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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Mailloux travels over 6,000 kms in search of organized hockey for his NHL draft year 


by Garrett Fodor

One local athlete is using a once-in-a-lifetime situation for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as he prepares for the next level of his hockey career.

  When Logan Mailloux moved away from home, at the age of 14, to pursue his hockey dream and prepare for his draft year, the now 17-year-old could not have imagined that his path would begin in Belle River, included a stop in Toronto and London, before heading overseas to Sweden. 

  Mailloux, like many junior hockey players last year, had his season cut short, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season, while practicing with the London Knights almost daily, Mailloux skated with the London Nationals of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (Jr. B).

  There, the 6’3” and 214 lbs defensemen was having the most prolific season of his career, registering 68 points (18 goals, 50 assists) in 48 games. Mailloux helped punch the Nationals’ ticket to the Western Conference semi-finals.

  Many pundits pegged the Nationals as championship contenders with the help of Mailloux. However, with the season being cancelled in March, local organized hockey became scarce. 

  With Mailloux only being able to train and workout, his agents decided to explore options for him to return to the ice and organized hockey, in an effort to improve his draft stock heading into this July’s NHL draft. Many expect Mailloux could hear his name called in the first or second rounds.

  “I want to be a first-round NHL draft choice and that’s my goal, so I knew I had to play some games and move up some draft boards,” Mailloux said. “I mentioned that I was interested in playing overseas and my agents found me an opportunity to play pro hockey in Sweden with SK Lejon and I was fortunate to be joined by my friend and training partner, Matt Maggio. I know many haven’t had a chance to play, so I’m grateful.”

  Mailloux admits that going overseas came with challenges, from language barriers and larger ice surfaces, to adjusting to the country and having to quarantine and isolate. He said that while the pandemic has been challenging for everyone, moving away and having a chance to go to a new country and play professional hockey, is something he will never forget and knows it may never happen again.

  While with SK Lejon, Mailloux suited up in 19 games, registering 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) to lead the team in scoring before returning back from Sweden to prepare for a potential return to the OHL season. Through the experience, he learned playing against professionals with over 10-years of experience helped his skillset, as he shoots back to the OHL with the London Knights. He pointed out that not many 16 and 17-year-olds get a chance to play professionally and against men double their age. 

  Prior to his time in London, Mailloux played a season for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget team, coached by four-time Stanley Cup champion and Hall of Fame defensemen, Paul Coffey.

  Mailloux said the one season under Coffey and in Toronto helped him grow into the player he is today, as he aspires to model his game like Brent Burns.

  “Playing in the GTHL with the Marlboros definitely showed me I was a big fish in a little pond before the move, so I think playing with the best competition helped me,” Mailloux said. “He [Coffey] was great at giving advice and feedback. He’s arguably one of the best defensemen of all time and to have him there every practice or game is incredible. Looking at his resume, there’s nothing he hasn’t done and he’s one of my best coaches of all time.”

  Mailloux said he began his hockey journey at the age of three, with his parents, Jeff and Vanessa, putting him onto the ice. He immediately fell in love with the game. While he admits moving away at such a young age was not easy, he gives credit to the support and discussions his family had, knowing they’d support him and felt it was best for him.

  He added he has had a chance to watch his role model and older sister, Cassidy, go through a similar process as she’s captain for her division III lacrosse team. Mailloux notes he will sometimes lean on her for advice. 

  While the last 12-months have been anything but ordinary, Mailloux is not looking back on it negatively. He is grateful for everything and his family’s support through it all. He said he believes he and his family would not change a thing. 

  Since the announcement of a potential OHL season, Mailloux returned back to London in February to begin workouts with potential April / May game dates. Mailloux said he believes his Knights team is stronger than ever this season, and with a lot of teammates skating professionally, they will be ready.

  With his eyes set on the future, Mailloux hopes he is able to reach his goal of hearing his name called in the first-round of the July NHL draft and share the experience with his family. 

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