National Team Development Program’s Pat Sieloff is the latest of his former teammates to forego his college commitment and opt to play north of the border next season.
Sieloff, who was originally committed to play at the University of Miami (Ohio), will suit up for a different red, white, and black – the Windsor Spitifires – come September.
He announced his decision via his Twitter page Sunday afternoon.
Sieloff admitted the decision did not come easy as he had been mulling over a change ever since the end of the U18 World Championship. Up until January, Windsor was not on Sieloff’s radar, but his rights were swapped from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to Windsor in part of the Jack Campbell trade.
After the trade, Sieloff admits there was not much communication between both sides, but talks picked up after Windsor personnel approached him shortly after the U18’s.
“When the trade happened, I was still planning on going to Miami, but over the last month I was really considering Windsor,” Sieloff said. “I sat down with my parents and set out a game plan and I told them I wanted to go as far as I can with hockey and once I’m done with hockey I can do school later; I want to be a pro hockey player and that’s why I decided to go to Windsor.”
The connections Sieloff has with current Windsor players also helped him with his decision. He was former teammates with draft eligible Brady Vail at the Compuware program and skates with Spitfires GM Warren Rychel’s son, Kerby, during the summers.
“They are really good friends and put their word in for Windsor, but at the same time I didn’t make my decision solely off what they were saying,” Sieloff said. “They laid it out for me a little bit and I appreciated what they presented to me.”
The last two months have been especially tough on Miami with team losing Toronto first round draft pick Tyler Biggs after his freshman season and 2013-14 recruit and fellow teammate of Sieloff’s, Ryan Hartman, to the Plymouth Whalers. Sieloff admits he feels bad about the decision, but ultimately had to do what he though was the best fit.
“I have nothing against Miami and it was a hard decision because of all the work Miami put into recruiting me and them getting me ready for next year,” Sieloff said. “It was probably one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make, but at the same time I have to do what’s best for me and at the end of the day I felt like Windsor is where I will better [develop] as a hockey player and as a person.”
Sieloff’s decision comes less than 24 hours before the start of the NHL Combine—an event he felt played a role in the timing of his decision.
“I didn’t want to sit through questions about what I was doing for hockey next year,” said Sieloff who will likely be selected early on day two of the NHL draft. “I wanted to go into the interviews clear minded saying either, ‘I’m sticking with Miami or I’m going to Windsor.’”
Aside with Sieloff’s goal to play in the NHL, Sieloff wants to be a part of the team’s major festivities in 2014.
“With [Windsor potentially hosting] the Memorial Cup, I’d love a shot at winning the tournament.” Sieloff said.
Looking ahead, Sieloff could just a major piece in making that happen around this time two years from now.