Windsor comes of age
Brock Badgers goaltender Clint Windsor is in his finals season of OUA eligibility. PHOTO SPECIAL TO BPSN SPORTS
Clint Windsor is a textbook case of a late bloomer.
The 24-year-old Hamilton native bounced around the Ontario Hockey League with four teams before settling at Brock to begin his Ontario University Athletics career four years ago.
While Windsor may have been a journeyman in the OHL, he has steadily improved at the university level to where he is among the top backstops in the nation.
“That’s where I have him, as one of the top guys in the league,” Brock goaltender coach Lucas Lobsinger said. “Last year he had the best numbers in the country. He had some injury issues so he didn’t play the amount of games everyone else did but he had the highest save percentage and winning percentage in Canada.
“For him, it’s been a longer process. He took his lumps in the OHL and wasn’t an overager there. I think a lot of his success has come with him maturing as a person. That’s normal for goalies. You hear about the goalie who at 24 or 25 blossoms.”
Windsor admits there is a big difference between playing in the OHL and OUA.
“It’s incredible. Coming in from junior hockey I played on a bunch of teams whereas university is a different set up where you’re with the same team four years,” he said. “It flies by. It’s your first year and then all of a sudden it’s your fourth year.
“It’s good because you are getting your education which takes away the stresses of hockey. It’s a good mixture of both.”
Windsor, who is majoring in sport management, credits Lobsinger and former Brock coach and current Niagara IceDogs coach Ryan Ludzik for much of his development.
“Coming in here I was playing junior and I was kind of a scrambly goalie,” he said. “I started working with Ryan Ludzik and Lucas Lobsinger for the last two years and they really started to work with me on slowing my game down. It’s really improved my game and helped me tremendously.”
Lobsinger said Windsor has also developed off the ice.
“It’s not just growth around the rink but just going from a boy to a man and realizing everything you need to prioritize,” Lobsinger said. “He’s taken a lot more professional approach as he’s gone on.”
Windsor, who won 10 of his 11 starts last season to go along with an exceptional .945 save percentage, is calm and cool when asked to explain his development between the pipes.
“Controlling what you can control and every night I’m going out there trying give my team a chance to win and that’s what I have done the last couple of years,” he said. “Just playing my game and everything else will take care of itself.”
Windsor recently has a taste of what might be in store for himself down the road when he was asked to fill for a game at rookie camp with the Buffalo Sabres during training camp last month.
As well, least season Windsor served as a backup with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League when the Toronto organization ran into injury problems with their goaltenders.
“It was a tremendous experience. It was definitely another level up there and something I maybe I can work towards after school,” Windsor said. “It’s a whole different world up there, obviously. You have guys who are on the cusp of making the NHL and it’s good to see how hard they work to get there.”
Windsor would have lost his amateur status had he stayed in Toronto so he decided to forgo a chance to turn pro.
Lobsinger figures Windsor will get that chance at the end of the season.
“I think there will be quite a few teams calling him for at the very least for a professional tryout,” he said. “NHL teams have come and watched him and have been talking about him so it wasn’t a fluke that Buffalo brought him in.”
Windsor would love to have the chance to play pro, but is first focusing on his final season at Brock.
“This year is an exciting year of us. We have a bunch of fourth and fifth-year guys that will be graduating and we obviously want to leave on a good note,” he said. “I think we have a good team with a lot of depth to make a good run. We have a good group here. “We’ll see if there is an opportunity to play pro hockey. I will definitely look into that and it not, I have school to fall back on.”
The Badgers are at Concordia Friday and McGill Saturday.