AUBURN — This week, Zion Green gets his first taste of junior hockey at the Maine Nordiques’ main camp.

The 16-year-old from Birmingham, Michigan was an eighth-round draft pick of the Nordiques in last month’s North American Hockey League entry draft, but he’s not going this week alone, with his older brother Cannon Green also attending camp.

Zion Green skates up the ice during Wednesday’s game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Cannon is the Nordiques’ returning leading scorer from last season, when the 20-year-old had 23 goals and 29 assists in 54 games.

With the four-year age gap, this could be the first time the two would be on the same junior team. And this is Cannon’s final season of junior hockey, so it could be the only time.

“We skate together a bunch back at home together, but this is the first time we have a real chance to play in a junior game or something like that,” Cannon said. “It would be a cool experience, but obviously he has a lot of learning and growing to do.”

This summer, the two played in the Made in Michigan Elite League, a summer league geared toward players born in Michigan who play midget hockey all the way up to the NHL. They were on the same team and played on the same line.

Cannon’s work ethic helped Zion get ready for this week.

Maine Nordiques’ Cannon Green slams a Maryland Black Bears player up against the boards during an NAHL hockey game in Lewiston in Dec. 2019. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“He’s the hardest worker I know probably,” Zion said. “He’s always pushing me the hardest in the gym and the ice. It’s really good to have him here. He’s a role model on the ice, so it’s definitely big.”

No matter what happens this week for Zion, he will be in Lewiston this season as part of the Maine Nordiques Prep Academy U16 team. He’s coming off a solid 15U season, as he put up 16 goals and 13 assists in 31 High Performance Hockey League games, splitting time with three different organizations last season in the Oakland (Michigan) Grizzlies, Little Caesars out of Detroit and the Compuware program out of Plymouth, Michigan.

He also was tied for the most points at the USA Hockey’s National Select 15s last summer, putting up five goals and three assists.

Zion understands he may not make the junior team for the start of the regular season, but is looking to get the feel for the organization.

“I am playing with the (U16s) for most of the season. I am looking forward to meeting everyone around here, meet the coaches and stuff,” Zion said. “My brother has told me told me some good thing about the whole (organization).”

Nordiques coach Nolan Howe believes Cannon is enjoying the role of showing his brother the way things are done.

Cannon Green of the Maine Nordiques is tripped up while trying to slide the puck past Johnstown goalkeeper Alex Tracy at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston in November 2019. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“For a player like Cannon, having his younger brother here, having it be a family thing, showing him the ropes, I think he takes a lot of pride in that,” Howe said.

The biggest adjustment for Zion making the jump from midget hockey to junior hockey is off the ice, according to his older brother.

“He definitely has the talent and the skill, he just needs to learn how it is on the road games and how (to play at home),” Cannon said. “He just has to put it together, he’s a good young player.”

For Cannon, as an experienced player returning for his second season with the Nordiques, he’s looking to make an impression to the coaching staff like they have never seen him before, and that’s to play hard throughout camp.

The coaching staff wants to see a veteran like Cannon make that leap.

“With all of our returning players, it’s fun to see their growth,” Howe said. “…The growth we see year one to year two to year three, they just grow up. They have a better understanding of what it takes. I loved the leadership I have seen from him.”


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