Grey-Bruce Highlander Stand-out Set to Return Home

It could be said that Garrett McFadden was born(in Owen Sound) to play hockey. Garrett began skating at the age of 3 in Chesley, Ontario, before the long standing family business, McFadden Funeral Home, was moved to from the home of “Big Bruce” to Kincardine, Ontario when he was 7.

“I think he was pretty much born with a hockey stick in his hands”, his mother Kim stated in an article for the official Guelph Storm website.

I had the opportunity to speak with Garrett himself about his time playing minor hockey in his native Bruce County.

“Its a small town feel, (with) just 14 or 15 guys on a team, its a tight knit group. Its nice to play in a small community and have most of the town come out and support you.”

When asked how the jump to AAA Grey-Bruce Highlanders minor midget club shaped him into becoming a 1st round pick for the Guelph Storm in the 2013 OHL entry draft(12th overall), the sophomore defenseman gave credit to motivated teammates and coaches who understood his game.

“Practicing with a good group of guys who are motivated to go forward and play at a higher level of hockey than AAA makes it easier to get better as a player and develop. The coach was Brian Royal. He coached me at PeeWee in Kincardine…so we knew each other pretty well, and he always knew how to get the best out of me.”

Now away from home at age 17, McFadden has found the familiarity of home within the Guelph community, as many local students attend the university’s renowned agriculture programs.

“I’ve found this year some of my friends are coming to (Guelph University). Its funny…you’re learning in the same town as (friends), then all of a sudden you’re in the same city. Its nice to see them (at games)…makes you feel a little closer to home.”

As long-time season ticket holders of the Owen Sound Attack, his supportive and encouraging grandparents have been passionate fans of Jr.A hockey long before their grandson began playing the game. As the Attack prepare to host Guelph this Saturday(7:30pmEST, Harry-Lumley Bayshore C.C.), McFadden chuckled at the dilemma this posed to his grandfather.

“Haha…well my grandpa, he likes his Attack. We got him some Guelph(Storm) gear and he wears it the odd time, but he’s pretty torn between cheering for (either team) when we’re in town. Its always a fun little rivalry that (we) have.”

As a rookie, it was difficult for McFadden to garner steady minutes on the veteran blue-line of last year’s OHL League Champions. With an assist on the game-winning-goal in the Storm’s first victory of the ’14-’15 season, the smooth skating defenseman seems poised to make the most of what he learned in his first year of Jr. A.

“Being able to win in my first year…it felt pretty amazing. It can only help me further down along my career, knowing what it takes to win and how those older guys carried themselves day-in and day-out.”

“It was tough sitting out, but we had a really strong (defense) corps that had been around the league and know(their game). I learned a lot about position and how to play certain (situations) and how to carry myself on and off the ice. I think its really going to help me out my next couple years in the league and (prepare me) for when its my turn to teach the younger guys coming in the same thing.”

You can watch Garrett and the defending league champions, Guelph Storm take on the Owen Sound Attack this Saturday at the Bayshore. Visit attackhockey.com for details on how to get tickets.

Doug grew up playing minor hockey for his hometown Chesley Colts.  He became an avid fan of the then Platers, when he received an autograph from goaltender Jamie Storr in 1993.  Before graduating from Chesley DHS, he played one season for Owen Sound Grey Motors United in the York Region Premiere Division(formerly New Market Region).

Now a permanent resident of Owen Sound, Doug hopes to entrench himself as an involved member of the community and an insightful columnist, that provides more than just stats and game reviews.  When not covering hockey, Doug enjoys listening to his fiancee sing at  a number of Owen Sound’s many terrific open mic functions.

1 Comment

  1. Doug Sweiger

    October 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    So…how about that game winning goal?