Dhillon primed for pro
Stephen Dhillon’s battle for a pro contract continues.
The 19-year-old goaltender for the Niagara IceDogs has established himself as a legitimate No. 1 backstop at the Ontario Hockey League level, but has yet to be able to cash in on that with a professional deal.
“I have this year left so I’m not panicking yet,” Dhillon said from his home in Buffalo. “We still a lot of season to go we’ll have to wait and see how things go.
“It’s my last year of junior hockey so I want to make the most of it.”
Dhillon, who indicated there are no talks on going with any pro teams at the moment, recently spent four days at a development camp with the Montreal Canadiens. He previously attended similar camps wth Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
“It’s always fun to be there,” said Dhillon, who turns 20 Sept. 14. “They are all pretty typical. The first day was fitness testing and then a practice and scrimmage every day. We also have a goalie session for 40 minutes and then game at night.”
Dhillon will return to Montreal for rookie camp this fall.
“They have an unbelievable facility and I’m very excited to go back in September.”
Dhillon said the camps give him a boost that someone is noticing.
“It’s always nice to get the recognition to be invited but I’d like to stick with one,” he said.
Dhillon, who had solid 28-16-3 record last season, only took two weeks off after the season. He has spent the rest of his time working out and skating at home and also in St. Catharines.
“I’m trying to get into the best shape I can for next season,” he said.
He doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned.
“We’re trying to get a contract now so we’re doing everything we possibly can,” he said. “I’m looking to prolong my hockey career.
“I don’t want this to be my last season so I’m going to make every effort possible to prolong my career.”
Dhillon, whose 3.34 goals-against average was perhaps a touch higher than he would have liked and .899 save percentage a bit lower, is expected to shoulder a heavy load once again this season. He has played in 111 games over the last two years.
He is excited to be part of a Niagara squad which are expected to be contenders for an OHL title this season.
“It’s always nice to be on a team that is projected to do well,” he said. “Obviously, we have to go out there and do it and perform on the ice. My first year we were projected to be a really good team and we had a horrible start so we have to go out and play our game and we will be fine.”
On the right side of our web site, you will notice a yellow SUPPORT US button.
We are asking anyone who finds value in our work and is able to financially help us to click on the button and contribute whatever amount you feel is appropriate and can afford. There is no set amount. Any amount is appreciated.
The funds collected will be used to enhance and offset the expenses of running the web site.