Sudbury Wolves down to 27 still in camp
by Randy Pascal
No major surprises just yet as the Sudbury Wolves annual Blue and White game gave way to the first round of training camp cuts. By the time
the dust settled, the Wolves were left with 27 players still with the team, including four players signed to the standard OHL player's contract.
Goaltender David Bowen, defenceman Emmett Serensits and forwards Blake McConville and Nolan Hutcheson are all born in the
year 2000, and have all now committed to the local OHL crew.
All but Serensits were nabbed in the 2016 draft, while the blueliner with the Oakville Rangers 2016-2017 midget "AAA" team was the first ever
Sudbury selection in the inaugural U18 Entry Draft.
Passed over in the 2016 OHL Entry Draft, Serensits managed to battle his way back into the junior hockey picture. "I'll be honest, I saw the draft go by
and I was kind of hurt, I guess," he admitted. "But I knew that if I had a great season (in Oakville) with a good bunch of guys, that I could use that to
my advantage and elevate my game. I just wanted to work as hard as I could and show the scouts they made a mistake."
With the turnover that the Wolves have endured on their season-ending "D" corps from last April, the 6'1" rearguard could not have asked for me a much
better opportunity than in Sudbury.
"Once I got drafted, I settled down a bit, and then I looked at the roster to see if I had a chance of making this team," Serensits recalled. "A day or
two after, I was starting my research, getting a feel for how good a shot do I have at making this organization."
With that in mind, he would put the wheels in motion, focused on making an impression in September. "I know a couple of things that I need to work on
myself, being gap control and knowing when to jump up," he said.
"I think I executed that well, and I played physical, which is what they are looking for." In a similar vein, forward Owen Lane (1999) returns
to Sudbury this fall, knowing that he is one of a handful of forwards projected as possible candidates for taking a sizeable step forward, offensively
speaking, this year.
In 43 games with the team last year, Lane registered five goals and five assists. In the eyes of many, he brings a somewhat similar package to the likes
of Shane Bulitka (1999) and Owen Gilhula (2000) to the table.
"With a year under my belt, I know what to expect, I've got that experience," said Lane. "I know more about the league and what I need to do. Skating is
such a big part of the game now, I really need to focus on that. And defence leads to offense, so I need to worry about my defensive zone this year."
With the likes of McConville (6'2") and Hutcheson (6'4") added to the mix, Lane understands full well that he needs to show up, each and every day.
"For me, I think it's been pretty good, a couple of hiccups here and there, but it happens," he said.
"Being a smaller guy, I need to be stronger. I'm facing a lot of guys that are taller than me and I need to be up there, competing at that level." As for
the team itself, Lane is encouraged by what he sees.
"We have a lot of the same guys up front, so I think our chemistry will be there right from the start. We've got some new guys on the "D", but after a
couple of weeks, we'll start to get and get things going."
As the team prepares for the start of pre-season play, welcoming the Mississauga Steelheads to the barn on Elgin Street on Tuesday, following is
a complete list of players who have remained in training camp:
Jake McGrath (1999)
Marshall Frappier (2000)
David Bowen (2000)
Kyle Rhodes (1997)
Zach Wilkie (1997)
Reagan O'Grady (1998)
Brandon Bastasin (1998)
Conor Ali (1999)
Nolan Makkonen (1999)
Zack Malik (2000)
Emmett Serensits (2000)
Liam Ross (2001)
Ryan Valentini (1997)
Michael Pezzetta (1998)
Drake Pilon (1998)
Darian Pilon (1998)
Dmitry Sokolov (1998)
David Levin (1999)
Owen Lane (1999)
Macauley Carson (1999)
Shane Bulitka (1999)
Dawson Baker (2000)
Owen Gilhula (2000)
Nolan Hutcheson (2000)
Blake McConville (2000)
Blake Murray (2001)
Anthony Tabak (2001)