Patrick McNeill, '03 OHL top pick, joins hometown Strathroy Rockets' bench

Article content

Seventeen years later, Patrick McNeill is a Strathroy Rocket again.

The 2003 OHL first overall pick and two-time Calder Cup champion will join Jason Williams’ coaching staff in his hometown for the anticipated Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League season. The 33-year-old defenceman played the past five seasons in Germany.

“(He) will provide a lot of valuable experience to our players as we continue our focus on player development,” Rockets general manager Kent Coleman said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“Any time you can add another coach with a playing resume like Patrick’s to go along with what we currently have and whose values and beliefs are in line with what we are trying to do here in Strathroy, you make it happen.”

McNeill played for the junior B Rockets in 2002-03 before moving on to the Saginaw Spirit for four seasons. He was drafted 118th overall by the Washington Capitals in 2005 and won two American Hockey League championships with Hershey.

The GOJHL is preparing for a Jan. 15 start with modified five-on-five rules that include no deliberate body checking or physical contact, no post-whistle scrums or altercations and bubble face masks and facial coverings.

Claude Giroux (in red) battles Patrick McNeill for a loose puck in the first period of an intersquad game in December 2006 at Canada’s world junior selection camp. (Postmedia file photo)
Claude Giroux (in red) battles Patrick McNeill for a loose puck in the first period of an intersquad game in December 2006 at Canada’s world junior selection camp. (Postmedia file photo)

News Near Strathroy

This Week in Flyers