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Former Laker Julio Francella is inducted into Sault Ontario Hockey Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy of the Sault Star

Dec. 3, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State hockey great Julio Francella was inducted into the Sault Ste. Marie (Ont.) Hockey Hall of Fame during the Soo Greyhounds' game on Nov. 28 at the Steelback Centre.

Francella played for the Lakers from 1971-75 and totaled 68 goals and 144 assists for 212 points. He was the program's all-time leading scorer for 16 years until Jim Dowd passed him in 1991. He was NAIA All-America in 1972 and '74.

"Julio talked for five minutes and thanked the people who coached him, his family and LSSU," said "Voice of the Lakers" Bill Crawford, who attened the game along with former Laker teammates Don Muio and Paul Theriault. "He told the story of how Ron Mason brought Don Muio with him to Julio's house to recruit him. Julio's father, who spoke no English and worked at Algoma Steel, wanted Julio to go to work immediately, to make a living, to get married and have a family. Julio wanted to play hockey, and LSSU was the best opportunity...He said that his mother was 'softer on the subject' and listened to Don, who spoke in Italian."

Crawford recalled when Mason moved on to coach at Bowling Green State, and Julio led the Lakers to a 6-4 victory over the Falcons during the CCHA semifinals.

"That was probably Julio's finest hour," Crawford recalled. "He was an OK skater, but he had great hands and could stick-handle through and around players, set up plays and score goals."

Francella went on to play professional hockey in Italy, which is where he met his wife, Frederica. They had a daughter, Laura, who was born in Italy, and a son, Jonathan, who was born in Canada. When they returned to the Sault, Francella owned and operated Soo Home Style Bakery on Wellington Street West until he retired a couple years ago.

Francella was inducted into the LSSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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