Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Milano joins Plymouth Whalers

Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Milano joins Plymouth Whalers


Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Milano joins Plymouth Whalers


Plymouth Whalers general manager Mark Craig Thursday announced the commitment of 18-year-old center Sonny Milano, who was taken by the Whalers in the fourth round (81st overall) of the 2012 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Milano was selected in the first round (16th overall) by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2014 National Hockey League Draft.

“We are very pleased to have a player of this caliber joining our organization,” Craig said. “My understanding is he lives for hockey and will bring a work ethic to our team that will force our players to a new level.”

First-year Whalers head coach Don Elland chimed in about Milano.

“He has the potential and ability to become a great player for us,” he said. “Sonny’s an exciting talent that will make our program stronger.”

Milano spent the past two seasons with the National Team Developmental Program in Ann Arbor.

A skilled center who patterns his game after Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, Milano scored 20 goals with 27 assists for 47 points in 56 games for the U.S. National U-17 team in 2012-13.

Last season, Milano scored 29 goals with 57 assists for 86 points in 58 games for the U.S. National U-18 team.

Earlier this year, Milano helped the United States win a gold medal in the World U-18 Championships, scoring three goals with seven assists for 10 points. Plymouth goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic played on the same team.

Milano will play for Columbus in the NHL Prospects tournament, which runs Sept. 12-16 in Traverse City. He also rates an excellent chance to play for the United States in the 2015 World Junior Championships, being held in Montreal and Toronto in late December and early January.

Milano joins current Whalers Josh Wesley and Connor Chatham as players who skated for the National Team Developmental Program before coming to Plymouth.

Other Plymouth alums who skated for the NTDP before playing for the Whalers include Conner Carrick, Robbie Czarnik, Ryan Hartman, Ryan Hayes, Phil McRae, J.T. Miller, Beau Schmitz, Kris Vernarsky and John Vigilante.

Meanwhile, the Whalers have also acquired veteran center Mathew Campagna from Sudbury.

In addition, two players the Whalers took in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection – first-rounder Will Bitten and second-rounder Nicholas Caamano – have committed to Plymouth for the upcoming season.

TRAINING CAMP: The Whalers report to Compuware Arena for the start of training camp with physical testing on Tuesday. Scrimmages are planned for Wednesday and Thursday (9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.) and are open to the public. Rosters will be provided the day of the scrimmages.

Plymouth opens the preseason at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at Compuware Arena against the Windsor Spitfires.

All proceeds of the game will be donated to the John Bieniewicz Foundation and Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors.

Tickets are available by calling the Compuware Arena box office at 734-453-8400 or by going online to


More USA TODAY High School Sports