Port Perry's Ty Dellandrea had made history before many of his peers had woken up on Saturday morning, becoming the highest drafted Scugog player in OHL history when he was selected in the first round, fifth overall, by the Flint Firebirds.
Dellandrea's impressive season with the Central Ontario Wolves drew interest from scouts throughout the league, as he racked up 55 points (35 goals and 20 assists) in 35 games played. A rival coach referred to the 15-year-old as being, "the most dangerous player with the puck in the ETA."
Speaking with The Standard moments after hearing his name called surrounded by his mother Loni and father Jay, along with sister Tristyn and other family and friends, Dellandrea remarked that he was "really honoured, and being able to share it with all of the people who have helped me get here, makes it a very special moment."
A 6-foot, 172 lb. centre, Dellandrea heads to Flint amid a great deal of turmoil surrounding the franchise in the wake of a five-year suspension being imposed on controversial owner Rolf Nilsen just days prior to the draft, as well as the team being stripped of the third overall selection in the Saturday, April 9 draft.
However, Dellandrea was focused squarely on contributing on the ice for the Firebirds next season, and is excited to be part of a draft class that boasted five picks among the first 48 selections.
“It's exciting that the organization is on the right path and is going to have a fresh start next season. It's a great opportunity to be a part of that culture change. The organization will be adding a lot of talented players with faith in what we can accomplish."
Dellandrea will not have to look far to find familiar faces once the Grade 10 student at Uxbridge Secondary School takes to the ice in Flint, with the team drafting a pair of his teammates from the Wolves in the later rounds of Saturday's draft.
Team captain Braydon Leeking, a 6'3" centre was taken in the 6th round, and right winger Owen Smith heard his name called in the 13th round.
The trio will head to Flint hoping to turn things around for a Firebirds team coming off a last place finish in the West Division. The 2015-16 campaign will be the second year for the team in Flint, after relocating from Plymouth in suburban Detroit.
With the city rocked by the tainted water crisis, as well as decades of increased economic depression stemming from massive job losses in the automitive sector, Dellandrea hopes to be part of a special core of players, and give fans something to cheer about. “Flint has the most loyal fans in hockey, and I'm excitied to help bring them a championship."
The 2016 edition of the Wolves matched an organizational record with five selections in the draft. In addition to the three players headed to the Firebirds, Uxbridge's Quinn Yule, a towering 6'5" left winger was tabbed in the fifth round, 84th overall, by the Ottawa 67's.
Goaltender Jordan Kooy was an eighth round pick of the London Knights. Stay tuned to The Standard to follow their journey to professional hockey.
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