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OTTAWA – The Ottawa Jr. Senators are proud to announce the signing of defenseman Brendan Bays, a local product who spent the last two seasons with the club’s Midget AAA team.

The 6’0, 185 lbs right handed rearguard was sent back to the Midget team at the end of tryouts last season, but he wouldn’t be denied by the big club a second time.

“I was pretty disappointed when I was sent back to Midget last year. In the end though, it was for the best, it put a chip on my shoulder and gave me motivation. I had a great year in Midget and I was around the Junior team a lot as an affiliated player. I’m a much better and more confident player now.”

Most of his games with the Junior team came near the end of the season when the Ottawa Jr. Senators suffered important losses on the back end. Bays thinks the experience gained at the Fred Page Cup and National Junior A Championship can only help him going forward.

“Playing in the Regional and National championships gave me tons of confidence. It gave me a chance to get used to the speed of Junior A hockey and understand the compete level that’s required to win at this level. I got to know the guys on the team as well as the coaching staff. Now I know what it takes to win these tournaments and how hard we’ll have to work to get there again next season.”

Bays describes himself as a two-way defenseman that knows when to keep it simple, and when to join the rush.

“I think I am very well rounded. I play a complete game. I am strong defensively and can play a physical game along with moving pucks quick and getting up in the rush to create offensive chances. I play a team game and I like structure, so I think OJS is a good fit for me. More and more, my offense is coming along and I see that getting better and better in the future. Most of all, I’m competitive and I like to win.”

The 17 year old defenceman, just like his good friend and new teammate Thomas Freel, was drafted by the Ottawa Jr. Senators. He was a fifth round pick in 2017. A total of 48 players were taken before him, but only four of them, like Bays, have spent time in the CCHL so far. That says a lot about him as a competitor. It also suggests that he has been well supported over the past few years by not only family members, but also minor hockey coaches.

“My dad has had the biggest influence on my career with everything he does for me. My grandfather “Bubba”, who was a great inspiration for me, was also my biggest fan. For coaches, Brian Gillam, from the Ottawa Jr. 67’s Major Bantam team, helped me a lot. He was the first coach, I think, who really saw my potential. Then, Steve Mallette and his staff really pushed me to be better over the last two years at the Midget level.”