IceDogs take first goalie in draft
Joey Costanzo was delighted when the Niagara IceDogs selected him in the second round, 23rd overall in Friday night’s Ontario Hockey League draft.
The 15-year-old Toronto resident was watching the draft on TV in the backyard of his parents’ home with his mom, dad, brother, sister, and an aunt and uncle, when the IceDogs made him the first goalie selected in the draft.
“We all jumped. I gave my mom (Mary-Ann) a hug right away and then I gave a hug to my dog (cocker spaniel named Holly) and my dad (Robert),” the 15-year-old said.
The six-foot-1, 165-pound goalie was recording the draft at that point because it was in the range where he expected to be chosen.
“I am extremely excited to be part of a great organization,” he said. “I talked to the GM and head coach prior to the draft and I was really impressed with them. They seemed very professional and I have nothing but great things to say about the organization.”
He is looking forward to starting his major junior career with Niagara.
“The Niagara IceDogs are known to produce NHL talent and that has always been my dream to play in the NHL and be one of the best goaltenders of all time and win Stanley Cups,” Costanzo said. “I want to grow as a person, as an IceDog and I am looking forward to all the learning experiences, meeting new teammates and hopefully winning a Memorial Cup..”
Costanzo, who is reported to model his game after Andrei Vasilevsky and Marc-Andre Fleury, describes himself in the following manner.
“I am a quick, fast and athletic goalie and I like to use my size to make saves. I play with poise and I always try my best to be a leader. I don’t wear an A or a C on my jersey but my team always feeds off of me with my energy. I am also extremely competitive.”
Costanzo took a lot of pride in being the first goalie selected in the draft.
“I knew I was one of the best goalies in my age group but this year that was my main goal. I wanted to be the first goalie taken and I wanted to prove that this year,” he said. “I am excited to say that I have reached my goal but it is more that I am happy to be in Niagara. Where I landed was important to me and it’s a great spot where I landed.”
He last played a hockey game in March 2020 when his Toronto Marlboros team beat the Toronto Junior Canadiens to even up its championship series at one game apiece.
“Our coach came in after the game and told us ‘Congratulations, this was your last game of the season.’ ”
Little did he know at the time, he wouldn’t play a single game during his all-important OHL draft year.
“At first it was tough not having any ice or anything but I took the time to work on other things in my game,” he said. “I obviously couldn’t control the situation but I just worked on the things I could control: Putting good things in my body; working out every day; doing everything productive I could; and, getting ice whenever I could.”
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