Grayson Ladd Embraces Leadership Role With Spitfires

Ladd and Spitfires netminder Kyle Downey – Photo by OHL Images

Kent Bridge’s Grayson Ladd isn’t old, but he’s definitely a veteran.

The 20-year-old is in his final season of OHL hockey, and with the exception of a brief stint with the Kitchener Rangers, the team who drafted him 13th overall in 2017, Ladd has spent the entirety of his career with the Windsor Spitfires.

After missing all of last season due to the pandemic, Ladd is thrilled to get to close out his OHL career this year.

“It’s obviously awesome and exciting to be back in the ice. We all missed out on a year so it’s just real nice to be able to be back out there and playing meaningful games again.”

And with his return, and his status as a veteran, the Spitfires entrusted Ladd with a leadership role, naming him an assistant captain.

“I’ve always thought of myself as a leader so I’ve always tried to be a guy that leads. It is nice knowing the coaches can rely on me to be a leader and help out the younger guys and I just try to be a great teammate and give advice whenever the younger guys need help with something,” he explained.

“You look at all the leaders that have come through Windsor so it’s humbling knowing I can be continued on as one.”

The Spitfires themselves are considered contenders in the OHL’s Western Conference this season, a label Ladd believes is valid, given the chemistry and talent of the Spitfires’ roster.

“We have a great team and we are just starting to click together and come closer as a team. We have a good mix of older guys and younger ones and we all get along great with one another. The dressing room atmosphere is great, we have a ping pong table in the room so the boys can hangout and bond together so it’s great.”

If not for numerous injuries early in his OHL career, Ladd may have already been a prospect for an NHL team. Now however, he’s competing against the many undrafted veterans looking to earn a professional contract, or to continue their hockey career at the USports level. Ultimately however, Ladd plans to play professional hockey at one level or another.

“It’s hard to tell what’s next for me next year but I’m still trying to play for a contract and play pro hockey. Hopefully I have a great year and get offered somewhere to play but if not I’ll most likely end up gouge to school and playing hockey there and still continue to hopefully play professionally hockey one day.”

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