The term hard work pays off applies to the new captain of the Oshawa Generals, Anthony Cirelli.
The 18-year-old Woodbridge native has accomplished a lot in the two seasons that he has played for the Generals. The Generals signed Cirelli as a free agent in 2014, less than a year after he went undrafted in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft.
Being undrafted was a defining for Cirelli in his hockey career, but things turned out well.
“Coming from how almost three years ago, I wasn’t even on the radar at all… it was just an unbelievable feeling for me,” Cirelli said.
His career in the OHL has certainly proved to be a successful one. Cirelli scored both goals, including the one in overtime, in 2015 that saw the Oshawa Generals win their first Memorial Cup in 25 years.
After having almost a year to reflect on that winning moment Cirelli says that it was surreal at the moment and sometimes, to this day, it still feels that way, but he couldn’t have done it without his teammates.
“If it wasn’t for the guys, it wouldn’t have happened,” Cirelli said.
People in the professional hockey world are starting to take notice, too. While Cirelli is still very much a part of the Generals, the NHL has seen the potential in the young captain. The Tampa Bay Lightning drafted Cirelli during the 2015 NHL draft, going in the third round, 72nd overall.
Cirelli said he knew he wanted to play hockey for pretty much his whole life. He started skating when he was about four years old.
“My parents always said that I would always have a stick and puck in hand,” Cirelli said.
From there Cirelli played for Mississauga in the Ontario Junior Hockey League from 2013 to 2014 before being called by the Generals.
In his OHL career Cirelli said that he enjoys playing against Mississauga because that’s when his friends and family come out to the game and it is always a good time to play for people that know him.
Although Cirelli has been busy with the Oshawa Generals, he still finds time to hang out with the guys on the team, play video games and just “be a normal teenager.”
Cirelli is the second leading scorer for the Generals in the 2015-2016 season with 20 goals. He does however have the most assists for the season with 37 and leads the team in points with 57.
With the regular season winding down Cirelli said that he hopes to be a leader for the other guys in the locker room and help the Generals stay with the final playoff spot.