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Back on Track


(To view our January/February 2018 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

Highly touted as a fourth overall Midget draft selection, Grimsby’s Brandon Saigeon has shown determintation, perseverance to overcome early obstacles.

By Joanne MacDonald

Brandon Saigeon wears #17 for the Major Junior Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League, but his hometown Grimsby will always claim him as their own – and for lots of reasons that only start at centre ice.

Dynamic is a word sportswriters and scouts have used to describe his elite playing skills, competitive, driven, cerebral.

Off ice, he’s a thoughtful and respectful 19-year-old young man who measures every statement he makes to ensure it’s a nod of credit to the work of his entire team.

The Black and Gold went into the Christmas break on a five-game winning streak thanks to the 5-2 home-ice win Dec. 17 over the Peterborough Petes.

Before starting pre-school, Brandon was shooting tennis balls in the laneway by the hundred.

Hamilton’s powerplay was at work early in the first period. Ryan Moore scored to go ahead 1-0 and Saigeon also connected with the man advantage to make it 2-0 as the team cruised to the win.

Through 34 games, as of Christmas time, Saigeon leads the Bulldogs with 37 points, 17 of them goals. He also holds the top faceoff percentage on the team and leads the league in powerplay goals.

The Bulldogs wrapped up the first half of the regular season in first place in the East Division and first overall in the Eastern Conference. They’re in the thick of it and as of late December the Bulldogs stood with 48 points in 34 games with 21 wins and seven losses.

Predictions for the new year? Not taking a chance, Saigeon says with a smile – unwilling to jinx what has been a great start to the season – he’s just happy the hard work is paying off for the whole team and says there’s no other group of guys with which he would rather win.

Determination keeps Brandon Saigeon reaching for his goals, just like this one.

“I’m working hard for the Bulldogs right now. The farther we go in playoffs the more NHL interest there will be throughout our whole team,” he said.

Serious injury tested the mettle of the young hockey star when his second year in the OHL was cut short by almost half the season when he broke both forearm bones, shattering the radius and ulna in his left arm in a January 2016 game against the Mississauga Steelheads.

But he’s back with his signature work ethic and the resiliency that runs through his DNA.

By the age of three, Saigeon was shooting rows of tennis balls in the driveway at his netminding grandfather, Wayne Saigeon.

And his dad, Brent, an athlete who played competitive tennis at the national and international level and was a member of the Canadian Jr. Team, removed the tennis net from the backyard court and replaced it with two hockey nets.

Saigeon credits the support of his dad and mom, Charlotta – another athlete in the family’s star lineup – for teaching him how to carry himself as a young athlete working to achieve his goals.

Charlotta was an Olympic swimmer and competed at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

“My Dad went to the University of Houston Texas on a tennis scholarship and it was there he met my Mom who was studying on a swimming scholarship.”

Brent says Brandon has always worked hard to improve his game.

“Whether it be shooting hundreds of pucks a night on our tennis court or running the hills at our local park for conditioning, he has always worked hard to get better.”

It’s a work ethic that has been passed down the family line. Says Brandon, “I think I got that edge earlier than most kids with my parents both being athletes and so supportive.”

To read the full article, click here for the January/February ClubWest online magazine.

From the Publisher January/February 2018


(To view our January/February 2018 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

For one, I appreciate the efforts of someone like Brandon Saigeon.

Yes, he is a talented young man, but he also has heart and determination.

As a very high pick in the OHL draft – fourth overall – one might think he was a silver spoon type, someone who had doors open and a path paved because of what he could do on the ice. Hockey simply doesn’t work that way.

No matter what your “specialty”, it is all about production. If you check, your opponent does not tally points. If you score, the puck needs to find the back of the net. If you stop pucks, your team had better win: night in, night out.

So for a teenager trying to make a name for himself and just plain get noticed, suffering a serious injury like shattering two bones in a forearm is major setback.

Confidence, development and most of all time on the ice is gone in an instant. Confidence can get rebuilt, development (while delayed) can come with solid coaching but making up for the time is near impossible.

Hard, painful work on rehab and training can help make up for that. Hours upon hours in a gym, effort fans don’t see, is what pushes one down the tough road to success.

Finally, and undoubtedly, a little later than he would have hoped, Brandon’s game is rounding into form and he and his mates with the Hamilton Bulldogs are starting to roll the way scouts had predicted for Brandon coming out of midget hockey.

Good on him!

I recall doing the story with him when he got drafted by the Belleville Bulls. He was a quiet, unassuming youngster who just wanted a chance. He is the same youngster today.

For me, it has always been my interest to tell the story behind the story. Yes, we have a solid prospect here with an opportunity to get to the promised land of the NHL. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. However, it won’t be through lack of effort and it is that story that needs to be told.

How many kids play hockey? How many kids are a top prospect? How many players average more than a point per game in Junior? The numbers dwindle pretty quickly.

Brandon has an interesting story to tell and we are happy to do just that.

Now it is time to sit back and see how things play out while rooting for the young man.

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

‘At the going down of the sun we will remember them’


(To view our November/December 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

by Joanne McDonald

Standing on perpetually dedicated Canadian soil in a cemetery far from his West Niagara home, Retired Warrant Officer Second Class Christian Leonard wrapped his heart around the grave of a 15-year-old soldier who left his own home a century ago, and died in the freezing sleet and snow-swept battlefields of the First World War.

“You can’t fathom the sacrifice until you stand on that ground.”

The victory at Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada.

Soldiers earned a reputation as formidable, effective troops. But it was a victory at a terrible cost with more than 10,000 killed and wounded.

Two weeks in August marked a second time that 17-year-old Christian, now retired from the 62 Grimsby Phantom Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets and attending university in a dual science and aviation program, travelled to Europe, first as a 12-year-old for the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge and most recently for the 100th anniversary.


(For this complete article and to view our November/December 2017 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)