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Former OJS U18 captain inks deal with Jr A squad

Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Jr. Senators are pleased to announce the signing of former OJS U18 captain Tyler Vezina to the team for the 2020-2021 CCHL season.

Vezina, 18, grew up playing in the Gloucester Rangers Minor Hockey AA organization until being drafted 82nd overall by the Kanata Lasers back in 2017 before his first full taste at AAA hockey.

“I’ve loved the game my whole life, said the newly signed forward. “I hope I can keep playing it even past the Junior A level. As long as I keep working hard I believe I can get to those higher levels.” 

Last season, the Gloucester native played in 43 games under Steve Malette and the Ottawa Jr. Senators U18 squad, scoring 11 times, while adding 23 assists, for 34 points, as he captained the team to a first-place finish in the regular season prior to COVID-19 ending the season.

Martin Dagenais and the CCHL came calling eight times during the season, as Vezina suited up for his first look at junior A hockey, and feels like it’s his time to shine with the Jr. Senators.

“The feeling of getting to the junior A level is surreal, it’s hard to describe, said Vezina. “Ever since I was drafted into U18 it has been my goal to get to where I am now, and I couldn’t be any happier that it’s with this organization. The players and the coaches always take care of each other and I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team.”

For his part, Head Coach Martin Dagenais is very happy that a late-bloomer like Vezina was able to crack his roster.

“He fully deserves it. Here’s a kid who actually got release by his U18 team after his first year of AAA hockey. We picked him up and two years later, he’s now playing for our Junior A club. It says a lot about his work ethic and character. I also have to give credit to our U18 coach Steve Malette who gave the kid his real first shot.”

A late bloomer, Vezina nearly sextupled his point total from the 2018-2019 campaign, where the Jr. Senators took home the prestigious Leo Boivin Cup, skating alongside Mark MacPhee and Felix Schnell, along with former Jr. Senators Ranvir Gill-Shane and Brendan Bays.

“I can bring a lot of speed and energy into the game, added Vezina. “I am very committed to playing the game at a fast pace in all three zones. I can also bring help in battles as I’m not afraid to get into with anyone in the league. I also play very well off of the counterattack and odd-man rushes and attacking defensemen with speed.”

Vezina and the Jr. Senators continue practices and developmental scrimmages under the CCHL, HEO, and Hockey Canada’s framework to a safe return to play.

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