Ty Dellandrea hopes to be a part of the culture change with the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds.
The 15-year-old forward was the first round selection, fifth overall, by the Firebirds at the OHL Priority Selection on Saturday.
“I think they were more (concerned) certainly a week ago than they are now,” said agent Todd Reynolds of Dellandrea’s family. “They're really excited about it. They want to be apart of the solution there; they want to be a part of a culture change, improved team and so on. Ty sees it as a real challenge.”
The 5-foot-11, 174-pound Port Perry, Ont. native scored 35 goals and 55 points in 35 games with the Midget Minor triple-A Central Ontario Wolves this past season.
Reynolds believes the steps taken by OHL commissioner David Branch this week will see the organization head in the right direction
“It's like any other team that drafts a player,” he said “Your hope, your expectations, your faith is that its going to be a good situation when you get there in the fall and they just have some more questions and uncertainty attached to them than most teams do.
“But it appears that everyone in charge is working towards making it a good situation come September. We have confidence that that is going to happen, but time will (tell).”
Dellandrea’s solid season with the Wolves saw him receive a call up to the Whitby Fury of thee Ontario Junior Hockey League where he registered six points in three playoff games.
“We really believe that Ty will fit right in to our hockey club instantly,” Firebirds GM Terry Christensen said in a statement. “He’ll be a very talented center iceman for us and bring offense to the table from the start. The best thing about him is that he has great character, is a real good citizen and comes from a good family.”
For now, the plan is for Dellandrea to report to his new OHL club.
“That's the expectation,” Reynolds said. “There's still something’s that need to be resolved there. But he's definitely going to report, and show up and go through that process. We'll monitor the changes that are taking place and we expect that everything is going to workout well.”
Reynolds said he’s had multiple conversations with Joe Birch and David Branch, who are now overseeing operations of the Firebirds, in the 48 hours leading up to the draft.
“With the people that are making the decisions there now, (Dellandrea) is confident it's going to work out well,” Reynolds said. “There's been a lot of detailed drama in the media, but I think with the steps that the league has taken, the family is comfortable with that.”
The Firebirds made three selections in the second round taking Hunter Holmes (22), Dennis Busby (23) and Jack Wismer. In the third round Flint took Ryan Littlejohn (48).
The Guelph Storm selected defenceman Ryan Merkley with the first overall selection on Saturday, Sudbury picked blue liner Owen Lalonde second overall and centre Connor Roberts went to the Hamilton Bulldogs rounding out the top three picks.
Russian forward Kirill Nizhnikov, who was projected by some to go first overall, dropped to seventh and went to the Mississauga Steelheads. According to Nizhnikov’s agent, Darren Ferris, the 16-year-old is entertaining offers from a professional club in Russia. Ferris told Yahoo following the first round of Saturday’s draft that his client would be weighing his options next week.
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