Former minor Otter drafted to the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm

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Photo courtesy of the Guelph Storm

Ty Collins, 15, has his sights set on the NHL and now he’s one step closer to his dream. The former Huntsville Otter was drafted into the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) in the top two rounds out of 15 in the Priority Selection on April 7, 2018. He was selected in the 38th spot out of 300 by the Guelph Storm.

Collins started his hockey career at the age of three playing on the Timbits team in Waterloo and Huntsville. The Collins family moved to Huntsville when Ty was five and he attended Spruce Glen P.S. He played Novice Rep for the Huntsville Otters for three years until switching to the North Central Predators for his Minor Atom to Minor Bantam years.

Those early Otters coaches made an impression—when Collins was filling out surveys for the OHL clubs, he included Brad Rose, Dan Barnett and Scott Conaghan, his third-year Novice Rep coaches, among those that had been most influential.

Following his years with the North Central Predators, Collins played for the York Simcoe Express in his Major Bantam to Minor Midget years, and at that time his family moved to Newmarket.

It was in his Minor Bantam years, watching the Barrie Colts play and impressed by the skill and the fast-paced games, that Collins first knew he wanted to play in the OHL. But he didn’t know where he’d land.

“Going into the draft, I didn’t really know what to expect because I didn’t have any idea who was going to pick me or when,” said Collins. “I had talked to 17 out of 20 teams and Guelph wasn’t one of them, so I had no idea at all.”

Playing in the NHL is his next big goal. “I know that going to Guelph, along with my family and agents’ support, will give me a good chance to get drafted into the NHL. So now that I’m here, I just have to make sure I handle what I can handle, like working hard every day, and trying to make myself better day in, and day out,” he said.

Balancing school and hockey has been hard at times for Collins. Practices have the grade 10 student on the ice four to five times a week for  one-and-a-half to two hours at a time. “I always tried to get my homework done right when I got home, so I didn’t have to worry about it the rest of the night.”

With the hard work and dedication he and his family have put in to his hockey career, Collins feels as if it’s all been worth it now that his dream of being drafted has become a reality. “When I saw that I got selected by the Guelph Storm in the second round I was really excited and relieved. Once I saw that I accomplished that goal, it was a really exciting moment for my family and I, and I was really glad I got drafted by such a great organization.”

His father, Jeff, said that his son has always been dedicated to his chosen sport. “Mikala and I always gave Ty the opportunity to push forward and thrive. He is lucky enough to not only have the talent but the desire and compete level to be the best. We never have had to force Ty to go to practice or do anything extra on his own—he just did it on his own.”

His advice to other parents with competitive athletes in their family is, “Leave the game at the rink. In all the years and games we’ve carted Ty to, we’ve never talked about the game after. Good or bad. He knew on both accounts. That’s how we supported him.”

Now that Collins is a Guelph Storm, instead of watching the Barrie Colts he will be playing against them at the high-skill level he once so admired.

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