De Simone Selected by Niagara IceDogs in OHL Draft
In April, Grade 10 student Jonah De Simone realized a long time goal to be selected in the OHL draft. Chosen in the fourth round on OHL draft day, he was the third pick by the Niagara Ice Dogs and 70th overall.
“I knew I wanted to play for Niagara. I was ecstatic when I saw my name pop up on the screen [during the online draft],” recalls Jonah. Shortly thereafter, he received a call from Joey Burke, the IceDogs’ General Manager, welcoming him to the team.
Jonah began his hockey career 10 years ago playing in the Timbits minor hockey league in Richmond Hill. Since he demonstrated talent early on, his father sat him down at the end of the season and asked whether he wanted to play on the team that “travelled” or the one that “played at home.” He liked the idea of travelling, so his father prepared an intense summer training program and Jonah was rewarded with the final spot on the Richmond Hill Stars’ Super 7 AAA team the next season.
He has continued to play at the AAA level ever since, playing mostly for the North York Rangers in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), and this past year for the Mississauga Reps. Jonah has also played school hockey for The Country Day School every year since enrolling in Grade 7.
The 2017-18 season was a long and challenging one for the right winger from Richmond Hill. Leading up to the OHL Draft for his age group – Minor Midget – Junior team scouts were at every game. In December, he was selected to play in the GTHL’s Top Prospects Game and was coached by Toronto Maple Leafs’ legend Wendel Clark. This was a big game for young talent who hope to find their futures in the Ontario Hockey League.
Jonah remembers attending the Prospects game four years ago and watching current NHLers. “I saw former CDS students Victor Mete ’16 (Montreal Canadiens) and Jakob Chychrun ’16 (Arizona Coyotes) play. Achieving this milestone made me feel like all my hard work had been rewarded.”
Now his sights are set on the next goal – playing Junior hockey. Jonah thinks the OHL is the best way to pursue his dream of playing professionally one day. We wish him well!