NORTH BAY, Ont. – The North Bay Battalion has signed defenceman Cam Dineen to an education contract, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Thursday.
Dineen, a standout at the Battalion’s orientation camp last month and who turns 17 on June 19, was an 11th-round choice in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the New Jersey Rockets under-19, or midget, team.
Dineen, a six-foot, 176-pound product of Toms River, N.J., played 39 games last season with the Rockets’ Eastern Hockey League entry, scoring 11 goals and earning 30 assists for 41 points with eight penalty minutes. He also played three games with the United States Hockey League’s Tri-City Storm, based in Kearney, Neb., without registering a point.
“Obviously, I’m really excited,” Dineen, speaking via telephone, said of signing. “It’s going to be a big jump. I’m excited to be playing under such a great coaching staff that’s very well known.
“The Battalion is a great organization. They’re really well known in the hockey world, so it’s pretty exciting.”
He said he was impressed with possibilities in the Gateway City when he attended orientation camp May 23-24.
“When I first came in, I didn’t really know what to expect, but as it got rolling I really liked it. The whole city and town and everything I really liked, and I can definitely see myself there. The training camp was a good experience, with good players, and I’m just glad that I was recognized out of all those players.”
Stan Butler, Battalion director of hockey operations and head coach, said he was delighted to have Dineen on board.
“We’re extremely happy to get a player of this magnitude. This is a player who’s from New Jersey, was highly thought of by the USHL and went very high in their draft and was verbally committed to Yale University.
“He’ll fit in nicely with Brady Lyle. He’s a very mobile, good-skating defenceman who can jump into the rush and the type of guy who will add different weapons to our hockey team.
“Offensively, he’s highly skilled. We expect him to move the puck well and generate some offence for us. Obviously, as he’s a young defenceman, we’ll work on his defensive play.”
Dineen said he looks forward to a couple of months of preparation for his OHL debut.
“As for the summer, I’m definitely trying to put on some weight, because I’m somewhat on the smaller side, and getting stronger, faster, because physical is always a big asset to my game. I think just getting better overall in the summer is going to be what I need.
“As far as next year goes, I hope to have a great year with North Bay, and hopefully we’re playing right to the end just like they always are.”
In two seasons in North Bay, the Battalion has advanced to the OHL Championship Series in 2014 and to the Eastern Conference Championship Series in 2015, in which it lost in six games to the Oshawa Generals, eventual Memorial Cup titlists.
The announcement of Dineen’s signing followed by two days that of 16-year-old rearguard Lyle, a North Bay native who was the Battalion’s first-round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection after having played two seasons for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a private school in Faribault, Minn.