Eagles look to fill skates of Marble, Van Wormer
First-place finishers in the North Division of the North American Hockey League in 2012-2013, the Soo Eagles, received major contributions from a pair of Michigan products in goalie Tyler Marble and center Jared Van Wormer.
Marble, who hails from Howell, ended up winning the NAHL’s goalie-of-the-year award while Van Wormer - a Traverse City native - was named league MVP in addition to bringing home the scoring title.
Both have moved on and up from the Eagles and the NAHL to NCAA Division I ranks. Marble to Colorado College and Van Wormer to Ferris State.
With star pupil Marble having left the Eagle nest, goalie coach Bill Vanderleest has turned his attention to the Soo’s 2013-2014 netminding tandem of Paige Skoog and Colin Brennan.
“They have different styles but they are both hard workers and good listeners,” Vanderleest said of Skoog and Brennan.
Interestingly, both Skoog and Brennan came to the Eagles from other NAHL teams.
Skoog is formerly of the Aberdeen Wings, while Brennan spent the 2012-2013 season with the Johnstown Tomahawks.
While Skoog and Brennan both aim to replace Marble, who takes over from Van Wormer as the Eagles go-to-guy?
One possibility is third-year NAHL forward Ryan Urso, a Livonia native who was signed by the Eagles as a free agent from the dormant Jamestown Ironmen.
Used mainly as a shutdown forward by Jamestown, Urso has been seeing first-line duty with the Eagles in the early going of the 2013-2014 season.
Eagles’ coach Bruno Bragagnolo thinks that Urso can double his 25-point totals from 2012-2013 in 2013-2014.
“He’s a good skater, has a good shot and has plenty of skill,” Bragagnolo said of Urso.
Bragagnolo added that Urso also has leadership qualities similar to those of Van Wormer.
“I told Ryan that he reminded me a lot of Jared,” Bragagnolo said.
Urso, from his end, said that it is flattering to be compared to Van Wormer.
“Jared is a great player and for coach to tell me that I remind him of Jared is a huge compliment,” said Urso.