Hinz is ready to be an elder skates­man

Ex-peter­bor­ough Petes star joins Ice­dogs for his over­age sea­son

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - SPORTS - Brady Hinz BERND FRANKE RE­GIONAL SPORTS ED­I­TOR Bernd Franke is a St. Catharines-based jour­nal­ist and the re­gional sports ed­i­tor for the Stan­dard, Tri­bune and Re­view. Reach him via email: bernd.franke@ni­a­garadailie­s.com

Brady Hinz turned 20 in May, though that’s not in ’Dog years.

Ac­cord­ing to the On­tario Hockey League cal­en­dar, over­agers, such as the new­est ad­di­tion to the Niagara Ice­dogs, are elder skates­men in the fi­nal sea­son of their ju­nior el­i­gi­bil­ity. With the max­i­mum of three over­agers per team, Hinz was the odd man out when the Peter­bor­ough Petes de­cided what they wanted their ros­ter to look like head­ing into the 2020-21 sea­son.

“I was not re­ally sur­prised, to be hon­est. They have quite a few over­agers over there, so it’s kind of hard to choose from,” he said in an in­ter­view from his fam­ily’s home in Strat­ford.

The five-foot-nine, 150-pound for­ward was ac­quired for a con­di­tional 15th-round pick in the 2020 OHL draft, which pre­vi­ously be­longed to the Hamil­ton Bull­dogs.

“We are thrilled to add Brady to our or­ga­ni­za­tion. I have been a fan of his for years,” Ice­dogs gen­eral man­ager Joey Burke said. “He has a high skill level and plays a style very con­ducive to how we like to do things in Niagara.”

Hinz, who played parts of two sea­sons with the Sar­nia Sting be­fore go­ing to Peter­bor­ough, is look­ing for­ward to play­ing a fifth — and fi­nal — year in the OHL. “I’m happy I have a spot to play in, es­pe­cially be­ing in Niagara. It’s awe­some,” he said. “It’s a great or­ga­ni­za­tion there and I can’t wait.”

Hinz has fond mem­o­ries of play­ing against the Ice­dogs, who, like the Petes, com­pete in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

“They were al­ways a fast team,” he said. “I’ve al­ways en­joyed play­ing against them, es­pe­cially play­ing in Niagara, too.

“The fans are pretty nuts. Hop­ing there are fans this year and I can play in front of them.”

In 2017-18, the right-hand shot had a ca­reer high in points — 18 goals and 24 as­sists for 42 in to­tal — in 40 games with the Sting and 28 for the Petes.

He scored 15 goals and col­lected 13 as­sists in 58 games in Peter­bor­ough last sea­son.

Hinz ap­pre­ci­ates that over­agers are ex­pected to pro­vide lead­er­ship on top of their con­tri­bu­tions on of­fence and de­fence. He is up for the chal­lenge. “I have to be a leader. They are go­ing to be a young team, but we have a lot to prove, es­pe­cially af­ter last year when they didn’t have the year they hoped to have,” he said.

“We’re go­ing to prove a lot of peo­ple wrong this year, and I’m go­ing to show lead­er­ship on and off the ice.”

Best wishes from the Petes or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­com­pa­nied Hinz to St. Catharines, where the Ice­dogs play their home games at Merid­ian Cen­tre.

“Brady was a val­ued mem­ber of the Petes fam­ily for the past three sea­sons,” gen­eral man­ager Mike Oke said. “We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of the ef­fort and skill he brought to our team, as well as the lead­er­ship he pro­vided both on and off the ice.”

The move west af­ter parts of three sea­sons in Peter­bor­ough comes with the bonus of be­ing closer to home for the Strat­ford na­tive.

“It’s bet­ter for my fam­ily. If there is any fam­ily emer­gency, it’s a lit­tle bit closer,” Hinz said.

“It’s not much of a dif­fer­ence, but it’s a good spot.”

He ranks speed and the abil­ity to get the most out of his skills as the strengths of his game.

“I use my skills to my ad­van­tage a lot,” Hinz said.

“I’ve been work­ing on my D zone quite a bit, chip­ping pucks off the wall, win­ning all my end­zone bat­tles,” said the vet­eran for­ward.

He has kept busy dur­ing the pan­demic by train­ing with his trainer and work­ing at a golf course.

Hinz hopes to be­gin study­ing part-time at Brock Univer­sity in the sec­ond se­mes­ter. He wants to get into sport man­age­ment, “maybe like on the busi­ness side of things.”

Hinz is op­ti­mistic a sec­ond wave of COVID-19 won’t push back plans to start the 2020-21 sea­son.

OHL teams have been given the green light to open train­ing camp Nov. 15, with league play ex­pected to get un­der­way a lit­tle more than two weeks af­ter that.

“I’m re­ally hope­ful. We’re in good hands, so I’m hop­ing they can all fig­ure some­thing out,” he said.

“Hope­fully, we can get to play Dec. 1 in front of the Ice­dogs fans.”

Hinz, who was se­lected by Sar­nia in the third round of the 2016 draft with the 52nd pick, has 54 goals and 75 as­sists in 248 reg­u­lar-sea­son games in the OHL.

He played two games with the ju­nior B Strat­ford War­riors be­fore join­ing the Sting at the start of the 2016-17 sea­son.

TERRY WIL­SON OHL IM­AGES

Vet­eran for­ward Brady Hinz has scored 54 goals and added 75 as­sists in 248 reg­u­lar-sea­son games with the Peter­bor­ough Petes and Sar­nia Sting of the On­tario Hockey League.

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