Latty happy to be back
Dylan Latty has some unfinished business with the Thorold Blackhawks.
The 19-year-old Pickering native played the 2016/17 campaign in Thorold, but didn’t get to finish out the year when the Hawks were forced to suspend operations late in the season when they were unable to ice a team.
The big forward split last season between Trenton and Whitby of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, but is back with the Blackhawks this year.
“It’s a great community and great organization,” Latty said, when asked for his reasons for returning to Thorold. “I had a lot of fun in my rookie year and I just wanted to come back and win a championship.
“They were always good to me when I was here and I had a great time. They are just good people and it felt good to come back. I’m in good hands and I know they will treat me well.”
Latty also noted how well owner/coach Scott Barnes was able to turn the team around last season after basically starting from scratch.
“He’s done great things,” Latty said of Barnes. “He’s turned things around last year and the team is on the rise for sure. We have a lot of good players and lots of fun.”
Barnes was thrilled when he was able to reacquire Latty, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound centre.
“He brings a work ethic and some size we don’t have an abundance of,” Barnes said. “(It’s) his dogged determination on pucks and he battles and competes. He’s really upped the compete level for our team and shown some of the younger guys how to compete and battle for pucks. We’ve really worked on that for the past couple of weeks and he’s a guy who does it every time.”
Barnes was aware of Latty even before he played for the Blackhawks.
“I knew him from before because I tried to get him when I was in Pelham. I was hoping to get him back last year, but it didn’t work out.”
Barnes feels Latty’s work ethic has rubbed off in more ways than one.
“It’s not only on the ice. We go to the Brock sports performance lab every Monday to train. We have eight 19-year-olds and three 20-year-olds and those guys are really pushing each other and it’s really making our 17-year-olds push each other.
“It’s really good to see the work ethic we are stating to get.”
Latty said his work ethic was drilled into him from a young age.
“I was always taught when I was younger to compete hard on the ice so that’s why I try and go out and do that all the time and do the little things that make the team win,” he said.
As well, Latty is well aware it’s often what a player does without the puck that is most important.
“I always want to put defence first. Defence is a big thing for me. I like to play two ways so I take defensive responsibilities very seriously.”
Latty, who is taking a year off of school this season but plans to apply to Brock next year, was a 14th-round selection of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League draft in 2015 and attended camp that season where he roomed with Alex DeBrincat.
“It was a really eye-opening. Connor McDavid was there. It was a lot of fun with a lot of NHL-calibre guys,” he said.
The Hawks dropped their first game of the season, a 5-1 decision to the Hamilton Kilty B’s, Thursday night at Thorold Arena to fall to 2-1 in Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference action.
Thorold fell behind 3-0 after one and 5-1 after two.
Noah Bollert, Anthony Pinelli, Zach Osborne, TJ Hughes and Nick Cordiero added singles.
Daniel Rocco replied for the Blackhawks.
The Hawks visit Niagara Falls to take on the 2-0 Canucks Friday and then are at Pelham Sunday at 2:30 to face the 2-0 Panthers.
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