With the benefit of some inside information, Calum Mangone wasn’t shocked on Wednesday.
Neither was Adam Barone, although Barone was somewhat surprised.
The two Sault natives, members of the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under-18 Hockey League, were among the first six players chosen in the Ontario Hockey League’s U18 Draft.
The two-round selection process allows players born in 2004, who were bypassed in their normal draft years a season ago, to join OHL organizations.
Mangone, a right-winger who stands a little over five-foot-eight and weighs 155 pounds, was chosen second overall by the Saginaw Spirit.
Barone, a five-foot-11, 190-pound defenceman, went sixth overall to the Sudbury Wolves.
“I was in close contact with Saginaw and they had the most interest in me,” Mangone told The Sault Star. “Their general manager, Dave Drinkill, called me last night (Tuesday) and let me know they were going to take me second overall.”
The 16-year-old Mangone called it an honour to be selected, noting how “it was my goal from Day 1, when I was a kid, to play in the OHL.”
As such, he spoke of how he’ll definitely report to training camp with a goal of making the team for the 2021-2022 season.
Asked about his skill set, Mangone said he believed it begins “definitely with my skill and play-making ability. And I also have a sneaky shot. I’m a good skater, but I can always get better.”
Asked about the 2020 draft, Mangone admitted it was “definitely frustrating. But not everyone gets drafted. I worked hard and just kept getting one percent better each day.”
“I was surprised and excited,” Barone said of his selection by the Wolves. “I didn’t expect to go that high. I’m thrilled.”
The 17-year-old talked about how he’s always wanted to play in the OHL, calling it a dream. There’s no doubt he’ll report for training camp, he added.
“I’ll go to camp determined to make the team. That’s my goal,” Barone added.
Asked what makes him tick as a player, the rearguard answered quickly.
“I see myself as an offensive defenceman,” he said. “I think my skating is the best part of my game, along with my hockey IQ.”
Barone also noted how he’s proficient when it comes to finding the open man.
Being bypassed at the 2020 draft surely wasn’t an easy experience, he said.
“No, not being drafted last year was tough,” he admitted. “But I’ve been using it as motivation.”
Prior to Wednesday, Jr. Hounds head coach Jamie Henderson predicted both players would be rewarded in the U18 Draft.
In an interview with The Sault Star, he called Mangone and Barone “two of the best undrafted 2004s in the province. We’ll see that on Wednesday. They were really close to being drafted last year. It was difficult for them, but they used it as motivation, and they were good for us all season.”