Whether it be an afternoon spent fishing with his dad, learning to play a new Darius Rucker song on his guitar or making final preparations before the Ontario Hockey League draft, Carson Cameron is focused on doing the little things right.
That approach has served the U16 AAA Central Ontario Wolves captain well, especially on the ice.
The six-foot-one defenceman’s achievements speak for themselves, leading his team to the OMHA Championship finals in consecutive seasons, and helping Team Ontario win gold at the Canada Winter Games in February.
But beyond his on-ice skills, his emphasis on team wins over personal accolades, and the responsibilities of being a good teammate are representative of qualities that help him find success.
“Leading by example,” said Cameron. “Things like blocking shots, taking hits and just doing whatever it takes to win. I’ve definitely taken on more of a vocal role now, making sure the boys are ready to go and holding them accountable.”
The native of Bobcaygeon, Ont., likens his style of play to that of Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar, a gifted playmaker on the blue line.
This season, Cameron scored 15 goals with 25 assists in 34 ETA League games, sitting second in points on the Wolves, but similar to Makar, he brings more to the table than just point-scoring.
“(Makar’s) talent on the ice is pretty cool to watch,” said Cameron. “It’s the little things he does in the defensive zone that make him more fun for me.”
Cameron’s father, Daryl, first realized the potential that his son had after hearing other parents rave about his talent in the stands. But while the 15-year-old’s play has long been a source of pride, the person his son is becoming is even more meaningful to him.
“Through school he’s gotten so many character awards,” said Daryl. “Parents have come up to us for him sticking up for people being bullied, he was the valedictorian of his public school, and he even had the highest average, too. There’s lots to be proud of. I could go on for a long time.”
The looming OHL draft can be taxing but Daryl wants his son to enjoy these moments, and to cherish the connections he’s made with his teammates as he prepares for the next step in his hockey career.
“Twenty years from now, it’s all about the people you meet and the friends you make,” said Daryl. “That’s what I think the ultimate goal is, just to make as many buddies as you can."
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Sam Oziel is a student in the Sport Journalism post-grad program at Centennial College. Follow him on Twitter @sam_oziel