A’Burg sends five players to U17 camp


By Joel Charron

Five Amherstburg Stars have been invited to participate in the OMHA Regional Under 17 Evaluation Camp.

Daniel Tonietto, Josh Lafamboise, Ryan Holzel and Zak Parlette of the Midget Minor squad and Mitch Topliffe of the Midget Major team are all heading to Brampton on April 20-22 in hopes of scoring a spot on Team Canada’s U17 team.

The OMHA conducts four Regional Under 17 Evaluation Camps each year. Each camp selects 68 Minor Midget-aged players to participate in a weekend program that involves on-ice/off-ice evaluation, as well as career path instruction. Seventeen players including two goaltenders will be selected from each Regional Evaluation Camp to attend the OMHA Under 17 Final Camp in May 2012.

From this Final Evaluation Camp, players will be selected to attend the Team Ontario Under 17 Provincial Selection Camp, which will identify players for participation in such events as the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. Three other camps will be held in Grimby, Midland and Oshawa. Each regional camp program features one practice prior to round robin games, three round robin games, full fitness testing and evaluation under the supervision of Master Course Conductors from the OMHA Trainers Program and guest speakers on career options and fitness and nutrition education.

Vice president of Amherstburg travel hockey, Paul Tonietto said having five players invited to a U17 camp says a lot for a center of Amherstburg’s size.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of year of work for these kids,” said Tonietto. “It’s not any one thing that got them here, it’s the passion for the game and the dedication of making it to the next level.”

Tonietto noted that of the eight players chosen out of the Bluewater League five of them are Amherstburg Stars.

“We’ve had a lot of good coaches with these kids throughout the years and it’s nice to see

Five of the eight players invited to the U17 camp from the Bluewater League are Amherstburg Stars. Back row (L to R) Zak Parlette, Josh Laframboise and Ryan Holzel. Front row (L to R) Daniel Tonietto and Mitch Topliffe.

some of the kids getting recognition from this area,” he said.

All five players understand the opportunity they have before them and hope to leave a lasting impression on the U17 evaluators.

Daniel, 15, said it was an “honour” just to be chosen for the camp and is happy to see his hard work is paying off.

“I worked hard to get here,” said Daniel. ‘I just want to play my best and hopefully someone notices me.”

The 5’11”, 190-pound goalie said he’s looking forward to gaining some experience at playing at a high level.

Topliffe, 15, said he’s excited to play against Ontario’s elite players.

“This is great opportunity to see what’s out there,” said Topliffe. ‘We’re going to be going up against the best players in this part of Ontario. I want to see how I’ll do.”

Topliffe a six foot, 160-pound goalie said he has been in the gym almost everyday preparing for the camp.

“I wanted to make sure I’m in great shape. There are going to be some really good players there and I want to be one of them,” he said. “I want to show them that Amherstburg boys know how to play the game.”

Parlette, 16, said it’s a good feeling to be one of five players from Amherstburg to be chosen.

“We’re a small town and to have five guys going to this camp, just shows that we work hard and take our hockey seriously,” he said.

The six foot, 160 pound defenseman said he feels very good heading into the week leading up to the U17, stating that he’s been on the ice any chance he gets.

“I plan on just working hard and trying to showcase my skills,” he said. “It will be fun to play with players that I’ve never shared the ice with before.”

Holzel, 15 said he’s “proud” to represent Amherstburg at the U17 and understands that a good showing at the camp can lead to some thing bigger and better.

“If any one of us has a good camp that could open so many more doors for us,” said Holzel.

The 5’10” 165 pound right-winger said he hopes his skills will do the talking for him while he’s on the ice.

“If I play like I know I can then everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “I plan on going out and leaving everything on the ice.”

Laframboise, 15, said he hopes the evaluators notice his skating and the ability to drive to the net with strength. He also mentioned that he’s excited to see what the competition outside of Amherstburg is like.

“It’s a good chance to see what I’m up against,” said Laframboise. “I want to see what Ontario hockey players are all about.”

The six-foot, 160-pound left-winger said just attending the U17 camp is a boost to his confidence.

“I think this camp will improve my game,” he said. “I think it will force me to look at the game in a different light.”

Although the all five will be attending the camp together, they all know they is a very good possibility that they won’t be playing on the same team. However, just knowing that there are a few friends they can confide in during the camp gives them all some peace of mind.

“I know I’ll feel a little more comfortable knowing that some of my friends will be there,” said Daniel.

Although, all five players are happy they all got invites, when the puck drops, the competition begins.

“There will be friendly competition between us for sure,” said Topliffe. “I want to make it to the next level and I plan on playing my butt off to make it there.”

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