Serron Noel did not mince words after last Friday’s 9-5 loss for the Oshawa Generals to the Sarnia Sting.
“We needed to be more dialed in on the defensive end; otherwise, that game would have been ours,” said Noel.
Coming into that game, the Generals were the best team in the OHL. The franchise had started the season 9-0, the best in the team’s existence. The Generals outshot the Sting 46 to 25. However, Oshawa’s turnovers in their own zone led to a plethora of goals given up.
While the Generals are still tied for the lead in the OHL standings, Noel exhibited candidness in his team’s recent performance. Even a 9-2 start through their first 11 games can demand a need to improve important facets of the team.
Having Noel take charge for team accountability demonstrates the integral leadership he brings to the Generals locker room. Drafted 38th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2018 NHL Draft, the young forward is eager to play for a competitive OHL team in his final junior season. He’s hoping it will accelerate his chances of making the NHL next season.
“We have very high expectations of Serron,” said Oshawa Generals head coach Greg Walters. “He is part of a team that is full of character inside the locker room.”
Serron Noel Possesses Sport Family Roots
Sports have been linked with Serron Noel’s family background. His Father, Dean, played five seasons as a running back in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders and Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Noel’s physical appearance (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) emulates a wide receiver compared to an NHL forward. But after playing hockey with his Father’s close friends in Barrhaven, Noel was enthralled by the game.
While young Noel never followed in his Father’s football footsteps, the lessons passed on relating to competition and perseverance were never forgotten.
“His lectures and speeches were never about the hockey aspect,” Noel said. “It was more about the effort and how you hold yourself in being professional.
In his final year of Triple AAA with the Brockville Braves, Noel generated 17 goals and 11 assists in 45 games played. The physicality and high hockey IQ as a teenager caught the attention of the Generals organization. They would draft and retain Noel for his entire junior hockey career. Last season, where he had a career best 81 points, Noel recorded 21 multi-point games, including a hat trick.
While Noel can win the battles along the boards with his size, he has shown his affinity to becoming more of a skill player. He has developed a tremendous stride in his skating, with a nimble ability to glide into the offensive zone. His hands and hand-eye coordination allow him be a threat on offense.
The ceiling on where Noel can go in his hockey success compelled the Florida Panthers to draft him. Another talented prospect to add to the list of the Panthers growing depth of young forwards.
Noel Embracing Opportunity for Growth
When the Florida Panthers sent Noel back to the Oshawa Generals, the news was undoubtedly disappointing. But it paves the way for a projected increase in development for the Panthers prospect.
Noel provides the Panthers with size depth at the forward position. The team has stressed the need for him to work on his shot and putting more pucks towards the net for quality scoring chances.
“It’s not from a lack of effort but Serron’s execution needs to be better for our team and for him going forward,” said Walters.
Against Sarnia, despite being a minus-3 on the night, Noel was perfect in face off wins. He also did the little things well, from chasing pucks to making the correct passes to his teammates. With three goals and two assists in six games played, Noel has been selected for the second year in a row to represent Team Canada for the CHL Canada-Russia Series.
An opportunity that he hopes will propel him to the IIHF U-20 World Junior Championships this year.
“Having that experience at Under-18’s and last year’s Canada-Russia Series has taught me the player I need to be and what the coaches expect of me. I just need to go out and do it,” said Noel.
As soon as Noel steps out onto the ice, his talent level is apparent. Harnessing the potential to take the next jump will take time. But with a competitive team around him in Oshawa, expect Noel’s competitive spirit to be under the spotlight throughout this OHL season.
ST CATHARINES, ON – OCTOBER 15: Serron Noel #8 of the Oshawa Generals skates during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at the Meridian Centre on October 15, 2016 in St Catharines, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)