Getting passed over in the Ontario Hockey League draft a year ago lit a fire inside of Domenic Battaglia and he’s showing it in his play with the U18 AAA Richmond Hill Coyotes this season.
“I was motivated to get better every time I was in the gym and also on the ice in practice and during games,” said the 16-year-old forward who led his team with 24 goals and 29 assists in 42 games this season. “I got over it, but it helped me so much.”
Battaglia joined the Coyotes after helping the Markham Waxers reach the OHL Cup quarter-finals a year ago and believes he has the potential to be a serviceable OHL player as a two-way forward who “can use my hockey IQ and my compete on the ice defensively and offensively.”
Coyotes head coach Mark Joslin agrees, noting that the five-foot-11, 170-pounder is still maturing physically.
“Hockey IQ-wise, coachability, commitment and passion, he can compete at the next level no problem,” added Joslin. “He is on the first power-play unit, he is on our first penalty-kill unit and he has been our faceoff leader in win percentage. He is not overly heavy weight wise or with height, but he plays big and physical.”
Michael Sukut is a student in the Sport Journalism post-grad program at Centennial College. Follow him on Twitter @msukut91gmailc1
Battaglia’s impact on his team extends beyond on-ice contributions.
Coyotes defenceman Andrew Artenosi, one of his close friends on the team, says Battaglia helps him push for better.
“Last year I didn’t really know where I stood as a hockey player,” said Artenosi. “Joslin called me for a couple of skates, and I feel like I did really well. I worked hard with Dom, who has pushed me a lot and makes people around him better.”
Battaglia and Artenosi train together with Gary Roberts in the summer.
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“You are on and off the ice pretty much every day for a couple of hours,” says Battaglia. “Gary has been on nutrition and that has been helping me lately. A couple days of weight training and a couple days of dryland as well.”
As a 2006-born player, Battaglia has one more year of AAA eligibility before his minor hockey career comes to an end.
“Take it as it comes,” says Battaglia, “but I would like to play some Junior A and just go wherever I can.”