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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

The Circle


By Fred Wallace


Hi, this is Fred Wallace from the 52nd annual Grey Bruce Farmers Week in Elmwood with " Off the Wire ".

It's funny the circles we travel in. Sometimes the circles are tight. Sometimes the time span is very wide. But we do travel in circles.

I'm in the community of Elmwood, which is just around the corner from Chesley.

Chesley is the home of the Grey Bruce Highlanders AAA Hockey program.

About this time 5 years ago, I went to watch the Highlander Minor Midgets play Oakville.

The feature player for the Highlanders was Garrett McFadden of Kincardine, suggested to be a likely first round selection in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

As history shows, McFadden did go to Guelph in the opening round, 12th overall.

And while seeing Garrett McFadden was of interest to me, I was more attracted by the Oakville squad the Highlanders were facing that day, as it was suggested that the Rangers featured as many as 5 potential OHL first rounders, including Matthew Spencer who actually went 3rd overall behind Travis Konecny & Dylan Strome.

Thinking about that game, I remember being impressed by Spencer, especially his skating ability, thinking he could skate with anybody in the OHL at age 15.

Aside from Spencer, the other Oakville Ranger who stood out that day against the Highlanders was a centre, tall and lanky, physical, good on the draws and perpetually around the net.

That player's name was Brett McKenzie.

For most of the 5 years since, McKenzie was a fixture for the North Bay Battalion who drafted him 10th overall and promptly went to the OHL Final against.....Garrett McFadden & Guelph in the 2014 Robertson Cup.

Now, half a decade later, McKenzie is back in the region for the remainder of the OHL season with the Owen Sound Attack who acquired him last week in exchange for Matthew Struthers & draft picks.

Geographically, it's not far from Chesley to Owen Sound, but it's taken 5 years for Brett McKenzie to make that circle, a circle that started with an OHL Cup in 2013 and hopefully will continue well into the OHL Playoffs which are 2 months away.

From the 52nd annual Grey Bruce Farmers Week in Elmwood, I'm Fred Wallace

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