Double duty for Smith

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Photo by Jim Egan

The Soo Thunderbirds hockey club has announced on Wednesday that head coach Jordan Smith will also serve as the club’s general manager for the 2016-2017 season.

Since coming over to the T-Birds in 2013-2014, hired as head coach under former general manager Kevin Cain, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League franchise has won three consecutive James Aspin Trophies, as the league’s regular season champions, back to back Copeland Cup McNamara Trophies in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, and one Dudley Hewitt Cup title in 2014-2015.

“I am both very excited and humbled by the opportunity Denny and The Tech have given me to lead this organization in an expanded role,” said Smith. “It is without question that the Soo Thunderbirds organization will continue to operate as a premier Jr. A program with emphasis on development and education.”

During his first season behind the bench in 2013-2014, Smith guided the club to finishing first in the Canadian Junior Hockey League, along with setting new Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League single season records for most wins (48) and most points (99).

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native was also the recipient of the Mirl “Red” McCarthy” Memorial Award back to back seasons in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, as the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s coach of the year.

At the 2014 Central Canada Cup Challenge, which was held in Etobicoke, Ontario, Smith served as head coach for Team NOJHL.

“We will continue our pursuit of excellence through hard work, discipline and accountability, while maintaining our strong reputation as students, athletes and leaders in our community,” said the T-Birds head coach and new general manager. “I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead and working closely with Denny to learn and contribute to the ongoing success of our players and team.”

The 30 year old, who now will serve as head coach and general manager, takes over for Jamie Henderson, who stepped down after serving one season as general manager in 2015-2016.

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Matt Stefano
Matt had graduated from Sault College in the General Arts and Sciences program in 2011 and has been working in the sports field ever since. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has worked as an Athletics Assistant in the Sault College Athletics Department during his final year of school in 2011. After graduating, Stefano worked for two years at the George Leach Centre from 2011-2013 for the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Games as an Athletics Assistant. From 2013 on, Stefano has been working as the Soo Thunderbirds communications person and has also been volunteering with Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie since 2014, doing Soo Thunderbirds TV Segments.