The Twin City Thunder are scouring the globe to fill out the roster for their inaugural season.
The Thunder this week signed defenseman Rease Hubert, who’s from Michigan, and forward Alexsi Petrow, who comes from Finland.
“I think both guys will be very good character guys, which is important to us,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “Rease is a real solid defender who has played in the competitive MPHL, so he’s used to playing a good level of competition. Alexsi, as well, he should be a player for us. He has a real good skill set, he can shoot the puck well and hopefully he will be a guy who will score some goals for us.”
The 18-year-old, 5-foot-10 defenseman from Rapid River, Michigan, spent this past season with Gilmour Academy in Lancaster, Ohio, where he had a goal and three assists in 18 Midwest Prep Hockey League games. The MPHL is made up of prep schools from the United States and Canada. Gilmour also played against some of the top midget programs in the Midwest (those stats weren’t available).
Hubert was recommended to Friedman by Gilmour’s head coach Mike Chiellino, who Friedman has known for a few years. Friedman was able to see Hubert play at the main camp of the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the United States Hockey League in late May. Friedman’s son and Thunder goaltender Jaxon Friedman also was participating in the camp.
With 150-plus players at the USHL camp, Friedman had on not only his dad hat, but also his scouting hat.
“Those camps are very high level, and it’s neat to see and gauge guys against guys who played for the USHL team in the (past year) or guys who are committed to colleges or whatever it may be,” Friedman said. It’s just a good gauge for us and it’s a good opportunity for us (to scout) for the following year because there are some younger players there to keep an eye on, and kind of add them to our quote-unquote list of prospects.”
Petrow, who signed last weekend, is also 18 and hails from Jyvaskyla, Finland. He spent the past season with Diskos U18, which plays in two Finnish Junior B leagues. In the Mestis Q, he had four goals and 11 assists in 23 games. In the Suomi-sarja, he had nine goals and nine assists in 11 games.
The Thunder brass haven’t seen Petrow play in person, but they have watched video on him after he was recommended to them.
Petrow is just like the rest of the Thunder team in that he’s looking to play college hockey in the United States.
“It’s the exposure to the colleges here in New England, which is important,” Friedman said. “He wants to get accustomed to the North American style of play and kind of continue to develop and get better. (He) wants to work on his English, which is pretty good anyway.”
Simmons named Bridgton Academy coach
Rod Simmons, who brought junior hockey back to Lewiston-Auburn three years ago when he moved his Fighting Spirit organization from Laconia, New Hampshire, to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, is back coaching in Maine. He is taking over the Bridgton Academy hockey program.
Simmons sold the Fighting Spirit organization to Firland Management, the owners of the Colisee, after the 2016-17 season. The organization was subsequently renamed the L/A Nordiques.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, and I could not be more excited to begin my experience with Bridgton Academy — on the ice, and in the community,” Simmons said in a news release. “I am committed to developing young men that are dedicated to excellence in academics as well as athletics, and I am ready to continue that commitment here in Bridgton.”
Bridgton Academy plays an independent schedule that consists of 50 games between midget, prep school and junior teams across North America.
The position became open when Michael Warde was hired as North Yarmouth Academy’s boys’ coach in May. The Panthers’ previous coach, Tyler Walsh — the son of former University of Maine coach Shawn Walsh — became an assistant coach for the Colby College men’s hockey team.