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A class act both on and off the ice (8 photos)

As his five-year career in Guelph winds down, Garrett McFadden reflects on his time in Guelph

A lot of junior hockey players leave their mark on a city, but not a lot of cities leave their mark on a junior hockey player.

It goes both ways for Garrett McFadden, whose contribution has gone well beyond what he brings to the ice in his five years as a member of the Guelph Storm.

The city has also left its mark on him, a fact brought home by the tattoo he has on his ribcage of the Basilica of Our Lady.

"It just kind of embodies what I stand for," McFadden said of the tattoo he got earlier this year.

"I pull into the rink everyday and you look up the hill and there it is. I think things happen for a reason and it reminded me every day that I'm here and I'm going to make something out of this."

"I can't say enough about the city and these fans and getting to play five years in this arena," the Kincardine native said.

McFadden was honoured along with the team's other two graduating players, Mark Shoemaker and James McEwan, prior to Tuesday's game against the Kitchener Rangers.

Making the evening even more memorable was the fact the Storm rallied from three goals down to beat the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.

"It doesn't seem like it's been five years, but here we are and we're going to try and do our best to make it last as long as it can," McFadden said of the pre-game on-ice ceremony that included his parents, brother, sister and friend and former Storm defenceman Austin Hall.

McFadden has played over 300 games in a Storm jersey.

His rookie year he played sparingly and not at all during a playoff run to the Memorial Cup. The last two years the team hasn't made the playoffs.

But he never once asked for a trade out of Guelph.

"I take pride in the culture of this team and where they want to head," he said. "It's been an honour and a privilege to be here for five years.

"There's nothing I'm more proud to say than that I'll be a Guelph Storm alumni at the end of this season."

McFadden has also helped raise over $25,000 through McFadden's Movement, a mental health initiative he started a couple of years ago.

"As I've grown in this city I've realized I wanted to give back," he said. "It was a good opportunity to promote something I'm passionate about and it worked out pretty well."

Storm coach George Burnett heard nothing but glowing praise about McFadden before taking over the team this year.

"Forget the hockey, jus the person," Burnett said.

"He'll be a figurehead in this community maybe for life based on what he's accomplished and how good a person he's been," Burnett said.

The Storm trailed 3-0 to Kitchener midway through the second period Tuesday but scored once in the second and twice more in the third before Isaac Ratcliffe's wrist shot to the bottom corner beat Kitchener goaltender Luke Richardson 56 seconds into overtime at a sold-out Sleeman Centre.

The win moves them into sixth place in the Western Conference, one point up on both Windsor and Saginaw, who each have a game in hand.

Guelph plays in Kitchener Friday then ends the regular season Saturday in Erie.