Hockey may be the first love of Guelph Storm defenceman Owen Lalonde, but baseball has never been too far behind.
Lalonde, 17, was a highly-touted hockey player growing up, eventually being drafted second overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection by the Sudbury Wolves before coming over to Guelph in an off-season trade.
But he was also a highly-regarded baseball player, good enough to garner interest from NCAA schools.
“I’ve always played baseball growing up, at one point I probably liked it as much as hockey,” Lalonde said.
While many hockey players in the past have played lacrosse as a summer sport, the whole notion of playing another sport in the summer has pretty much died.
For elite-level hockey players, summer training and organized summer hockey tournament teams have resulted in it being a year-round commitment that makes playing another sport almost impossible.
But that wasn’t always the case for Lalonde, a diehard Detroit Tigers fan.
“I’d play hockey all winter then jump right into baseball,” the 6'1", 175-pound Lalonde said. “It was a bit hard, especially as I got older and there was more hockey training, but I found a way to do it. I love baseball."
Lalonde, a shortstop/pitcher who batted left and threw right, played competitive baseball up until he was 15 with the strong Windsor Stars program.
That year he was picked up by a team from Mississauga and helped them win the Canadian 15 and under championship.
While the interest from NCAA schools started to trickle in, he said it wasn’t as strong because they knew about his hockey potential.
“There was maybe an opportunity to try and play both at some schools,” he said
Lalonde said he tried to play baseball last summer but found he couldn’t commit and stopped playing.
In the end, Lalonde realized hockey was his future and where his passion now lay. He also realized that if he chose baseball it would be at least another two years before he would be off to an NCAA school.
“I didn’t want to wait that long to start chasing my dream,” he said. “I would have been back home playing high school baseball then playing in the summer. With hockey I knew I could get going right away.”