Soo Eagles

The Soo Eagles are an American junior ice hockey team from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan that plays in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). In 2012, the Eagles bought the North American Hockey League franchise rights of the Traverse City North Stars and transferred to the NAHL. In 2015, the Eagles sold their franchise rights and rejoined the NOJHL.

Soo Eagles
CitySault Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States
LeagueNorthern Ontario Junior Hockey League
DivisionNorth
Founded1962 (In the NOJHA)
Home arenaPullar Stadium
ColorsBlack, Yellow, and White
              
General managerBruno Bragagnolo
Head coachDoug Laprade (2018)
Franchise history
NOJHL franchise
1962–2003Espanola Eagles
2003–2006Northern Michigan Black Bears
2006–2007Soo Indians
2008–2012
2015–present
Soo Eagles
NAHL franchise
2005–2012Traverse City North Stars
2012–2015Soo Eagles
2015–presentNew Jersey Junior Titans
Championships
Playoff championships2: 2007, 2011

History

Espanola Eagles era(s)

The Eagles existed four different times. From 1962 until 1971, Espanola played in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association and stayed until a year before it folded due to lack of enough competition. They joined the local NOHA Jr. B league (which would become the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in 1979). Espanola, a very small Northern town, always struggled to keep the team viable and competitive and the franchise went on hiatus after the 1988–89 season. They came back from 1991 but went on hiatus again from 1995–1998. They were never an overly successful team, but they did win the 1963 McNamara Trophy as league champions. In their last season (2002–03), they won only five games the whole season. Their last win was against the Sudbury Northern Wolves. At the end of that season, the Screaming Eagles were bought and were relocated to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Most players did not follow, and moved on to other teams.

Black Bears era

As the Northern Michigan Black Bears, the franchise celebrated some of its most successful hockey in years. After three winning seasons and a trip to the league finals in 2004–05, the ownership group decided to sell the financially unstable team.

Indians era

In late summer of 2006, New York land developer Charles Perdicaro bought and renamed the Black Bears the Soo Indians. Perdicaro hired Jim Capy to coach the Indians. The Indians are made up of players from all over the United States, including players from Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Illinois. Over the 2006 Christmas break, Perdicaro fired Capy and his staff due to "philosophical differences" and hired Kevin Cain to take over.

The Soo Indians went on to win the NOJHL's McNamara Trophy as 2007 playoff champions but were not successful at the Dudley Hewitt Cup.

In the spring of 2007, Perdicaro put the Indians up for sale. Perdicaro failed to find a buyer and were not able to ice a team for the 2007–08 season.

Eagles era

The Indians were sold in early 2008, and changed their name to the Soo Eagles. They began play in 2008–09.

Capping the 2010–11 season, the Soo Eagles finished with a 37-10-3 record, 2nd in the West Division behind the Soo Thunderbirds; 2nd overall in the NOJHL. Brian Depp, a native of Fenton, Michigan, led the Eagles in scoring with 73 points, tied for 3rd in the NOJHL.

The Eagles began the 2010–11 playoffs with a match-up against the Blind River Beavers. The Eagles disposed of the Beavers in five games, gliding to the West Division Final against their rivals, the Soo Thunderbirds. The Eagles upset the regular season champion Thunderbirds winning in six games in a hard fought series.

The Eagles faced off in a best-of-seven playoff series against the Sudbury Jr. Wolves for the 2010–11 NOJHL title. They won the title in six games. This win put them into the Dudley Hewitt Cup Championship, finishing third.

On March 2, 2012, the Soo Eagles announced that they were leaving the NOJHL for the Tier II junior North American Hockey League. The Eagles bought the franchise rights of the Traverse City North Stars to make the move possible.

On March 24, 2012, the Eagles played their final NOJHL game, a 4-2 loss to the Soo Thunderbirds in front of a hometown crowd in Pullar Stadium. The loss completed a 4-game sweep of the Eagles in their semifinal series with the Thunderbirds.

Following the 2014–15 season the Michigan Warriors were displaced by the Flint Firebirds of the higher class OHL. With the loss of Flint and previous departures of teams from Port Huron, Detroit (twice), Kalamazoo, Alpena, Traverse City and Marquette, the Soo Eagles became isolated and it was determined to be financially impossible to continue in the NAHL. With the NAHL adding more teams to the East, the Eagles ownership took the opportunity to sell their NAHL franchise to Middletown Township, New Jersey and join with the existing New Jersey Junior Titans organization (which had formerly fielded Tier III teams) and the Soo Eagles team was granted re-admission to the NOJHL.

Season-by-season results

SeasonGPWLT/OTLPTSGFGAPIMResultPlayoffs
Espanola Eagles (NOJHL)
1978–7940535010N/AN/AN/A6thDid not qualify
1979–8040432210203383N/A6thNo playoffs
1980–81401520535222282N/A4thNo playoffs
1981–82421427129207251N/A7thDid not qualify
1982–83422119244234250N/A4thDid not qualify
1983–8440432412211430N/A6thDid not qualify
1984–8540828420221377N/A6thDid not qualify
1985–8641833016211446N/A7thDid not qualify
1986–8737431210169316N/A4thDid not qualify
1987–8839631214172315N/A5thDid not qualify
1988–89402510555274202N/A3rdDid not qualify
1989–91Did Not Participate
1991–92481037111177371N/A6thDid not qualify
1992–93481137022163345N/A6thDid not qualify
1993–94402316147272206N/A2ndLost in Semifinals
1994–9548639315173389N/A7thDid not qualify
1995–98Did not participate
1998–9940830218150281N/A6thDid not qualify
Espanola Screaming Eagles (NOJHL)
1999–0040434210128329N/A5thDid not qualify
2000–014082931999200N/A6thDid not qualify
2001–02421327228168294N/A6thDid not qualify
2002–0348543010140404N/A7thDid not qualify
Northern Michigan Black Bears (NOJHL)
2003–044825176561991708572nd, WestLost in Semifinals
2004–054828137631741268241st, WestLost in Final
2005–064827156601801428722nd, WestLost in Semifinal
Soo Indians (NOJHL)
2006–074831152641931451,0711st, WestChampions
2007–08Did not participate
Soo Eagles (NOJHL)
2008–095026213552572099322nd, WestLost in Semifinal
2009–105027185592242138943rd, WestLost in Semifinal
2010–115037103772561598462nd, WestChampions
2011–125035114742901717292nd, WestLost in Semifinal
Soo Eagles (NAHL)
2012–136041145872031529921st, NorthWon Div. Semifinal, 3–0 vs. Port Huron Fighting Falcons
Lost Div. Finals, 0–3 vs. Jamestown Ironmen
2013–146025278581491879706th of 6, North
18th of 24, NAHL
Did not qualify
2014–156031254661821851248 3rd of 6, North
18th of 24, NAHL
Won First Round Series, 3–0 vs. Keystone Ice Miners
Lost Quarterfinals, 1–3 vs. Janesville Jets
Soo Eagles (NOJHL)
2015–16542230246182197725 4th of 6, West
8th of 12, NOJHL
Won Div. Play-in Series, 2–0 vs. Espanola Express
Lost Div. Semifinals, 0–4 vs. Soo Thunderbirds
2016–175627263572222047704th of 6, West
8th of 12, NOJHL
Won Div. Play-in Series, 2–1 vs. Elliot Lake Wildcats
Won Div. Semifinals, 4–0 vs. Soo Thunderbirds
Lost Div. Finals, 1–4 vs. Blind River Beavers
2017–185635201712221475663rd of 6, West
5th of 12, NOJHL
Lost Div. Semifinals, 3–4 vs. Soo Thunderbirds
2018–195628244602081858043rd of 6, West
8th of 12, NOJHL
Lost Div. Semifinals, 2–4 vs. Rayside-Balfour Canadians
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