The star of the Stars
Liam Beamish did it all for the Niagara North Stars this season.
The 16-year-old Beamsville native not only captained the Stars, but also led them in scoring and was dubbed by head coach Nate Mitton as the team’s hardest worker.
Beamish was coming off a disappointing 2021/22 campaign and was determined to turn his game up a notch in his draft year.
“Last year I had a bit of a rough year, it just wasn’t a good year at all for the team and for me especially,” Beamish said. “I took that to heart because I was one of the leaders on the team. In the summer, I was just focusing on training and doing whatever I could to get primed for that next year because it was the biggest year of your life in hockey. I was just working out five-six times a week and doing whatever I could to improve myself.
“I’m pretty proud of myself how it worked out this year.”
The hard work paid off — Beamish potted 27 goals and 58 points in 37 regular season game before adding another 12 points in nine playoff contests.
“Speed and tenacity describe his game and he plays with a ton of heart and determination,” Mitton said.
Beamish’s season has him optimistic regarding the 2023 Ontario Hockey League draft which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with rounds 1-3 and continues at 9 a.m. Saturday with rounds 4-15.
“It definitely is (nerve wracking) but I have to be excited for it,” he said. “It’s a major thing in my hockey career but what I have to realize and what I’m being told is it’s not the end of your hockey career. It’s not the end-all, be-all. It’s one step in your hockey career but if you don’t get drafted, it’s not the end of the world. Your still going to be a hockey player and still going to work your butt off.”
Having said that, Beamish is a big OHL fan.
“You always dream as a kid to play professional or junior hockey, especially being in the Niagara area and going to watch the IceDogs,” the West Niagara Secondary School student said. “You gawk at the team and the fans and everyone is cheering for you and the jerseys.
“It’s an honour to be drafted and get an opportunity to play in a league like that.”
Beamish has had a “bunch” of interviews with OHL clubs.
“The first couple, you’re really nervous but once you get the hang of it, it’s most of the same questions,” he said. “It’s just about getting to know you. It’s not pressure on you. It’s like a normal conversation where they are trying to get to know you.”
Beamish, who has been invited to play in the Prospects by Sports Illustrated showcase this week in Toronto, is ready to put in another summer of hard work.
“The major thing I’m focusing on, especially this summer, is gaining muscle mass and weight so I can compete with those guys at the next level,” he said. “I’ll be a 16-year-old playing against 20-year-olds so they will have a few pounds on me. Being stronger out there so I can still use my skill set to my advantage.”
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