Maggio gets over draft letdown, earns spot with 67’s
A wild five-month journey landed Tecumseh’s Matthew Maggio right where he hoped to be all along.
The Alliance hockey league’s player of the year last season with the Sun County Panthers, Maggio slid to the fifth round (86th pick overall) in April’s Ontario Hockey League Draft before being selected by the Ottawa 67’s.
“It was a tough day for me on draft day,” the 15-year-old Maggio said. “For a week, it put me down a bit. I think it was kind of a shock for me and my family.”
The Muskegon Lumberjacks took him in the United States Hockey League Futures draft and he began to hear from universities in the U.S.
“I tried to push past it, and then a few weeks later, I got drafted by Muskegon and that was really good and kind of a confidence builder,” said Maggio, the son of former Windsor Spitfires strength and conditioning coach Rob Maggio.
“I think I just used that as fire throughout the summer to go as hard as I could.”
As camp with the 67’s approached, Maggio wasn’t expecting to stay in Ottawa. He had signed with the junior B LaSalle Vipers and had two visits to U.S. universities set for September. “I told everyone I would probably be back,” Maggio said. “I thought I would be back in two days. “I didn’t expect it at all. I had college lined up and just came to camp. They said ‘stay.’ ”
The OHL is where he always wanted to play and, after some lengthy discussions, he signed with the 67’s.
“This was probably one of the best decisions ever,” said Maggio. “It doesn’t really even matter where you went in the draft. In camp, other than the first-rounder, you’ve got just as good a chance as anyone else. It’s your time to prove people wrong.”
He entered Friday ’s game against the Spitfires at TD Place Arena with a single goal in nine games. Although Windsor passed on him, he holds no grudge.
But Friday’s match against the Spitfires, who he grew up watching, was a reminder that he’s arrived in the league. “Honestly, it took me three weeks to finally realize I was staying here,” the five-foot-nine, 169-pound Maggio said. “(Friday), it really kicked in that I’m in the OHL”
With 23 players on the roster and only 20 able to dress for a game, Spitfires head coach Trevor Letowski has to juggle his lineup. On Friday, Letowski opted to sit over-agers Luke Kutkevicius and Sean Allen along with Cody Morgan.