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Spellacy Drops Five NCAA Division I Scholarships to Sign with Spitfires

AJ Spellacy had five NCAA Division I football scholarships on the table, and that number would only grow with two more years of high school left. Instead, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Spellacy officially walked away from football on Wednesday, signing a standard player and educational pack to join the Windsor Spitfires. “I’ll miss football a bit, but I’m focused on hockey,” said 16-year-old Spellacy. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It was pretty easy once I had all the information I like and want to move on and that was hockey. Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler rolled the dice in a big way by using a third round pick to defeat Spellacy in the third round of April’s Ontario Hockey League Draft. “There were no guarantees, but it was a calculated risk,” Bowler said. The Spitfires hoped the city’s proximity to his suburban Cleveland home would make the move a little easier. The club also had a connection with Spellacy’s agent. More than a decade after helping the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup title, Kenny Ryan, who serves as Spellacy’s agent with the Kaizen Sports Agency, pulled out another assist for Windsor. “With myself playing in Windsor, it was phenomenal organization,” said Ryan. “It’s a top-notch organization where a lot of players would want to play, but for me it was what (Spellacy) would like to do? It was what he wanted to do and what his passion was to move forward.” If Spellacy had been committed to the OHL from the start, Ryan said he would have been a first round in this year’s draft. team that said it would have made it to him in the first round, but only if he was committed and he wasn’t ready to commit,” Ryan said. Still, Ryan credits the Spitfires for rolling the dice early in Spellacy , with most teams waiting to take a flyer on a player not committed to the league later in the draft.The Spitfires did so with Ryan in 2007 when the club took him into the seventh round of the OHL Draft. The former Toronto Maple Leafs second-round roster played with the United States National Team Development Program for two years before attending Boston College, but left his freshman year to join the Spitfires. are always r risks,” Ryan said. ‘Will he sign or come to camp? That’s where Billy, as a GM that he is, was a selection he had to make there. “Windsor called him up, but there was nothing for sure that he would go there. After he was drafted, it was more recruiting. AJ wasn’t ready to commit and it wasn’t just for Windsor, but for hockey or a USHL team or colleges Spellacy and his family took a few trips to Windsor to talk and play a few playoffs and the Cleveland Barons 15 product quickly fell in love with everything about the team. “The fans were amazing” Spellacy said, “All the facilities are top quality and the city is amazing. That played a big part.” His father John Spellacy played a linebacker at Marshall University and his older brother John Spellacy Jr. played centrally on the East Carolina University football team. “They’ve both talked to me about it, but in the end it was my decision to do what I want.” do,” said Spellacy, noting that his father and brother both played hockey too. “I probably would have gotten a lot more (soccer scholarship offers), but for me hockey is a lot more fun and less taxing on your body.” With Spellacy, it comes. hockey potential at this point is only just surfacing. As a free safety and wide receiver in football, he often didn’t come into contact with hockey until the end of November each year. “I never really trained for hockey,” Spellacy said. put in a lot of work. Hopefully my potential is great.” A right-handed center who can play the wing, Bowler and Ryan both refer to Spellacy as an elite skater. “He’s a two-sport athlete and that he chooses hockey and the Windsor Spitfires, we’re ecstatic,” Bowler said. “This is a raw player with unlimited potential and unlimited possibilities. “We just see a potentially huge talent for our hockey club. Just an athletic lad with determination and drive. For a man of that size his skating is already elite. A big frame that covered a lot of ice. A really good player who, with more reps, we just see the future is so bright.” He attended the US NTDP camp in March, but the fact that he didn’t make the cut, or his decision to weighing his options, may have cost him a first-round selection in the OHL Draft, don’t weigh heavily in his mind. “I don’t care at all,” Spellacy said. “I’ve signed. It doesn’t matter which round you is taken; you still have to show what you can do. “I was picked by the Spitfires, so that was pretty cool. I know where I’m going to play and you just keep going. The other stuff doesn’t matter anymore.”

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