Thompson a perfect fit
Caleb Thompson has been a pleasant find for the Thorold Blackhawks.
The 17-year-old Barrie resident played last season with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and enjoyed the experience, but was looking for something closer to home.
After Thompson’s good friend and former Barrie midget AAA teammate Colin Ewing signed with the Blackhawks, Thompson called Thorold owner/coach Scott Barnes and asked to come down for a skate.
It didn’t take Barnes long to see he may have discovered a diamond in the rough.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting but the first time he stepped on the ice in our practice (I noticed) a ton of speed and skill,” Barnes said.
Once the Blackhawks began playing pre-season scrimmages, he noticed Thompson continued to stand out.
“It’s been nice to see him in games. He has a lot of push back. He competes hard and brings a lot of energy. You never really know when you only see someone in practice until they play a game,” Barnes said.
Thompson has been among the Hawks leading scorers in the scrimmages versus the Pelham Panthers.
“He’s providing a lot of offence for us. In the last couple of years we haven’t really had a natural scorer. We’ve had some pretty good players but he’s really lighting it up so far. It’s just natural scoring ability,” Barnes said. “He’s going to bring a lot of offence, that’s for sure.”
Thomson, who is being billeted with Ewing, said he felt at home immediately in Thorold.
“I really liked how tight the team was,” he said. “I came here and two skates in everyone knew my name. I really liked that. They have been really inclusive with everything,” he said. “Living down here it could get a little lonely at times but a lot of the guys ask you out and want you to be part of the team.”
Thompson collected 11 goals and 20 points in 50 games last season and feels he can bring more than just offence to the Blackhawks.
“I like to think I can play a 200-foot game. I like to take care of my D zone first and then have finish in the offensive zone,” he said.
Thompson said playing up north was an eye-opening experience.
“It was a big move, five-and-and-a-half hours from my house straight north, but it seemed to be the best option,” he said. “Small towns love their hockey. We’d get 500-plus fans to every game. We’d fill the rink and it would get loud.”
Thompson didn’t have much exposure to southern Ontario before coming to Thorold, but is enjoying the experience so far.
“I want to say it’s like home but it’s not. It’s so close to everything,” he said. “I like it so far. Back home they have some snow and we don’t, so we’re winning.”
The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League announced this week they plan to begin the regular season Jan. 15, pending government approval.
Thompson is itching to get going.
“We’ve been off since March since our last regular game so it’s awesome to think we can get started.”
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, BPSN is not sure what the business landscape will look like when things return to normal. Our website is financed primarily through advertising revenues and partnership agreements with many local sports and educational organizations in Niagara. Our goal is to continue providing our readers with the extensive local sports coverage you have come to expect from our site. Since our inception, we have written more than 3,000 stories on our local athletes and teams. Many of our readers have given us one-time donations or send us monthly contributions to help offset our costs. We would be eternally grateful if others would consider doing the same by using the Support Us button located on the right-hand side of our home page below the mosaic.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill and Bernie.