Brandon Saigeon of Grimsby has a new home, Yardman Arena in Belleville.
Saigeon, 15, was chosen fourth overall by the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League draft on Saturday and he could not be happier.
“I am pretty excited. I had an idea of where I might go after talking to several organizations and I am very happy to go to a team like Belleville,” said Saigeon.
The Grimsby Secondary School student hopped in the family vehicle with this parents (Brent and Charlotta), sister Melissa, and grandparents (Wayne and Pat Saigeon) and made their way to Belleville on draft day.
“The arena is huge when you actually go in there. It is a really really nice spot. It will be great to play with Jordan Subban and all those guys,” noted Saigeon.
He also noted he was looking forward to playing for Bulls’ coach and general manager George Burnett who is no stranger to Niagara hockey fans as his long career included a stint at Niagara Falls Thunder coach in 1989-1992.
Pre-draft, Saigeon said he spoke with several teams and when he talked with the Belleville management he was asked where he wanted to play.
“I have played all forward positions and even tried goalie, but I think I’ll stick with forward,” he laughed.
“I just told them I would play wherever they wanted me to play.”
Coming of two years with Hamilton Bulldogs –– where he led the team in points and goals in his first year and led the league in points in his second year –– Saigeon said he is ready to make the jump to Major Jr. A.
As part of his ongoing training, he said he also plays in a four-on-four pro league with such hockey notables as Grimsby native and Vancouver Canuck Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators.
“That was an eye opener,” said Saigeon.
“It is the same game but you notice they do all the little things right but at a higher pace.”
“Their skating is explosive. When they see a lose puck, they just go for it. It is amazing.”
Aside from his regular training regimen, Saigeon said he will be attending the Bulls mini-camp this week.
“The real work begins now,” he said.
But to get to this point, he fully realizes a lot work has already taken place and he credits his parents for much of that work.
“My mom was an Olympic swimmer and my dad was one of Canada’s top-ranked tennis players, so they have helped me out a lot. My grandparents, too: they haven’t missed much,” said Saigeon.
Dad Brent is one happy camper and is very pleased to see his son’s dreams working out.
“We are very proud of Brandon. He has wanted this for a long time and to see it happen, as a parent, is a great feeling,” said Brent.