Guelph native Austen Keating was looking forward to Friday night since the Ontario Hockey League season began.
The Ottawa 67’s rookie forward got to play his first and only game of the season in his hometown, picking up an assist in a 6-2 win over the Guelph Storm.
The Eastern Conference team only plays in Guelph once.
“I circled this one on the calendar as soon as I got to Ottawa. Coming in and getting to play in my hometown and seeing all the support I had, it really keeps a special place in my heart,” Keating said.
“It would have been nice to get a goal, but coming out with the two points is all that matters,” said Keating, whose team is in a dogfight for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
There was quite a contingent of family and friends on hand for the game. Keating wasn’t quite sure how many, but did know both his mom’s and dad’s side of the family, plus his buddies, came to the game.
“I don’t know exactly how many. But there were a lot of people,” said Keating, who was Ottawa’s first round draft pick last year.
The 67’s played in Barrie Thursday night and after the game Keating was allowed to head home for the night and got to spend Friday with family and friends.
They could be heard cheering loud and clear when Keating picked up a nice assist on Jeremiah Addison’s third period goal.
That gave Keating 13 goals and 16 assists in 45 games on the campaign, which includes being sidelined for 10 games early in the new year with an injury.
“After playing 50 games you just get used to the size and speed of the OHL … coming into the OHL at 16 and playing against 20 year olds, you have to get used to the size and speed,” he said of the biggest adjustment.