THUNDER BAY – Nicholas Holomego’s size could take him far in the game of hockey.
At just 16, he’s already 6-foot-3, weighing in at 190 pounds.
In a few weeks, he’ll put that size to the test when he takes part in the Erie Otters training camp, where he’ll be one of the youngest players on the ice.
It doesn’t faze the Thunder Bay teen one bit.
Holomego is headed to Erie, Penn. with one goal on his mind – proving to the Ontario Hockey League team’s coaching staff that he belongs on the team.
A fifth-round pick by the Otters earlier this summer, the Thunder Bay Kings blue-liner signed with the team a couple of weeks ago.
“It was a huge honour for the team to have the confidence in me to sign and potentially play with them this year,” said Holomgeo, who put up seven goals and 20 points this past season in 40 games with the Kings under-16 squad.
“I go to the main camp this August and hopefully I do well and I crack roster. If not, I’ll be playing with the Fort Erie (junior A) team on the Canadian side.”
He’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of one of his idols, 15-year veteran Marc Staal, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers.
“I’ve always looked up to Marc Staal, as a defenceman. I’ve watched his game and tried to model my game after his as best as I can,” Holomego said. “They’re (some of) the last guys to play full time in the OHL.”
For now, he’s tempering his long-term expectations, but admitted one day he’d love to follow Staal or Robert Bortuzzo into the National Hockey League.
It’s a bit early to be worrying about getting drafted.
“It’s been my dream to play in the OHL since I was four years old, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do here. I haven’t really thought a lot about the NHL yet because it’s far away. Hopefully everything works out good.”
Even fresh out of minor midget, Holomego says he’s got the confidence to stick with the big club out of training camp, noting it’s his size that attracted the attention of Erie scouts.
“I’m more of a stay-at-home defenceman,” said Holomego, who joined the U18 Kings for their Telus Cup run and spent last school year at Seventh Fire Secondary School in Thunder Bay, a hockey-focused education that allowed him to develop his game even further.
“I like to clear the front of the net and make that first good pass – though I like to jump up in the rush when I have the opportunity. I think size is a huge part of what I have been come.”
The Otters are expected to play their first pre-season game on Sept. 2.