Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whalers sign late '08 pick MacDonald

The Plymouth Whalers announced the signing today of 17-year-old defenseman Colin MacDonald, who was selected in the 14th round (270th overall) of the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

MacDonald, a London, Ont., native, played last season for the London Jr. Knights minor midgets and scored eight goals with 16 assists for 24 points in 76 games and also led the Knights with a +39 rating. He added two goals with four assists for six points and was +5 in nine playoff games for London.

“We’re always looking for quality players in the later rounds of the draft,” said Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci. “Rick Boyle (Plymouth’s scout from London) really liked Colin two years ago and suggested we take him.

“You’re always looking for diamonds in the rough and we’ve had success in selecting players late like Brett Bellemore (12th round, 2004), Andrew Fournier (11th round, 2003), Josh Bemis (14th round, 2006) and John Vigilante (11th round, 2001). Based on what we’ve seen so far, Colin has a chance to become a solid player in Plymouth.”

MacDonald is expected to complement a solid Plymouth defense next season which includes returning veterans Michal Jordan (a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick), Beau Schmitz (Howell), Austin Levi (Farmington Hills) and Bemis (Clarkston). In addition, Leo Jenner could return as an overage player and Jordon O’Neill and Jan Latal could return as well.

“I’m really excited about it,” MacDonald said about signing. “I think we’re going to have a great team and I’m looking forward to helping as much as I can. I play a stay-at-home, defensive game, while trying to make a good first pass. I want to make sure our end is good before I move up the ice.”

MacDonald credits his grandfather, Ralph Patterson, who works at the John Labatt Centre in London, for helping to get his OHL career started.

“He was the one who first introduced me a few years ago,” said MacDonald. “He loves his job and it’s always nice to see him at the rink. He does a great job. It really helped me understand what the OHL is all about – to see how the players get prepared before a game.”

While playing in Plymouth, MacDonald will be attending school at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

Earlier this month, Vellucci signed center Garrett Meurs, Plymouth’s first-round selection (13th overall) from the 2009 OHL draft.

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