Matt Stoia was watching the Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft online this past Saturday, but wasn’t expecting to see his own name.
In the 12th round, however, the Oshawa Generals surprised the Marysville native, taking him with 19th pick in the round.
“I was just very excited,” Stoia said. “A little shocked.”
Stoia, who has played the past two seasons for Compuware, will head to Oshawa’s camp soon – he didn’t know the official date yet – and took a trip there Sunday with the Generals’ other draft picks to check the team out in the postseason.
He now lives in Northville, but spent time in the Port Huron Minor Hockey Association before making the move to Suburban Stars in Farmington and eventually Compuware.
A 6-foot, 176-pound defenseman, Stoia is a sophomore at Total Package Hockey Center of Excellence in Canton. The school is brand new, and small – there are only 27 students – and as the name suggests, it’s centered around hockey. Most of the 27 players, Stoia said, are playing for one of the AAA clubs in the Detroit area.
“We do online school and workout and skate during the day,” he said.
Stoia is a right-handed shot who said he tries to be more of an offensive force, and plays on the power play for Compuware.
“I wanted to play in the OHL because it suits my style of game, it’s a little rougher and faster,” he said. “I like to be a little more offensive. Making plays is something I try to do.”
Stoia said he’s familiar with several of the players picked in the OHL Draft, as the vast majority of them were from Ontario, and he said his team played a good amount of games in Canada this past season.
His plan for next season was to be back with Compuware, which could obviously change if he makes the Generals out of camp. Playing in the OHL as a 16-year-old is fairly rare, however, and Stoia realizes that. There’s also a chance, he said, to be pulled up at different points throughout the season.
As far as longterm goals, Stoia says they haven’t changed, but his path may have just become much more clear.
“I’m just trying to play hockey for as long as I can,” he said. “I’m going to put in the work that needs to be done to get where I need to go. My ultimate goal is the NHL, but you never know.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.