Monday, July 14, 2008

Farmington Hills' Levi the latest Whalers' signee

The Plymouth Whalers today signed 16-year-old defenseman Austin Levi, who was taken by the Whalers in the sixth round (110th overall) of the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

“Austin Levi is a big, strong defenseman,” Plymouth GM Mike Vellucci said. “His midget coach last year (Todd Jenkins) said Austin had the most potential of any of the players on his team. He has a lot of raw ability. We’re very excited to work with him and get him to be the National Hockey League defenseman we think he can be.”

Levi – 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds and from Farmington Hills – recorded five assists in 22 games and 33 penalty minutes for the Compuware Under-16 team of the Midwest Elite Hockey League last season. Levi (pronounced LEE-vi) recently participated in USA Hockey’s Under-16 Festival, held June 21-27 in Rochester, NY.

“I’ve been in this rink for two years and I know what the Whalers are like,” Levi said. “I can get my education taken care of right now, so I wanted to go ahead and do this. It’s very comfortable and I know a lot of people here. It’s a good situation and I’m ready to take the next step.”

The Whalers have a long history of drafting and signing local players. There are nine local players on the Whalers current roster – Jeremy Smith (Brownstown), Josh Bemis (Clarkston), Christian Steingraber (Oregon, OH – just outside of Toledo), RJ Mahalak (Monroe), Beau Schmitz (Howell), AJ Jenks (Wolverine Lake), Tyler J. Brown (Westland), Mike Yovanic (Highland) and now Levi (Farmington Hills).

Levi is expected to report to Plymouth’s training camp in late August.

Photo of Levi and Vellucci by Natalie Shaver/Plymouth Whalers

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