From nearly last to nearly first -Thu., Jan 19, 2017 | By Scott Radley, News (Hamilton Jr Bulldogs)

PrintNews Article
Click to view full-size image
From nearly last to nearly first -Thu., Jan 19, 2017 | By Scott Radley
Submitted By Dianne Skirving on Saturday, January 21, 2017
He hasn't forgotten that Saturday morning, sitting in the basement of his Stoney Creek home with his dad watching the Ontario Hockey League draft on his phone. Waiting — hoping — he might hear his name called. Teammate after teammate from his powerhouse minor midget team was selected. Future Hamilton Bulldog Brandon Saigeon, future Peterborough Pete Matthew Timms, future Flint Firebird Nick Caamano and on and on. But not him. He was happy for them all, but still ….

Brendan D'Agostino had great numbers with the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs. He was third in scoring on a team that would eventually see 14 players chosen. He'd fired the overtime winner a few years earlier to win the all-Ontario championship. He was a good player. Yet his teammates kept popping up on the board and he was still waiting.

Simply put, he had a size problem. He could score all the goals and collect all the assists he wanted, but at a slim five-foot-eight, he could do nothing about his stature. So he waited, and waited, and waited.

A couple hours into the process, he couldn't be bothered anymore. Ten rounds of frustration were all he could take. He shut off the phone and went outside to shoot hoops with a neighbour.

An hour or so later his game was interrupted.

"My mom came outside and told me I got drafted by North Bay," he says.

The Battalion had taken him in the 14th round of a 15-round draft. Two hundred and seventy three players had already been chosen. Heck, he wasn't even the first D'Agostino taken. But he was taken. That's something.

It turns out the family had relatives up north who were willing to billet him. So he moved up there as a 16-year-old to take his best shot.

"I knew deep down in my heart I could compete with bigger guys," D'Agostino says.

Trouble is, the number of guys who crack an OHL lineup — let alone become a factor in the league — from that spot in the draft can be counted on one hand of one careless butcher. As a result, it wasn't a shock when he didn't make the Battalion roster as a rookie.

The team sent him to the provincial Jr. A Powassan Voodoo. Don't worry, he'd never heard of the place either. It's a tiny town of 3,300 south of North Bay. He played well but ran into a brick wall with the OHL team again the next fall. Once more there was no room for him.

Then 13 games into last season, he landed with the Jr. B Thorold Blackhawks. Suddenly, the old Brendan D'Agostino reappeared. In 29 games he collected 32 points. That bolstered his shaken confidence.

When the puck dropped on this season he started tearing up the league. He scored five points in his third game. Then three the next night. Followed by two, then three, three, four, two and four. The game he didn't get multiple points became the rarity.

Only six times all season has he not found the scoresheet. When he was traded from a rebuilding Thorold team to a contending Chatham Maroons squad two weeks ago, he just kept going.

He's now second in league scoring at nearly two points a game, despite being just 18 in a league that's usually dominated by 20 year olds.

Oh, and he's grown. Now five-foot-eleven, he's getting interest from American universities that are interested in giving him a scholarship. Which he plans to take, though he's not sure where, yet.

He still watches his buddies in the OHL — seven have played in the league — but swears he doesn't wish things had gone differently. He insists he's not even disappointed he hadn't had that growth spurt a year or two sooner. Not anymore. If he had, things wouldn't be playing out as they are.

"I have a lot of faith in God," he says. "I know everything happened for a reason."

[email protected]

905-526-2440 | @radleyatthespec

Spectator columnist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show weeknights from 7-9 on 900CHML


This article has been viewed 1515 times.
Social Networking
Follow Us On
Follow Hamilton Jr Bulldogs on Twitter
Quick Links
Manage Subscriptions
Signup to receive email or text messages for the teams you want to follow.
News ArchiveOther Recent Articles
  • 04
    The 2021-22 fall tryouts bring many new policies in place for different divisions so we thought that by separating the tryout process might make it easier for the players and families to try out for the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.
  • 02
    The Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs organization will be holding checking clinics for U14 (2008) and U15 (2007) divisions.  These clinics are available to all players who register online for Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs 2021-22 Fall Tryouts.  There is no cost for ...
  • 28
    The HJB Board of Directors, Coaches and Development Team are very excited to begin the 2021-22 season and are looking forward to welcoming all Players and their Families to our Fall Tryouts which will begin on Wednesday, September 8th and run ...
  • 21
    The Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs are pleased to announce our 2021-2022 Coaches!  Click on the image to obtain information on which team they will be coaching, their name and contact information. We look forward to the upcoming season and can't wait ...
  • 28
    The Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs are excited to be hosting our 29th Annual Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs AAA Hockey Classic on the weekend of December 3 to December 5, 2021.  To kick off the reopening of “Hockey after Covid” we have decided to keep our ...
  • 09
    On June 9th, 2021,  the fifth annual OHL Under-18 Priority Selection took place and this year two Hamilton Jr. Bulldog players were selected, bringing the total number of HJB players drafted to the OHL in 2021 to ten. 1st Round - 4th Overall - ...
  • 06
    On Friday June 4th, the 2021 OHL Priority Selection kicked off with the first three rounds taking place and the following 12 rounds occurring on Saturday June 5th. This year the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs are proud to announce that 8 players were ...
  • 05
    By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 05/04/21, 7:30PM EDT DECADES OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE TO MINOR HOCKEY IN HAMILTON For his decades of service to the minor hockey community in the Hamilton area, Neil Skirving has been named the recipient of the ...
Printed from on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 9:37 PM