Delhi’s Landon McCallum excited for second OHL season
Landon McCallum is eager to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind him and get back on the ice for his second OHL season with the Sudbury Wolves.
“I can’t wait,” said the 16-year-old Delhi native.
“I’m a pretty competitive kid and I want to prove to people that I’m good. Hopefully, I go off and make a bang in the league.”
In spring 2019, McCallum saw a tremendous Brantford Minor Hockey Association career culminate with his selection in the first round (15th overall) of the OHL Priority Selection by the Wolves, who are coached by two-time Stanley Cup champion Cory Stillman.
“It was awesome,” the five-foot-10, 160-pound forward said of being drafted by the Wolves, noting that senior team officials visited him before the draft.
“Coming to my house showed me how dedicated they are.”
McCallum hit a snag in his training when he broke his collarbone during a workout last spring.
That set him back when he arrived in Sudbury to prepare for the season but coaches worked with him on his shot and skating so that he would be ready when he made his debut.
“It didn’t take me too long to catch up to my potential but I think if I had a full summer I would have been better off,” said McCallum, noting that the speed and size of the players at the OHL level is eye-opening.
The broken collarbone also scuttled an invitation to Hockey Canada’s under-17 developmental camp last July. Also, up in the air was if he would play in November’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
“Luckily enough, I got a shot….” said the son of Cheri and Marc.
At the world challenge, McCallum played on Canada Black, which lost 8-4 in the quarter-finals to the eventual champions from Russia.
“I got to play with good guys,” said McCallum, who was on the same team as Shane Wright, who went on to win the 2019-20 OHL rookie of the year award with the Kingston Frontenacs.
“It was a really good experience. I can’t thank the coaches and GM enough for taking me without seeing me at camp.”
In Sudbury, McCallum got to see another future NHL superstar up close as he played with Quinton Byfield, the 2018-19 OHL rookie of the year.
McCallum scored two goals and added four assists in 52 games. He said his coaches told him not to worry about the points and to focus on his development.
“I don’t want to make any excuses for myself,” he said.
“I had a good opportunity to succeed but, having a slow start with my collarbone, it took me longer to get into the line-up and secure a name for myself. I think if I was healthy, I would have had a chance to prove myself more and stay on a higher line all year.
“I adapted to my role.”
McCallum didn’t get a chance to make his post-season debut in the OHL as the season was eventually cancelled with a handful of regular-season games remaining because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wolves had an older team and McCallum would have liked to see what they could have done in the playoffs.
“I think any team thinks it has a shot to win,” he said. “In playoffs, everyone has a chance.
“We had a good team with good leadership. I would say we had a shot at making a little bounce in the playoffs.”
With one season under his belt, McCallum is busy preparing for his second season. His main focus is to get better and help the Wolves win.
Like most young hockey players, he dreams of the playing in the NHL. The first step may come next spring when he’s eligible to be selected in the draft.
“I’d like to play in the NHL and hopefully win a Stanley Cup and be a champion one day,” said McCallum.
“If I play my best hockey, we’ll see what happens and hope for the best.”