IceDogs thrilled with first four selections
The Niagara IceDogs couldn’t be happier with their haul as the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection got underway Friday night.
The IceDogs selected two forwards, a goalie and a defenceman as the draft commenced with three of the 15 rounds. Rounds 4-15 will be held Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” IceDogs general manager Joey Burke said. “In our minds, we feel we’re going to be the team that walks away from this and three years down the road it will be how did we get four, first-round calibre guys without a first-round pick.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic. I didn’t think we would come out of it with this pedigree of guys.”
The IceDogs selected forward Juan Copeland from Detroit Honeybaked U15 AAA with their first pick in the second round (22nd overall).
“Juan is absolutely elite skill, elite feet and hands,” Burke said. “He has absolutely world class vision and execution. In our minds, he’s an absolute top 10 offensively. He does everything at a pace, is great in traffic and his skill is outstanding.”
Burke indicated Copeland, who is listed at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, is committed to the OHL.
“We’re excited he is coming in, he is going to be a big impact guy,” Burke said. “We were surprised a little bit (he was available) but being an American with a lot of options, I think teams are more hesitant on a guy like that than a Canadian guy who they know is a safe pick.”
The IceDogs then turned some heads when they selected goaltender Joey Costanzo of the Toronto Marlboros with the next pick, one selection later. The 15-year-old Toronto native is the highest selection for a goaltender in IceDogs history.
“From our end, this was the best goalie in the class, without question and it wasn’t even close,” Burke said. “We truly believe we found our franchise goalie of the future.
“In my opinion, he is the best 2005-born goalie on the planet.”
Burke feels Costanzo can play at the OHL level this year.
“He has absolutely all the intangibles. Technically, he’s world class. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Niagara used the final pick of the second round (29th overall) to grab forward Declan Waddick from the Waterloo Wolves.
“That was a huge one for us,” Burke said. “For us to get him at the end of the second is unheard of. We had him at the top of the second. We could not believe that he got there.”
Waddick is a 5-foot-10, 170-pound centre.
“He reminds me a lot of Alex Friesen,” Burke said. “He does everything at a high level. We’re really going to like him here.”
Andrew Wycisk is a 5-foot-9, 150-pound rearguard who was selected in the third round.
“He is a very high-end defenceman,” Burke said. “He defends well and really works hard. We had him as a first- or second-round kind of guy and are very delighted to be able to get him.”
The IceDogs have a selection in every round Saturday with the exception of the sixth where they have two picks and the 13th where they do not own a pick.
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