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Pair of Elmira players OHL-bound

Elmira’s Lucas Carson was drafted by the OHL’s Guelph Storm, while teammate Liam Eveleigh was picked by the Sarnia Sting. [Damon Maclean]

Fifteen-year-old Elmira residents and Waterloo Wolves teammates Liam Eveleigh and Lucas Carson were both drafted to the OHL during the Ontario Priority earlier this month.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft held April 4 was unlike past years, hosted online at the Ontario Hockey League’s official website.

Left-handed defenseman Liam Eveleigh was picked in the sixth round, 103rd overall, by the Sarnia Sting.

“It’s obviously a relief for me, showing that all the hard work has finally paid off after all the years of playing. To see my name come up was a relief for me,” said Eveleigh.

Eveleigh started his hockey career in type select, shortly after he moved on to house league followed by two years of single-A then to atom before midget AAA. Eveleigh hopes to be able to bring Sarnia “a working defenseman that can play both sides of the ice.”

Last season, he posted 13 goals and 25 assists.

Winger Lucas Carson was drafted in the 13th round, 252nd overall, by the Guelph Storm.

“It was kind of expected – I didn’t know what team, but it was a pretty ecstatic moment for me,” said Carson.

Transitioning towards playing for the Storm, Carson says he “hopes to bring a competitive edge, try to help [the team] in any way possible. I come to win.”

He added that he is grateful to his current team, the Waterloo Wolves. “I really couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to play my last year of minor hockey with.”

Carson hopes to be playing with some of his former teammates down the road soon.

Coach Shawn Dietrich of the Waterloo Wolves said he is proud of all six of his players that were drafted. Referring to Liam and Lucas, he said “it’s nice for both of those guys being from a small town, Elmira … to be drafted.”

Though disappointed the season ended earlier than planned due to the coronavirus-shutdown of all hockey leagues, he said he was happy with how far the team went.

“The goal for the team is to get to the OHL cup, and you have to win to get there [which] we did,” he explained.

Both boys say COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the season has made things more challenging. Neither was able to meet the coaches face to face after being drafted, but note that was understandable.

Said Carson, “It was [a] very, very tough thing for our team. We were looking forward to it all year. But, sometimes it’s how the world works.”

Eveleigh said during this time he is “trying to make the most I can at home, working out in the garage, going on my rollerblades, and [daily] bike rides.” All efforts being made to stay in the best physical shape.

Both are looking forward to the return of a normal hockey schedule and continuing to advance their careers.

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