With the 80th pick in the fourth round of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection draft, the Owen Sound Attack selected Napanee’s Corbin Votary.
The 16-year-old was the fourth goalie selected in the draft. He spent the last six years with the Quinte Red Devils, winning three OMHA championships, including this year’s. He’s coming off another stellar year with the Red Devils, posting a 1.28 GAA in 18 regular season games. A chance to further add to his resume was cut short when the OHL Cup was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Still, he showed more than enough over his AAA career to find his way onto the radar of team’s scouting departments, often finding himself ranked in the top five of goalies across Ontario in ongoing projections leading into the draft.
Despite his high ranking among his netminding peers, where he was going on draft day was very much up in the air. It’s not uncommon for even the highest ranked goalies to be selected later than forwards or defencemen. In this year’s draft the first goalie wasn’t off the board until the 39th overall pick in the second round.
“The week before the draft was pretty nerve wracking,” said Votary. “I’ve been getting lots of interviews from teams, Owen Sound included. They phoned me midway through the season and I was very impressed with their program and what they offered. It was definitely a team I wanted to go to.”
Votary sees a lot of similarities between Owen Sound and hometown Napanee in that they’re both smaller communities with a passion for hockey and softball.
“On draft day I wasn’t sure where I was going to land, but when I saw my name pop up on the board and I saw it was Owen Sound, I was pretty excited,” he added.
The Attack also present an interesting opportunity for the young goalie as their current backstop, Mack Guzda, will be in his overage season next year. Their second netminder, Nick Chenard, just celebrated his 19th birthday at the end of March.
Though he’ll head into rookie camp with aspirations of making the OHL team, Votary knows one way or another there will be opportunities in the near future. He’ll have four years eligibility with the OHL.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Votary said of rookie camp. “It drives me to know that there’s two older goalies, so if I can crack the roster this year I can learn a lot from the older goalies. If not, I can come back next year and still have a 2002 goalie leading the team that I can mentor from.”
When rookie camp will take place and what it’ll look like is currently up in the air due to COVID-19. For now he just plans to work out at home as best he can and be ready for whenever camp gets underway. If he doesn’t make the team out of camp, he’ll likely be assigned to a nearby Junior A team to stay sharp until his name is called by the Attack.
“It’s a pretty great experience coming through Napanee and seeing all the kids come to our (Red Devils) games and support our team,” Votary said of his small-town upbringing and hockey experience. “In my situation I just worked hard and did everything I could to put my best effort forward. Anything’s possible for kids if they just put the time and effort in and they’ll get the results.”