Mich.) Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre.