Ontario Junior Hockey League resident writer Ron Valentine is profiling the 2023-24 team captains acrossThe OJ.
BY RON VALENTINE
The new captain of the Collingwood Blues is off to a fast start this season. Dylan Hudon scored four goals and added three assists as his Blues opened the OJHL season with three straight wins last weekend.
The Rockwood native recorded 17 goals and 36 points in the regular campaign and then as the team rolled to the OJHL championship, he added 21 points, tops on the club, in his 18 postseason games.
Dylan was selected in the 2019 OHL draft by the Owen Sound Attack. This will be his third season in a Blues’ uniform.
Dylan got his hockey start in the Guelph Gryphons minor hockey system. “I bounced around from AA to AAA in the 10-plus seasons there. With COVID-19 wiping out the 2020-21 season I did not start with the Blues until the following year. When Dylan signed on the dotted line, General Manager Mike Tarantino commented: “Dylan is an exciting player to watch up front. He competes on every shift night in and night out.”
The new ‘C’ looks back at last season.
“It was obviously a very good one for us, winning the division and then dropping just two playoff games and sweeping two of the four series. Nothing is ever as easy as it might seem, but all the guys were committed to our game plan. Being a one-line team is not sustainable and we had the depth needed and at the end of the day we got through. In the last couple of months of the regular season and into the playoffs I got to play on a line with our captain Cam Garvey (now at Robert Morris University) and Mark McIntosh and we really clicked. Going to the Centennial Cup (in Portage-la-Prairie) was my best hockey experience so far. We started off with three straight wins then Portage scored a very late goal to beat us and then we did not play our best game against the Ottawa Jr. Senators, which left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. But overall it was a positive time.”
It’s Dylan’s first time as captain.
“I have worn the ‘A’ in minor hockey but never the ‘C’ so I’m really looking forward to the challenge. We will have a younger team this season but it will be my job to keep the excellent hockey culture here in Collingwood alive. Cam Garvey was a strong role model for us as the captain for the last two seasons and in minor hockey my current teammate Ethan Broderick taught me a lot but I will bring my own style into the room, I’m a little bit more vocal than Cam was but I’m following in the footsteps of a great leader.”
What kind of a player is Dylan?
“I’m an energetic forward. I like to make plays, especially in tight areas and I’m always trying to use my brain, my hockey IQ, out there. I can read and react to plays and I like to be physically involved although I’m not a big guy.” Dylan is listed as 5’8″ and 165 lbs.
Can the Blues repeat last year’s success and take one more step?
“Definitely. We will have our goalie, Noah Pak, back to be our anchor and the returning players know what it takes while we have added some new faces by the trade route. We are a very positive group with a knowledgeable and approachable coaching and management staff that make it a pleasure to play here.”
Dylan’s family is well known in harness racing circles across Canada with father Pat, Uncle Phil and half-brother Steven being regulars at Woodbine-Mohawk and many other Ontario tracks. “I enjoy being around the trotters and pacers and help out with the horses quite a bit but hockey is my priority and in my final season I really want to make a good impression. Like most players my goal is an NCAA Division 1 scholarship in the U.S. but I would be very happy playing in U SPORTS or Division 3. I have had a couple of early discussions; nothing concrete yet.”
On announcing No. 8 as his captain, head coach Andrew Campoli noted: “Dylan is the type of player and person that our fans and his teammates in Collingwood really look up to. He competes nightly, willingly continues to learn and grows and improves his game while helping his teammates along the path.”
The well-spoken 19-year-old will be leading by example and encouraging his teammates as his club takes aim at a second consecutive OJHL championship title.
Follow Ron Valentine on X @ronandlynda