Ottawa's time is now, 16-year-old says

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

The future is now for the Ottawa 67's with a young team and two of its 16-year-olds being regular contributors in the team's exceptional run into the Memorial Cup.

"We try not to look to next year," said 16-year-old Fergus resident Jamie McGinn. "We're focused on what we're doing this year and here right now in the Memorial Cup."

McGinn and fellow forward Aaron Alphonso, 16, have logged tons of ice time. McGinn, a rookie, scored the biggest goal of his life in the playoffs doing what he says he does best -- "crash and bang and get in front of the net."

It was April 27 at the Civic Centre in Ottawa. "I had pretty good energy. I went to the net. (Julian) Talbot made a neat move around the net and set me up," said McGinn.

The goal provided a 3-2 overtime victory for the 67's and an OHL semifinal sweep of the favoured Peterborough Petes.

McGinn is a left-winger playing with fifth-year Chris Hulit and Talbot, a 20-year old in his third year with the 67's. Alphonso is teamed with 17-year-old Pat Ouellette, a rookie off the Western junior B Tecumseh Chiefs, and third-year player Robbie Lawrance, making up one of the younger units in major junior.

Sixteen-year-old forwards Matt Lahey and Thomas Kiriakou, both of whom played sparingly this season, are waiting in the wings.

"I heard about Killer (head coach Brian Kilrea). Who doesn't know about Killer?" McGinn said of how the coach picks young players for development and brings them in to maintain a competitive team year after year. "It was just a pleasure to meet him."

McGinn played last year for the North York Junior Canadiens minor midgets, a team that had seven or eight players drafted by the OHL. Before that, he had played minor hockey in Fergus and Guelph and then was sought after by teams in Metro Toronto.

He describes himself as a forward "who is not afraid to hit anyone" and who throws his body around. He's six-foot-one and 180 pounds.

"I'm a Leafs fan so it was pretty hard going to North York," he said. "Pulling on a Habs jersey was tough." The North York Canadiens wear Montreal Canadiens uniforms.

In Grade 11, he was the 67's academic player of the year and also a member of the Ontario under-17 team.

Playing in the Memorial Cup in his rookie season is an exciting, rewarding experience, he said, especially because it was unforeseen.

This summer, McGinn will go home to hone his shot as a shooter at a goalie school, work out and play golf.


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