IceDogs add skilled centre
It has been all hockey, all the time for Declan Waddick lately.
The 2021 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection has been front and centre on the mind of the 16-year-old forward for the Waterloo Wolves, who had high hopes of being selected.
“That’s all I’ve been thinking about the last few months,” Waddick said. “I’ve been training really hard even though we’re not on the ice right now. I’ve been in the gym almost every day and watching hockey so I can make that next step.
“I’ve been working really hard and trying to figure out what I need to do to jump to the OHL next year.”
Waddick didn’t have to wait very long to see his name pop up after the Niagara IceDogs selected him in the second round (39th overall) of the draft Friday night.
“I was pumped. I was really excited,” he said. “I had a lot of nerves going into it. I was really scared but once I saw my name the coach called and I was super pumped.
“I can’t wait to get started in Niagara.”
Waddick, who received a call from IceDogs coach Billy Burke soon after being selected, had an inkling he might be selected by the IceDogs.
“I talked to their head scout (Roger MacLeod) the day before the draft and they were telling me they really liked me and hoped they would get a chance to draft me, so it was really nice,” he said.
Waddick only played a handful of exhibition games last season due to the COVID pandemic.
“It was very frustrating,” he said. “We played about six games. It was better than nothing.”
Waddick, who IceDogs general manager Joey Burke compared to former Niagara captain Alex Friesen, last played a full season in 2019/20, when he scored 32 goals and 56 points in 30 games for the Sun Country Panthers U15 squad.
“I think I’m an exciting player to watch,” he said. “I think they’ll like to watch me. I’ll probably score a few goals next year and make some nice plays. I’m a physical player too so I think they will enjoy that.”
Waddick grew up in Chatham before moving to Waterloo last year.
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