Two leagues—one great hockey player
June 02, 2010 - Mitchell Wedding focuses on stopping goals when it comes to hockey, but that doesn't mean he's not reaching for his own.
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Wedding, 15, of Ortonville, has been drafted into both the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the United States Hockey League (USHL) within the past month.
"It really is something else, getting into both," said his dad, Jim Wedding. "For a small town like this, this is big news."
Mitchell said only 30 Americans were drafted into the OHL this year.
"I was just really proud of myself when I found out I was drafted into both," the defenseman said. "And I was proud of my family because it's been a long journey."
Mitchell started playing hockey at Ice Mountain when he was 5-years-old, but it wasn't his only athletic ambition. The Brandon student grew up playing football, baseball and golf, but he had to give those sports up when he committed himself to hockey.
"Once he got to AAA, hockey's pretty much all he had time to do," his father said.
While Mitchell missed playing baseball and his father missed watching him play football, they both agreed that Mitchell's passion lies on the ice.
"I love the intensity," Mitchell said. "It's the only sport I've played where there's that much of a thrill. It's not like anything else."
While he still has yet to make his decision whether he will play in the OHL or the USHL, Wedding is leaning toward USHL, so he can play college hockey.
"OHL is a professional league, so you can't play in college,"
Mitchell said. "But 80 percent of kids in the USHL get scholarships to division one schools, so that's what I'd like to do."
His father is on the same line of thinking.
"We'd like him to get a degree on his way to the NHL," Jim said, noting college scouts from Ohio State and Yale have shown interest in Mitchell.
If Mitchell does choose to play for the USHL, he will have to move to Chicago this summer and remain there until the end of his high school career.
"I'm nervous to leave, but I'm excited to get out of state, too," he said.
With the NHL in his sights, Mitchell has more than an aspiration to play for the Detroit Red Wings to inspire him.
His cousin, Cam Fowler, is projected to go number five in the first round of the NHL draft, Jim said.
"He's sort of following in his cousin's footsteps," he said.
But Mitchell has something to offer that both college and NHL scouts rarely see.
"He's noted as a football player on hockey skates," Jim said.
"But he's good."