Sports briefs: Four Wolves make main camps, Smith joins Canadians as advisor

Sudbury Star

David Levin, right, of the Sudbury Wolves, attempts to skate around Jacob Paquette, of the Kingston Frontenacs, during OHL action at the Sudbury Community Arena in Sudbury, Ont. on Saturday October 21, 2017. John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network

Four Sudbury Wolves players have advanced to main NHL training camps this week after strong performances in rookie tournaments.

Wolves forward Blake Murray, the Carolina Hurricanes’ sixth-round choice in the NHL Entry Draft this past June, will attend main camp with that club. Forwards David Levin and Owen Robinson will head to camp with the Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings, respectively, as free-agent invites.

Kalle Loponen, a seventh-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in this year’s NHL draft, will also move on to main camp. The Finnish defenceman, whom Sudbury selected in the second round of the CHL Import Draft this year, recently opted to continue his hockey career with the Wolves, rather than play back home.

Three other players on Sudbury’s current roster attended rookie camps this past weekend. They included forward Nolan Hutcheson with Carolina, defenceman Liam Ross with Pittsburgh and Macauley Carson with New York, all of whom were to return to the Nickel City this week, and should be available for an exhibition game in Timmins on Friday.

Smith joins Rayside as senior adviser

Longtime Sudbury Wolves executive Blaine Smith, who served as both president and general manager during 31 years with the OHL club, has joined the Rayside-Balfour Canadians of the NOJHL as a senior adviser.

Blaine Smith

“I am grateful for this opportunity to assist a young Canadians management team and support them any way that I can,” Smith said in a press release. “(General manager) Jeff Forsyth is an outstanding hockey man from Sudbury and he has assembled a skilled young team. Most of the players are from the Greater Sudbury area and the local talent will be a lot of fun to watch this season.”

Canadians owner Mark Burgess, whose family owned the OHL’s Wolves for many years, was pleased to reunite with a former longtime employee.

“Blaine served the Sudbury Wolves organization extremely well for over 30 years in all divisions of the hockey club and we are pleased to have him rejoin our hockey family.”

Burgess said. “Blaine cares about the players’ well-being and their development both on and off the ice. He was one of the most knowledgeable and well-respected hockey minds in the OHL, and I know that our fan interest will increase under his leadership.”

Smith, who was recently released by the Wolves organization, expressed his gratitude to the team’s fans, staff, billets and volunteers, as well as the businesses he worked with other the years.

“I sincerely look forward to seeing everyone at the Chelmsford arena this season and thanking them personally for their support,” Smith added.

Look for more on Smith’s new position, as well as his time with the Wolves, in The Sudbury Star next week.

Rayside will host the French River Rapids at Chelmsford Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door for $12 per adult, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Children 7 and under are admitted free of charge.

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