Otters add Armstrong
MacGregor Armstrong was working out last week when he received an unexpected phone call.
On the other end of the line was Erie Otters general manager Dave Brown who informed the 18-year-old, Niagara-on-the-Lake resident he had been selected in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League U18 Priority Selection.
“Honestly, it was kind of unexpected,” said Armstrong, who will be majoring in commerce at Queens University beginning this fall. “It was a surreal moment.
“I feel very fortunate to have been selected.”
Brown’s message to Armstrong was simple: keep in shape, run, work out and get ready for the main camp.
That sounded fine to Armstrong who admitted it wasn’t always easy to keep motivated during the last year after the COVID pandemic wiped out minor sports.
“There has been a lot of uncertainty around hockey, whether we’re playing games or not,” Armstrong said. “It’s been hard on all of us. It’s been trying to find the motivation and discipline to keep training when you don’t know if this is going to be my last game or not.
“Now, I have something to look forward to.”
Armstrong, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound defenceman, plans to attend main camp in Erie and then make a decision on his future.
“We’ll see. I’ve been contacted by a few junior A teams,” he said. “It’s been hard to find motivation at times but being drafted and knowing all this hard work I’ve put into my dream has come true has really been a motivating factor and pushed me these past couple of days.”
Armstrong’s last two seasons of minor hockey were for the Niagara North Stars U16 and U18 squads under coach Brock men’s coach and former Niagara IceDogs bench boss Marty Williamson.
“It was huge having Marty. He’s a great guy and obviously if you look at his track record, he had so much knowledge that he shared, whether it be drills, or past experiences, that helped us become successful team,” Armstrong said.
Williamson has happy for Armstrong.
“He’s a hard working kid,” Williamson said. “The good thing about Mac is that he’s gotten better every year.”
Williamson feels Armstrong’s story is a good example of persistence paying off.
“For him, there are a lot of these kids who have patience and persevere and good things happen,” he said. “A lot of kids go away. If you’re the one who can just keep doing your thing and get better, you’ll be amazed at what doors get opened up for you down the road and then you have to be ready to walk through them and that’s MacGregor.”
Williamson thinks Armstrong’s has a bright future.
“He probably needs a year of junior to round himself out and then he could find himself in the OHL,” Williamson said.
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