Doughty's right at home

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Drew Doughty launched a 300-plus yard bomb down a West Haven fairway.

Impressive feat. More remarkably, no one at the inaugural Navigator Financial NHL charity golf tournament jeered it.

This is still London, right?

The 18-year-old recalled the John Labatt Centre razzing he received as he led his Guelph Storm to a five-game first-round playoff victory over his hometown team in the spring.

He indicated it's a good thing he didn't expect an apology after knocking off the Knights -- because nobody has offered one.

"I haven't had anyone come up to me yet and say sorry for all the booing," he said.

Perhaps if he burned the errant stick that cost Knights forward Akim Aliu a handful of teeth and then scored the overtime game-winner in the series opener, a truce could be called.

The door might be opened on a little more love for the hometown boy who went No. 2 overall in last month's NHL draft.

"That goal was a flukey one, but I was pretty excited because it was one of the first overtime goals I ever scored," the big defenceman said with a grin.

"It was a big win for me because the Knights beat us in my first year in the conference final. If I don't come back to Guelph, I'm going to miss playing in London."

This should make Knights fans happy -- it looks like the Los Angeles Kings will give the youngster every opportunity to make the difficult jump to the NHL blue-line.

Clubs have traditionally worried about giving too much responsibility to rookie defencemen too soon.

"The difference between Drew and, say, (Niagara's) Alex Pietrangelo is that Drew has three years in the OHL compared to two," said Doughty's agent, Mark Guy of Newport Sports. "He went to the world juniors and was a force there."

There is nothing left for Doughty to prove at the junior level.

The Knights and their fans are certainly ready to see him move up, knowing they won't be bombarded with the TV highlight replayed ad nauseum at the draft of the Storm star deking through every London player on the ice and scoring a last-second game-winner late in the regular season.

"The draft (in Ottawa) was the best experience of my life," Doughty said. "It was everything I thought it would be. I was a little nervous because, as everyone knew, I wanted to go to L.A. because I had watched them when I was growing up and it was a relief when they finally called my name."

He just got back from a trip to L.A. to visit the team's facilities and meet the club's key personnel. He also went to Calgary to take part in a ring ceremony for the world junior gold medal team.

"It was just a way for the world junior guys to come together again," he said.

While Doughty was gone, Guelph replaced head coach Dave Barr with Listowel native and seven-year assistant Jason Brooks.

"Dave was such a good OHL coach that it didn't surprise me that he would leave to take an NHL job (as an assistant with Colorado)," Doughty said. "And Jason Brooks, I've had him for three years and he's the same kind of coach that Dave is. He's going to be great for that team."

It remains to be seen if the team's greatest asset will be back in uniform for a fourth OHL season.

There will be a whole lot of opposing fans -- especially at the JLC -- who will say boo to that.


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