Baldinelli commits to King’s College
A severe injury earlier this season didn’t keep Jayden Baldinelli from his goal of playing collegiate hockey.
The 20-year-old winger for the Fort Erie Meteors broke his leg less than 20 games into the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League season and was unable to return to play.
Nevertheless, the Niagara Falls native recently committed to the King’s College Monarchs where he will play for the men’s hockey team and study civil engineering.
Baldinelli didn’t feel the injury hindered his opportunities.
“No, not necessarily,” he said. “I think a lot of the coaches who were looking at me knew who I was and how I play and know my work ethic. When it happened I knew I was going to come back stronger.
“I was having hopes to come back this year but we got knocked out. I was planning on making a return in the next round or so. I’ve been getting stronger and faster.”
Baldinelli, who fielded a handful of offers, said King’s, a Division 3 school located in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., checked all the boxes on his want list.
“I visited a couple of weeks ago and loved the campus,” said Baldinelli, who received a guided tour from former Meteor teammate Brendan Krawczyk. “It’s right in the middle of the city. Facilities are great, school is nice and obviously it met my academic standards which always come first for me.
“I worked hard in high school and ended up getting the highest scholarship they offered so it worked out well.”
Baldinelli met King’s coach Tom Seravalli following an exhibition game between Golden Horseshoe players and the Brock Badgers.
“He came and talked to me. Said he liked the way I played and liked the way I shoot the puck. I think my game clicked for him and it escalated from there,” Baldinelli said.
Seravalli has high hopes for the speedy forward.
“I believe Jayden is one of the best kept secrets,” Seravelli said. “We are getting a fast forward who can create and has a knack for scoring. Along with that, I appreciate his strong competitive drive and work ethic. It aligns perfectly with our core values and culture here at King’s.
“We are excited to have Jayden join the Monarch family and play for us.”
Fort Erie coach/general manager Nik Passero marvelled at Baldinelli’s perseverance.
“Such an unbelievable kid from a great family,” Passero said. “Very determined. Obviously, he didn’t get back at the end of the year but he did everything in his power to make himself part of the team. Never missed a practice, never missed a game. It really goes to show you what kind of person.”
Baldinelli collected six goals and 23 points and was on his way to a career season at the time of his injury.
“In the end, it was his work and what he has done in this league that got him there,” Passero said.
Baldinelli is eager to see how his skill set plays at the next level.
“Hopefully get there and put some pucks in the net,” he said. “It’s always an adjustment. I think I’ll be pretty good. Usually all summer I play with NHL, AHL, D1, college and junior A guys so I’m pretty up to par with the speed and the skill. I think I’ll be able to step in with his (Seravalli) guidance and let him give me a little tutelage and go from there.”
Baldinelli will never forget what it meant to wear the orange and black of the Meteors.
“Fort Erie has been family for me,” he said. “Those guys are like my brothers. They helped me and pushed me to get where I am so I’m grateful I could do it with that group of guys.
“Nik and Anthony and the whole organization has been like a family for me. They helped me accelerate my game to help me see what it’s like to be in a college level.”
Passero is thrilled to see another former Meteor continue to play.
“As a program, we can tell people we are blue in the face that we want to develop players to get to the next level but the proof is in the pudding,” he said.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 5,000 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact email@example.com for more information.