London News & Search
After visiting the heights on one rung of the junior hockey ladder, Jordan Di Cicco plans to help another team make that climb, too.
The well-decorated defenceman, part of the Cobourg Cougars that won the Junior A RBC Cup this past season, re-signed with his hometown London Nationals — bridesmaids in the last two Sutherland Cup finals.
“I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” the 18-year-old former Knights pick said, “and we’ll have a really good year.”
The Nats, who open training camp Wednesday, have the makings of a powerhouse Junior B club. That’s a big reason why Di Cicco chose to come home again.
He was part of the London squad that lost the 2016 Ontario championship to grizzled Caledonia, who rolled through the playoffs undefeated, triggering tighter caps on 20-year-old veteran players.
“Cobourg was nothing but good to me,” Di Cicco said, “but they weren’t getting many guys back this year. At the end of the season, (London GM-coach) Pat Powers reached out to me and told me how the Nats are looking and how I could help them.
“We’ve got the team to get back to the Cup and this is where I want to be. There’s no place like home.”
London is losing defender Isaac Walker, who has signed with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, but the Nats are returning a veteran core that includes Brenden Trottier, Brandon Glover, Max Vinogradov, Carson Brookshaw and Derek Di Iorio.
Identical twins Mitchell and Jack Webb, 20-year-olds who previously played in the OHL together with Saginaw but most recently with the St. Catharines Falcons, have joined the Nats. Sudbury-area defender Brett Whitehead and former Kingston Voyageurs goaltender Zachary Springer are also on board.
The 18-year-old Springer, whose father Doug owns the OHL’s Frontenacs, was a standout for gold medal-winning Team Canada at the Maccabiah Games in Israel last month.
They will be part of a back end Di Cicco hopes to lead.
“I want to be a top (end) guy, add more offence but also take care of our own end,” he said. “We already have an older team, but having been through both the RBC Cup and Sutherland finals, I think I could use that experience to help us out.”
He’s been on a few long postseason runs the past few years. He isn’t expecting anything different this time around.
NATS SKED: London will play four pre-season games — two each against Sarnia and Strathroy starting Friday, Aug. 25, at Western Fair. The Nationals’ opening two tilts are against St. Catharines (Sept. 8) and defending champs Elmira (Sept. 10) in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League showcase weekend at Brantford.
London News & Search