The kid who travelled the greatest distance and made the biggest sacrifice to become a London Knight is still here.
And after his name is called during the first round of the NHL draft next Friday in Pittsburgh, Olli Maatta has a pretty good feeling he'll be back again to the closest thing he's got in Canada to Jyvaskyla, Finland.
"I want to play in London next year," the 17-year-old defenceman said. "We got to the last game (the Memorial Cup final) and we didn't win. It hurt a lot. We needed to find one more goal. I want to help us get that goal and win that last game. We had a good defence and that shouldn't change next year.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
He remains, after teammates have had the chance to go home or on vacation and try to make sense of the 2-1 overtime defeat in Shawinigan.
Part of it is for convenience.
"I didn't want to fly back to Finland and come back (for the draft)," the 6-foot-2, 198-pounder said. "It's a grind. It's over eight hours. It wears on you."
But another part is proof of how comfortable Maatta has become with London, how adaptable he was in his first OHL season and how quickly he became one of the top three all-time Knights imports - up there with Sergei Kostitsyn, the team's single-season assists leader, and Max Spiridonov, the former 54-goal scorer.
By RYAN PYETTE, THE LONDON FREE PRESS, June 14, 2012
|1.||Sean DayDetroit Compuware U16 (HPHL)|
|2.||Zach WerenskiDetroit Little Caesars U18 (HPHL)|
|3.||Travis KonecnyElgin Middlesex Chiefs (ALLIANCE)|
|4.||Dylan StromeToronto Marlboros (GTHL)|
|5.||Matt SpencerOakville Rangers (OMHA - SCTA)|
|6.||Jordan GreenwayShattuck St. Mary's (US Prep)|
|7.||Lawson CrouseElgin Middlesex Cheifs (ALLIANCE)|
|8.||Luke KirwanMiddlesex Islanders (EJHL)|
|9.||Brett McKenzieOakville Rangers (OMHA - SCTA)|
|10.||Brendan WarrenDetroit Compuware U16 (ALLIANCE)|
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