SOUTH DUNDAS – An Iroquois teen has made it one step further in his youth hockey career after being selected in the first round at the Central Canada Hockey League draft last week.
Rory Gilmour, 14, was selected by the Kemptville ‘73s hockey club at the CCHL’s Bantam Protected Draft held March 16th.
“Kemptville is a great team and an organization that’s close to home too,” Gilmour told The Leader after the draft. “Being selected in the first round is a big accomplishment for me in my hockey career.”
Gilmour, a Grade 9 student at Seaway District High School, is taking his youth hockey career one step at a time.
While he would like to make the Jr. A roster for the 2021-22 season, he acknowledged a 14-year old earning a spot in the first year is rare.
His goal is to earn his way on to the ‘73’s Under-18 team. Kemptville’s U18 team is coached by former Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators forward Shean Donovan.
“I am pretty excited to learn from him,” said Gilmour. “Hopefully, if I work hard I will get out to a few practices with the Jr. A squad and get to see the speed at that level.”
The hockey season leading up to the draft has been like no other. In fact it has been largely non-existent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions on playing time. Gilmour said that it was difficult to get into the swing of things with the shutdowns, gyms closing, and there being no league play.
“I really miss the time with my teammates,” he said adding that he has continued training throughout. “I’ve been trying to keep my speed, build muscle, and stay in shape by working out at home and running.”
Outside of hockey, Gilmour likes to be on the golf course when he is not in school, training, or working to help pay for his hockey. He previously played baseball with the Seaway Surge but had to make a choice due to time commitments. All this has been with a goal of going further in hockey.
“Just like any young hockey player, I would love to go pro,” he said.
Gilmour said the upcoming year, his first at the Under-18 (formerly Midget) level is very important for his future.
“Right now, I am just trying to take it one step at a time.”
Gilmour played three years with the AAA Upper Canada Cyclones. In the 2019-20 season the left shooting defenceman scored 14 goals and notched nine assists in 29 games. Before joining the Cyclones three years ago, he played four seasons with the Rideau St. Lawrence Kings organization, and began playing youth hockey with the South Dundas Lions for one season.
Gilmour has also played in several international tournaments and was set to go to Finland in 2020. That trip was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Gilmour has some hockey pedigree in his family. Older brother Curran was also drafted in the CCHL draft in 2017. He is currently with the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Richmond Royals. Both parents also played competitive hockey, his dad Dale played junior hockey, and his mom Carrie played university hockey.
Gilmour said he is very lucky to have the support he has had so far in his youth hockey career.
“I have had coaches and trainers who have helped me all along the way,” said Gilmour.
Besides obvious support from his parents, he said his grandfather Wayne Barkley, has been very supportive of his hockey career.
“He is always checking in on me, making sure I train and eat right,” Gilmour said. “And if he had his way, he would never miss a game.”
Leading into the summer, Gilmour has two US-based tournaments to play in, if pandemic restrictions allow for travel. The first is the Battle of Buffalo tournament in Buffalo, NY; the other is the World Selects Invitational tournament in Philadelphia.
“I am really hoping the borders open for that,” he said.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader