Athletic goaltender Thornton signs with Sting

Goalie Anson Thornton comes to the Sarnia Sting with a winning reputation.

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Goalie Anson Thornton comes to the Sarnia Sting with a winning reputation.

The 17-year-old Maple native signed Friday after being the third overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League under-18 draft in April.

“A real athletic goalie,” Sting general manager Dylan Seca said. “A kid who has been on winning teams all the way through his minor hockey career.

“(He) was always an undersized goalie, but he grew. He’s just under 6’4” right now. He’s just a kid who came into his own and matured.

“He was always really athletic and really quick but now has the size that goes along with the determination and the skill. It’s just a good package.”

Thornton won the Greater Toronto Hockey League and OHL Cup championships in 2019 with the Don Mills Minor Midget AAA Flyers.

He posted a 1.21 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and two shutouts in four games at the OHL Cup. His teammates included phenom Shane Wright, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 OHL draft.


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Sting goalie coach Franky Palazzese has scouted and trained with Thornton for the past two seasons.

“Franky knows him really well, which is one of the reasons why we drafted him in the U18 draft, but not just that,” Seca said. “Our midget scout, Peter Stepanis, knows him well and loves him.”

Thornton played this past season with the Toronto Midget AAA Titans.

“I am very honoured and excited to sign with this organization and look forward to heading to Sarnia in the near future to meet the staff and team,” Thornton said in a statement. “I want to thank my family for their amazing support and the coaches I have had over the course of my hockey career, who have all helped me get this opportunity.

“I can’t wait for the season to get started and to compete in front of Sting fans.”

The Sting have not announced a start date for training camp.

The OHL plans to begin the regular season Dec. 1. The schedule has been pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.