Mag­gio gets over draft let­down, earns spot with 67’s

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - JIM PARKER

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”

TOUGH DE­CI­SIONS

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.

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