Sep 09, 2008 | dmoffatt | 2193 views
Former Highlander drafted to OHL
Mike Schwindt signs with Ice Dogs.
From AAA through Jr. A, Mike Schwindt's ascent to the Ontario Hockey League has been a swift one. Turning 17 this fall, the Mount Forest native was offered an OHL contract last week, and became the newest member of the Niagara Ice Dogs. Mike is no stranger to the Ice Dogs organization, after being drafted in 2007 as a Grey Bruce AAA Highlander and then skating at the team's rookie camp and main camp last summer. He then landed in Tier II Jr. A with the Collingwood Blues. While the Blues were by no means a league powerhouse, Mike did greatly enjoy the experience and saw plently of ice time with work on the first unit power play and penalty kill. Schwindt also fit in a few practices with Niagara over the season, and was back at the Ice Dogs rookie training camp this past June. He said having already met the team helped smooth his transition to the OHL. Although nothing was carved in stone that Mike would become an Ice Dog for the '08/09 season, the team did drop a few hints they were interested. Two calls came earlier this summer asking Schwindt what hockey stick and sweater number he preferred. "I kind of figured they might sign me, but I didn't know when," Mike told the Confederate last week. This summer continues to see the tall, swift skating defencemen patrol the ice, with action in a Kitchener summer league alongside fellow Mount Forest talents Andy Coburn, Alex Sharpe and Scott Tregunna. Mike has also been in the gym, working out and preparing for the rigors of OHL. He said he is looking forward to playing for Niagara, and being in their home rink in St. Catharines. It is an older wooden arena with limited seating, where fans and players combine to create a lively atmosphere. "They sell out every game." He said he knows it's going to be a big jump moving to St. Catharines and joining an OHL franchise, but he is ready to work hard and give the team his best. "I'm going to try and keep getting better, and hopefully move my way up the lineup," he said. Word spread quickly that Schwindt signed with the Ice Dogs, but he won't have a lot of time to soak up any adulation. Training camp, and the bussiness of building a competitive team, begins in August for the squad. "I like going different places, meeting different people," he said, "and I've liked every step of the way. Now the real work starts."
Written by Chris Clark of the Mount Forest Confederate