OHL Draft review: Giampa a skilled forward
Matteo Giampa is one of the top-rated Niagara prospects for Saturday’s OHL Draft. Photos by OHL Images.
Matteo Giampa has been waiting for Saturday’s Ontario Hockey League draft for a long, long time.
“Playing in the OHL has been my No. 1 goal and a huge dream of mine ever since I was a little kid,” the 15-year-old Virgil native said.
“That’s all I ever wanted to do; play in the OHL and eventually move on to the NHL.”
To prove his point, the Grade 10 student at Holy Cross Secondary School displays an Aug. 30, 2007 clipping from the sports section of the St. Catharines Standard. The clipping is a picture of Giampa pointing at something at the Jack Gatecliff Arena with a Niagara IceDog in the foreground. The caption under the photo reads: “Four-year-old Matteo Giampa, his mom, Bonnie, and sister, Madison, watch the Niagara IceDogs’ practice Wednesday. Matteo’s obsession for hockey is what spurred the family to attend the workout at Jack Gatecliff Arena.”
Matteo has never forgotten his first look at OHL hockey.
“Ever since then, I have been obsessed,” the 5-foot-10, 150-pound forward said.
That obsession didn’t look like it was going to come to fruition last fall.
“At the start of the year, my goal was just to get drafted and I don’t think I was on anyone’s radar,” he said. “But I kept improving and showing different teams what I could do on the ice. I think it has paid off.”
He feels his hard work in the off-season and dedication are what has taken him to a new level.
“My dedication is the biggest part when it comes to that,” he said. “I always have a stick in my hand, I am always thinking about hockey and I am working every day on improving my skills.
“I ask a lot of questions of my coaches and I am trying to improve every day as a player and a person.”
This past season with the Niagara North Stars, Giampa had 15 goals and 35 points in 32 games. His performance saw him earned a mention in a Jan. 15 article on the Ontario Minor Hockey Association website under the heading ‘Players to watch.’
The article said: “A skilled forward who creates offence in a variety of ways. Giampa is comfortable with the puck on his stick and with his instincts and vision, that makes him a dangerous player in the offensive zone. He continually has his head up reading his time and space looking for his teammates. With this he decides whether to attack the net on his own, cut into open space or thread a pass. His skating and edges allow him to keep defenders off balance and his hands and vision allow him to be a consistent point producer.”
Giampa, who started playing hockey in the Niagara-on-the-Lake house league at age five before moving to the Niagara-on-the-Lake BB travel program, the Niagara Falls Rivermen and the North Stars, describes himself as a skilled player.
“It’s my speed and my skating and I think my hands are pretty good,” he said. “I have good vision and hockey sense and I think I am a playmaker.”
Giampa plans to follow the draft at home with his family and he wants to keep it “on the down low.”
He has talked to about 15 OHL teams on the person and went to London and Mississauga for in-person interviews.
Giampa can’t wait for Saturday.
“I am mostly excited, but obviously nerves are part of the whole experience.”