Cory Smith/Stratford Beacon Herald
Ontario Hockey League teams selected 200 players through 10 rounds of Saturday’s Priority Selection, but Carter Schoonderwoerd wasn’t among them.
The Mitchell teen was watching at home and growing restless as the draft took a 15-minute break before the 11th round.
“I thought they would continue to go through the rest of the picks, but that pause I was wondering what was going on,” he said. “Then the time came.”
The Peterborough Petes took Schoonderwoerd, a six-foot-four, 218-pound winger, three picks into the 11th round.
“I went and that’s all that matters,” he said. “It was a long day. I watched 202 picks go before me.”
Petes general manager Mike Oke said the team focused on adding size with its 15 selections.
“You don’t want to do it at the sacrifice of skill and ability,” Oke told the Peterborough Examiner. “The one thing we like with the picks we’ve made (is) we’ve got players who have demonstrated they have a high level of skill and are all a little bit bigger. That will be a nice combination when you mix those guys in with some of our current players and prospects.”
Schoonderwoerd, 16, had 18 goals and 38 points in 40 games with the Huron-Perth Lakers minor midgets this season, so he certainly fits the Petes’ blueprint. He grew up in the Mitchell minor hockey system and played for the Meteors through minor bantam.
“It’s important that you don’t need to play for a triple-A team too early and leave your friends behind, but it’s an awesome experience to play triple-A,” he said. “It’s been awhile since someone has been drafted from Mitchell, so that’s special, too.”
Schoonderwoerd figured he would be taken earlier in the draft, but he wasn’t surprised to end up a Petes prospect.
“That was one of the top teams that was interested in me before the draft,” he said. “It’ll be pretty cool to go up there and see what it’s all about and my first real experience with an OHL team.”
The Grade 10 St. Michael Catholic Secondary School student will find some familiar faces when he’s in Peterborough. Schoonderwoerd’s sister, Erika, is a nursing student at Trent University, and Stratford native Brady Hinz is a forward with the Petes.
“They’re a veteran team,” Schoonderwoerd said. “I think they have a few players who are leaving next year. Spots are opening up for everyone. I think they’re a good team, (and) it’s a good city.”
Schoonderwoerd will attend Peterborough’s development camp April 21-22 and then embark on a busy summer spent refining his game getting into the best shape of his life.
“It’s still a crazy feeling,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I waited all day to get the news and it came and we were pretty happy when it did.”
Lakers minor midget defenceman Thomas Gangl was also drafted. Gangl, a six-foot-one defenceman from Wingham, went to North Bay in the eighth round, 149th overall.