Dougie Hamilton has entered his third season with the Niagara Ice Dogs and he admits his time here is Niagara is “everything I could have dreamt of.” Following the draft of older brother Freddie Hamilton, the family made the move together to St. Catharines and Dougie played for the St. Catharines Falcons AAA minor midget team. Dougie was then selected by the Ice Dogs in the 2nd round (27th overall) of the 2009 OHL draft.
He attained his goal of joining his brother in the OHL but he has now set his sights even higher, hoping to have the opportunity to be the first brother duo in 20 years to represent Canada at the World Junior tournament beginning Boxing Day. At this summer’s selection camp he was joined not only by brother Freddie but also team mates Ryan Strome, Mark Visentin and ex-Ice Dog Matt Petgrave. Dougie viewed the Team Canada selection camp as a chance to “play with the best at your age and a year older in Canada and stacking yourself up to them and what it’s going to take to make that team.” Hamilton says the next step for selection is to play the regular season and “hope to get invited to the selection camp in December.” The Hamilton brothers have Team Canada in their bloodlines as father Doug represented Canada as a rower in the 1984 and ’88 Olympics while mother Lynn was on Team Canada’s basketball team in 1984.
In June Hamilton was the 9th pick overall in the NHL Entry draft selected by the Boston Bruins. Recently returning from the NHL camp, Hamilton said it was a “cool experience. Starting at rookie camp I played with guys I hear about from juniors and from the AHL. The rookie camp (allowed you to) get your feet under you and the main camp was pretty special.” At the main Bruin camp Hamilton was paired up for the week with Bruin’s captain Zdeno Chára. The camp was a great learning experience for Hamilton as he “learned what their style of game is, learned about myself. I learned how close you are and what you need to do to make the jump (to the NHL) and to compare yourself to them.”
Now back with the Ice Dogs, Hamilton’s focus is the OHL. When asked about the slow start for a team with such high pre-season expectations, Hamilton says “don’t worry at all, we’ll get the guys to start to gel, with the guys coming back at different times we will finally get some chemistry.” When asked about his hopes for traveling to Shawinigan in the spring Hamilton points out the back of the T-shirts Ice Dogs wear prior to each game, “the date of the Mem cup finals and Why Not Us? - that’s what we are working towards.”
- The slow start continued for the Ice-Dogs with a Thursday evening loss to top-ranked London Knights
- The Jack was full of NHL scouts Thursday in anticipation of a game showcasing many future stars eligible for the next NHL entry draft
- The hopes of Ice Dog fans were buoyed Friday with the return of Alex Friesen from Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Chicago
- Friesen’s return meant the good-bye to the fourth over-ager, boy-hood pal Johnson Andrews
- Andrews landed with the St. Catharines Junior B Falcons and scored two goals and two assists in his first game, a 8-0 win over Welland
- In Friday’s game against Sudbury, the Ice Dogs were down 4-1 early in the third but tied it up with goals by Freddie Hamilton, Alex Friesen and Dougie Hamilton. (David Pacan scored earlier in the game for Niagara.)
- The Ice Dogs ended up losing the game in a shoot-out.
- Visentin’s recovery from a groin injury is still day-to-day with an expected on-ice session Saturday
- Saturday was another loss for the IceDogs as the Barrie Colts won 8-6