By Dianne Cornish • Review Staff
Seventeen-year-old Carter Verhaeghe of Waterdown is living his dream and wearing the Maple Leaf on his hockey jersey as he and members of Team Canada compete in the 2013 IIHF World U18 Championship in Sochi, Russia.
The young Niagara IceDogs forward saw his best game Monday, racking up three assists as Canada skated to a 10-1 win over Switzerland. The Canadian team had a 4-0 record as of Tuesday morning, when they handily defeated Sweden 6-0 to take the top seed in the B division. The team was set to face the Czech Republic today in the quarterfinal round.
The tournament will wrap up this weekend, with the final match being played on Sunday (April 28). TSN is broadcasting the games.
Verhaeghe, a Waterdown native, was named to the team last Monday. He became only the second Niagara IceDog named to the spring U18 Canadian team; Freddie Hamilton was the other, back in 2010.
“I’m very proud that he gets to represent his country and wear the Maple Leaf,” said his dad, Thomas, this week.
“It has been a dream of his since he was smaller and it’s good to see his dream become reality.” Verhaeghe’s mom, Karen, is equally proud.
Verhaeghe, who played several seasons with the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs after a year with Flamborough Minor Hockey, joined the OHL’s IceDogs in 2011.
During his second season, he picked up 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points in 67 regular season games, adding two goals and two assists for four points in five playoff games. His 44 regular season points nearly tripled his point total from his rookie season, while the four playoff points were one more than he had in 19 playoff games during his rookie year.
Overall, Verhaeghe finished fourth in team scoring, behind only the top line of Ryan Strome, Brett Ritchie and Steven Shipley.
With his strong play down the stretch and in the playoffs, Verhaeghe improved his draft stock and was ranked 122nd by NHL Central Scouting in their midterm rankings. He is eligible for this year’s NHL entry draft, which will take place June 30 at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey.
The St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student is hoping to hear his name called by one of the 30 NHL teams as he continues to pursue yet another dream, to one day reach the pinnacle of professional hockey.