A Simcoe teen’s hockey dreams came true during the OHL priority selection draft.
Ryan VanNetten was chosen in the 11th round (216th overall) by the Flint Firebirds in the 15-round draft.
The 16-year-old defenceman has been eagerly awaiting this draft for years.
“It was a great feeling, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time,” said VanNetten. “Seeing my name pop up on the screen was a relief, I was just so excited.”
Scott Rex, head coach of the Brantford 99ers, said the five-foot-nine, 135-pound defenceman has a high hockey IQ.
“He definitely should have gone considerably higher in our eyes,” he said.
“He was the ultimate defenceman for us, both ways, offence and defence.”
Four of VanNetten’s Brantford teammates were also drafted over the weekend, but to different teams.
VanNetten looks forward to meeting them for the first time on opposite ends of the ice.
“It will be different, I’ve suited up with them my entire life,” he said. “Playing against them will be really, really different but it will be fun.”
VanNetten is ready to meet everyone in the Firebirds organization and playing at a professional level.
“I’m just looking forward to camp to start up.”