FERGUS – Sam Black doesn’t need to look far for inspiration in his budding hockey career.
The Waterloo Wolves U16 winger was selected by the Barrie Colts in the fourth round, 73rd overall, in the 15-round Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection draft on April 22.
When he steps on the ice for a rookie camp with the Junior A Colts in a couple of weeks, Sam will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of his father, Ryan Black, who played four seasons in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes and London Knights from 1990 to 94.
Ryan, who was drafted in the fifth round of the NHL draft in 1992 by the New Jersey Devils, also had stints in the professional ranks in the East Coast Hockey League and American Hockey League.
“He drove our family’s passion to play hockey since we were very young,” said Sam.
“Everybody in our family plays hockey,” he added, noting he has two sisters and a brother who also play the game.
Sam counts “my dad and, my grampa, everybody in my family,” for providing him with the inspiration and support needed to play high-level hockey.
Starting out in the Fergus minor hockey system at the age of four, Sam recalls, “I caught on pretty fast.”
He graduated to the Waterloo Wolves to play hockey at the AAA level four years ago.
This past season the six-foot, 168-pound winger, scored 11 goals and recorded 25 assists in 32 games.
Part way through the season, he began to believe he had a strong chance of being drafted.
“I picked up my game a lot … I had a good second half of the year,” he notes.
Sam says he didn’t have any expectations on where he would go in the draft and is pleased with the outcome.
“I wasn’t expecting to go in any certain spot,” he told the Advertiser in an April 25 telephone interview.
“Barrie took me and I was pretty happy with that.”
Sam will be attending the Colts’ main training camp in August, where he expects his physical style of play and playmaking abilities will give him a shot at making a squad that was headed into game seven of a second-round playoff series with the North Bay Battalion as the Advertiser went to press.
“I’ve got to work hard during the summer,” he said.
“I think that I can make the team, but we’ll see what happens. I’m anxious to get started.”