By Matt Tidcombe/CHL
Josh Bloom is more than content with how his career in Saginaw went.
To be fair, he experienced just about all he could.
“I started as a 16-year-old rookie on a championship calibre team, missed the Covid year, then came back as a drafted player to the team and was named an assistant captain,” Bloom said. “I got to learn from our captain in Camaryn Baber [and that] helped me develop as a leader off the ice and how to run a room.
“Then this year stepping into the role of captain, growing as a leader and person, I think it summed up my time in Saginaw really well and allowed me to experience everything junior hockey has to offer. It was a true honour.”
Bloom was traded to North Bay Nov. 17 alongside Brayden Hislop. Despite his admiration for Saginaw, the trade elated him.
“Excitement is the main word I would use to describe the trade,” he said. “North Bay plays a really fast game, and so do I, so the match is perfect. I’m really excited to continue to move forward with this group.”
The Buffalo Sabres prospect has suited up six times with the Battalion where he’s scored once, in his debut no less, and added six assists.
An NHL prospect himself, Bloom joins a squad that features many NHL draftees such as Liam Arnsby (FLA), Dom DiVicentiis (WPG), Justin Ertel (DAL), Kyle Jackson (SEA), Ty Nelson (SEA) and Matvey Petrov (EDM).
“We’re a scary scary group,” Bloom said. “We’re really deep. We’ve got a great goalie back there in Dom and it’s going to be really hard to keep up with our four lines especially in a seven-game series.
“I think our size, speed and skill meshes really well together. It’s a scary group to say the least.”
The Battalion lead the Central Division at 16-8-0 and are one of just four OHL teams with at least 15 wins.
Their 101 goals are the third most in the OHL while their 72 surrendered is the third fewest. Frankly, the team has the pieces up front and defensively to be a major contender in the OHL.
“Having that depth and playing with the speed and aggressiveness we play with, it wears teams down,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the depth of this group. They have so many leaders. It doesn’t matter if we have a ‘C’ or an ‘A’, or anything on our chest for that matter, we’re going into that room and providing what we can as leaders.
“The list goes on with attributes this team has and we’re looking to do something special.”
All in all, Bloom has 25 points in 26 games this year. A year ago, he scored 31 times with the Spirit and finished the year in the AHL with Rochester. Although he didn’t suit up during their run to the North Division Finals, the time spent in a professional setup was eye-opening and solidified the message Sabres brass gave him during training camp: create pro habits.
“Saginaw and North Bay both provide the opportunity for me to develop and create those habits whether it’s going to the gym early every day, ice in the morning, developing skills, eating properly, all of that goes into making a pro hockey player,” he said. “Their feedback was to continue to develop as a pro and create those habits and I think I’ve been provided two unbelievable spots to help me flourish and achieve that goal.”