Gardiner Talks OHL Draft And Cyclones Season

Chatham-Kent Cyclones

Jacob Julien celebrates a Cyclones goal with his teammates – Photo by

The Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team was one of the few area teams to finish their season, but that doesn’t mean hockey is far from mind for the team with the OHL Draft approaching.

Dan Gardiner, head coach of the Cyclones Minor Midget team said he didn’t specifically focus on the draft with his team this year, but rather on the principles that will make them successful in the game regardless of the outcome of April 4th’s draft.

“I never focused specifically on the OHL draft, but would consistently convey to the players the importance of being positive, holding themselves accountable, and always working hard to reach their full potential,” said Gardiner. “If they live by those principles, doors will open this year or in the future whether it be the OHL, WHL, QMJHL, OUA, or American Schools.”

The Cyclones finished with a 7-23-3 record, struggling in the Alliance loop. While they have no clear prospects, a few players, including forwards Jacob Julien and Ryan Gagner, among other players on the Cyclones have a reasonable chance of being drafted.

Gardiner however wants his team to know that regardless of the outcome of the 2020 OHL Draft, their hockey journey is still ongoing, and their dreams are still possible.

“Athletes develop at different rates and ages everywhere,” said Gardiner. “If selected, just know there is someone who wasn’t selected and they are not going to give up trying to take your spot. Those that were not selected have all sorts of choices as to where to play next season. They may even choose another path, but as a hockey enthusiast, I would recommend continuing the sacrifice, hard work and development to be that athlete to take someone’s spot next year.”

For Gagner, that hard work mentality was crucial for his team this year. In terms of what he hopes scouts saw from his team, it was – attention to detail, a high level of compete, and consistency.

In all, Gardiner saw his team, which featured 9 new players from the Major Bantam version of the Cyclones, improve drastically throughout the season after a difficult start.

Whether selected or not in the April 4 OHL Draft, the journey is just beginning for the 2004 Chatham-Kent Cyclones.

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