As the Ontario Hockey League draft approaches, William McFadden of the U16 AAA Peterborough Minor Petes is ready to take the next step.
The star forward finished second in OMHA’s Eastern AAA Hockey League scoring with 52 goals and 48 assists in 44 games and while his individual play has been nothing short of spectacular, he’s been relishing his club’s collective success.
“The teammates I have right now in Peterborough are probably one of the best I've ever had, very encouraging, and they just make you want to show up every day and work as hard as you can,” said McFadden, “A fantastic team of great guys. On and off the ice we all support each other we work hard for each other we make each other want to be better.”
The projected first-round pick has been preparing for this moment for a long time.
First on skates at the age of two, McFadden was doing drills with his father, Mark, using pizza boxes, chairs, and sleds. By the time he was five, McFadden was picking up the skills of the game incredibly quickly.
“He just seemed to go out there and just skate around was really good stickhandling. It just came naturally to him,” said McFadden’s mother Robynn.
Growing up in Peterborough, the McFaddens had a surplus of rinks at their disposal. One in particular was special to McFadden – an outdoor rink at the home of close family friends, the Jones family. It was there he continued to work on his skating and to watch Tristan Jones, someone who he refers to as a cousin.
Jones, a triathlete for Queen’s University of Charlotte ranked 390th in the world, was a role model to McFadden, providing inspiration and even a jersey number.
“He wore No. 12 growing up…it's been my number since novice,” McFadden explained.
As he continued to round out his game McFadden met coach Mike Farrugia through additional training, and the two have a strong connection beginning when McFadden was eight.
“He's always put to development first always had extra ice where you can practice, you can just get better,” McFadden said. “He also brought the training equipment to the practices to just help us with like our edges or hands, just basically every single part of the game, just to get us to be that next level.”
Another level awaits McFadden next season, a future with OHL hockey in sight.
“I do believe Wil is ready,” said Robynn. “He's pretty good with handling the pressure…just managing all that and a lot of interviews with different OHL teams… he's really humble and kind and doesn't allow any of it to really get to his head.”
When asked if she felt she was ready for her son to leave home, McFadden’s mother quickly responded, “Oh not at all,” but added, “I’m excited for him…I will support him in any way he needs.”
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Zach Friedman is a student in the Sport Journalism post-grad program at Centennial College. Follow him on Twitter @zach_friedman14