Shaun Bily is experiencing life in the OHL this weekend during the Erie Otters’ rookie development at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
But it could be Otters’ main camp in August before he chooses between the OHL and the NCAA.
“I’m undecided,” said Bily, the Otters’ third-round pick in last month’s Priority Selection who last October committed to join Northeastern as part of the Hockey East Association school’s 2016-17 recruiting class. “This is a great place. I see a lot of potential here. This is definitely a place where you can develop and get ready for the next level. Education wise, Northeastern is one of the best. There’s a lot of things that play into it. I’m just going to figure it out as I go.”
Bily broke his leg after getting tangled up with an opposing player while taking a faceoff against Detroit-based Victory Honda in the opening game of the 2013-14 season with the New Jersey Titans U16 club. He essentially missed the entire season.
While he recovered, Bily figured Northeastern was the best option. Then the Otters drafted a center with first-round potential.
“I got the feeling he wanted to play here,” said managing partner/GM Sherry Bassin, who planned to speak further with Bily and his family this weekend. “It’s a heck of an opportunity for him.”
* Making names for themselves: C Trent Fox (13th round, 2013) showed some glimpses of his brother, former Otters LW Dane Fox - who set a franchise record and led the CHL with 64 goals this past season – during Saturday’s scrimmage.
The younger Fox scored twice – once off a rebound, another with a strong move through two defenseman before scoring off a backhand. But fans shouldn’t expect a 64-goal season in his future. “I’m a different player,” he said. “I just work hard every shift. … I’ll get pucks deep and go to work on their defense. He’s a pretty skilled guy. He’s got a nice shot.”
LW Kyle Maksimovich (3rd round, 2014), younger brother of F Quentin Maksimovich, displayed speed and stick skills, especially when teamed with newly signed free-agent C Alex DeBrincat. “It’s pretty fast-paced. You’ve got to get going to keep with the guys,” the younger Maksimovich said. “I”ve just got to come here and work hard and compete.
Check out what RW Taylor Raddysh (1st round, 2014) had to say about being at camp and the help he’s received from his older brother, D Darren Raddysh by clicking the above link.
* Filling in on D: The Otters lose OA Spencer Abraham and could lose Troy Donnay (N.Y. Rangers), Kurtis MacDermid (Los Angeles) and Adam Pelech (N.Y. Islanders) to the professional ranks. So there are spots up for grabs on the blue line for the 2014-15 season. “I think the younger guys are going to have to play a bigger role,” Jesse Saban (2nd round, 2013) said. “We’re going to have to step in and fill the same role” played by promising young Ds Raddysh and Travis Dermott.
“Hopefully we can make it happen,” Saban said.
* Memorable experience: Millcreek Township native Nick Wilcox is the only local player participating in camp.
“It’s really hard work, and it’s lot of fun,” said Wilcox, a junior at McDowell who played for the West Seneca (N.Y.) Wings and Fairview High School this past season. “I was nervous in the beginning, but I got over that. I started having a lot of fun.”
He wants to use this experience to prepare to play for the Buffalo Regals U18 team. “The guys that are here have worked as hard as me,” he said. “I see how good they are. I try to build off that. I feel like I’m going to carry it over into my season.”
- Victor Fernandes