Heading into training camp, rookies faced long odds cracking the Ottawa 67’s lineup this season, what with 19 veterans returning.
Somehow, those longs odds seem to have been lost on 16-year-old forward Yanic Crete and Matthew Maggio, a 15-year-old right winger who doesn’t become legal to try for his driver’s licence until Nov. 26th.
Crete a third-round pick from nearby L’Original, and Maggio, a fifth-rounder from Tecumseh, both signed deals with the 67’s on Friday, making them important cogs in the future of the team, if not the present.
Crete was selected 51st overall in April, Maggio 86th overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft and both have made solid impressions through developmental camp and now main camp.
“I’m really proud of this accomplishment, I worked really hard for this, and I think that when you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything,” said Crete, already 6-foot-1, 178 lbs. “I trained hard all summer and the work paid off. I worked hard, I was in great shape and I felt ready.”
The 67’s scouts saw a lot of Crete, who spent all of last season with the midget AAA Hawkesbury Hawks. In 41 games, he posted 20 goals and 29 assists for a total of 49 points.
Maggio was a little harder to monitor but he really stoked the attention of 67’s scouts at the OHL Cup when his wildcard Sun County Panthers made it all the way to the final eight, with Maggio leading the way on an exciting line with Ryan Gagnier and Zane Dalpe.
The right-shooting forward, who’s 5-foot-10 and 169 lbs, counted 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 33 games last season for the Panthers.
“Coming in to camp, I knew it was going to be hard, there’s so many good players here,” said Maggio. “I think it’s every kid’s dream to play in the OHL, I still can’t believe it and I’m still in shock right now. This is probably one of the better days of my life and I’m excited to see where this takes me this year.”
“Matthew made an impression on our staff at development camp with his skill and determination and carried that momentum through this summer’s Hockey Canada events,” said 67’s General Manager James Boyd. “Matthew is a passionate player who our fans are going to enjoy watching as he continues his development with the 67’s.”
The 67’s opened with their first of five pre-season contests Friday night in Sudbury against the Wolves. They continue Sunday in Kingston, then play Kingston Monday in Cornwall.