Hayden Hodgson had a great summer playing baseball, headlined by two no-hitters. Yet that success, and the potential that comes with being a left-handed pitcher that throws nearly 90 mph, couldn’t keep him from choosing to focus on hockey.
Hodgson made it official Wednesday, as he joined fellow 2012 high-round picks Justin Felker (second round), Kyle Pettit (second) and Riley Robertson (third) in agreeing to terms with the Erie Otters.
“You want to follow your dream and do what you want,” said Hodgson, a third-round pick. “That’s important to me, and that’s important to my family. I leaned towards the sport that I really enjoy the most – hockey. The opportunity and the options at this level really swung me over.”
* Changing his mind?: In April, Millcreek Township native Nate Miller said he would pursue a career as an OHL goaltender. Since then, the Otters have added highly touted CHL pick Oscar Dansk and newly acquired Keinan Brown to their depth in net. Now Miller isn’t as sure about a future in the OHL.
“I don’t want to play as a backup (in the OHL) and ruin my college eligibility,” said Miller, who will play for the Toledo Cherokee in the North American Tier III Hockey League this coming season. “If I were to play her, I’d want a good chance to play and not sit on the bench.”
Miller, who hopes to earn a college scholarship in the future, isn’t surprised about the Otters’ moves in goal. “I expected it to happen,” he said. “But I wanted to prepare myself anyway in case I got the opportunity.”
* Numbers game: Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, wishes he could have kept Robertson and fellow 2012 picks Darren Raddysh (fifth round), Gregory Allen (sixth) and Bryan Sienerth (13th).
But the league rule limiting teams to four under-agers (five with a goalie) prompted Bassin to cut all four prospects today. Felker, Pettit and Hodgson likely will join No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid on the roster this season.
“If players aren’t going to play for you this year, get them back to school and to their (Tier II) team,” said Bassin, who described Sienerth, a Millcreek Township, as “outstanding.”
* News and notes: Club officials sent a contract offer for Russian D Artem Kuleshov to his agent, former NHL goaltender MIke Liut, today. No word yet if an agreement was reached. … Former Otters D Paul Cianfrini participated in the afternoon practice today. He spent the 2011-12 season with Toledo (ECHL), and had re-signed with the Walleye. But he recently signed with Rapid City (CHL) after the possible NHL lockout cost him a spot in Toledo. Prospects from Chicago and Detroit would fill those spots in Toledo if a lockout occurs.
- Victor Fernandes