2016 Junior Showcase Day 4

Donald B.Participants in the 13th annual National Training Centre’s Junior Showcase saw living proof of the perseverance being preached this week, when former NHLer Donald Brashear walked into Westwood Arena.

Appearing as a panelist at the daily Lunch ‘N Learn session, the former Montreal, and Washington enforcer said of the Showcase, “It’s a great idea, I wish I’d had something like this when I was a kid.”

And while the competition for spots on OHL, and NCAA teams may be fierce, Brashear equated this to the real world where jobs can be hard to come by, at present.

“People say there are no jobs. But some people seem to always finds work,” he observed. “It depends how much you want it. It’s the same with hockey.”

From rink-side Mike Rizzetto, head scout for the Caledonia Corvairs Junior B’s, stressed that, “Most of these guys are definitely still too young to give up on the dream.”

He explained that he is, “thinking a year ahead” this week, eyeballing players for Caledonia’s Junior C affiliate, the Hagarsville Hawks.

The Showcase is paying dividends for a pair of Team Blue members, 16-year-old defenceman Spencer Smith, and hardnosed left-winger Alessio Luciani, both of whom have been approached by several Junior team scouts.

The lanky Smith was a ski racer in Whistler, B.C., before his family moved to Oakville a few years back. Having shifted from forward to D this season with the Oakville Reps, he’s mobile and good with the puck. The recipient of a Halton School Board Award Of Excellence, his goal is to play U.S. college hockey.

“It’s really good, you get a lot of exposure playing with good guys,” he said, of the Showcase, “and a lot of inspiring stories from the scouts. You hear about the late bloomers.”

His father Tim, noted, “You get 10 high-intensity games (over the course of the week).”

While just 5‘; 8”, 145, Luciani has emerged as one of the Showcase standouts.

“He’s quick. He’s tenacious. He’s a difference maker on the ice,” said Team Blue coach Louie Gialedakis.  “He’s just a good two-way player.”  

“I think he’s ready to make the jump to Junior.”

One scout agreed the Woodbridge resident has, “good speed, and he’s a leader.”

By Mike Beggs

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