This is a magical time of the year for Junior “A” hockey Players all over Canada… The time when they commit to playing hockey for another 4 years to Colleges and Universities all over North America.
Well here in Elliot Lake the Bobcats are happy to announce that Captain John Waghorne has committed to the University of Southern Maine. This is a NCAA Division III team. John was very excited about committing to this school because they have such a great hockey program and the Head Coach also shows a lot of interest in him and vows to help him bring his game to the next level.
I took the time to talk to John on the phone today and we had a 40 minutes long conversation about his past present and future. Here is what he had to say.
He spent 3 years in the Bobcats program. He started playing for the Bobcats when they were still in the GMHL. He his time spent in the GMHL saying “It really helped me get my feet wet moving from “AA” Midget to Junior “A” is a big step and the G was the perfect place to do so”. John also wanted to point out that the Bobcats first year in the NOJHL was a hard one. He told me “I had to bring my game up to another level. The NOJHL was a lot more competitive then the GMHL and everything was so new for us, we had to start from scratch and rebuild to continue to bring competitive hockey to the fans in Elliot Lake”. In his 3rd year with the Bobcats John was given the Jersey with the C on it and once again it force him to step up his game. “My third year has been the best by far. It has been night and day over the last 2 seasons. I appreciated the boys having the confidence in me and voting me Team Captain it means a lot.”
When asked about the decision to play in Elliot Lake for 3 years he said “It was a pretty easy decision. I saw a lot of players move onto Division III NCAA hockey in my first 2 seasons and that was my ultimate goal. Coach Ryan Leonard runs a great program and knows what is needed to develop players to make it to the next level.” But that wasn’t the only thing that brought him back to Elliot Lake “Darla and Howey Hennessey were the best billet parents a guy could ask for and they mad it worth while to come back to this beautiful community.”
John also wanted to take the time to thank his teammates. “I play with a great group of guys and having 7 strong Defencemen pushes you to play better hockey, because if you have one bad game chances are you are going to be benched the next game. This team is so strong because everyone knows their role on the ice”. John is proud to call this group of misfits “TEAMMATES”!!!
I took the time to talk to Coach/Owner/GM Ryan Leonard about his thoughts on this big news and he said “John Waghorne is the type of player any Coach would be lucky to build a team around”. He also said “When you stay loyal to your team that only good things can happen. John Stayed loyal to Assistant Coach Todd Stencill and I for 3 years and we couldn’t be happier for him and his family”.