Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Has your team ever drafted a player from your town?

As some of you know, I was born and raised in Northern Ontario. I was born in Thunder Bay and when I was 14 I moved all the way across the province and lived my High School days and every summer day of University in Iroquois Falls. Not much in Iroquois Falls except fishing lakes, trees, a paper mill, a golf course and a hockey rink. No movie theater (nearest is 30 min away), no McDonalds, mall or anything a teenager would want to socialize at. So, I hung out at the rink and golf course. My golf game was pretty decent through high school and university. My best score was 71 and I was rocking an 8 handicap while playing probably 8 rounds of golf a week. I even played 54 holes in a day once and had the bloody hands to prove it when I was done. However, I just never got that great at hockey so I worked as an official instead and I time-kept more games than you can imagine. I can say as a result of my time that I saw Claude Giroux play from ages 8-10 years old when I was a timekeeper. Our local team played Hearst a couple times a year at home.

As far as heroes go, Iroquois Falls had one. Paul Gagne. I had the chance to get to know him reasonably well on the golf course and even play against him in some tournaments. But being a Devils fan, it really doesn't get much better than that. He played a few seasons with the Devils including a 24 goal and 43 point season in 84-85. However, he was drafted by the Rockies so even though he was from Iroquois Falls he was a Rockies import so technically the team I know and love had never drafted a player from my tiny town of about 5000 people. 

Last spring something happened for the first time and that was the Devils did draft someone from Iroquois Falls and his name was Ryan Kujawinski. Now I am not going to profess I had ever heard of him or even met him. I had moved away from Iroquois Falls back in 2004 but in my time since I left a young prospect grew up in the same hockey system and rink I grew up in and made a name for himself. Am I a fan? I think I need to be...

Here is a card I picked up for less than 2 bucks shipped from the 2013 ITG Draft Prospects set. It will be interesting to see if he can prove to be as good as Paul was, but we are years away from seeing the results.


  1. I can name two off the top of my head---my town Hamilton ON, my team (of course) Toronto Maple Leafs---Adam Mair and Allan Bester--on a side note, I played some mens league hockey with a work mate who grew up playing with both Bester and Dave Andreychuk--now he never went anywhere but was heads and tails better than the rest of our team

    1. Very cool. It is amazing how talented the players are who go "no where". Really gives you an appreciation for how talented the players are who did!