BRACEBRIDGE — Though they didn’t come home as OHL champions this year, the Owen Sound Attack’s rookies pulled as far as the semifinals with some inspiration from a Bracebridge native.
As one of few experienced players left on the Owen Sound Attack, Keevin Cutting
helped to lead his team to the Ontario Hockey League finals, where they were defeated by the Kitchener Rangers.
With many of the Attack’s more experienced players having moved on since the 2011-2012 season began, Keevin Cutting has had to step up to motivate and lead the team’s rookies. Though Cutting was part of the championship team last year, the Attack was eliminated from the OHL playoffs by the Kitchener Rangers this year in late March, after being bested in four out of five games.
Despite the defeat, Cutting was proud of the way in which his team progressed throughout the season.
“As the year progressed, they became more responsible and more experienced, quicker than many other rookies that have been in the league,” he said. “I think we had a successful season considering how young of a team we had, and how many great players we lost to better themselves at another league.”
Throughout the season, Cutting did his best to inspire the rookies through his own conduct and behaviour.
“It was really all the little things, like always working hard in practice. If they see somebody older than themselves and they’re slacking, they’re going to do the same thing,” he said. “But if you have a guy you look up to who is working hard, then you’re going to work hard yourself.”
A four-year veteran of the Owen Sound Attack, Cutting was first drafted to the team in 2008 as a defenceman. Since then, Cutting also made sure he extended his role as a mentor to times off the ice, where he helped younger players sort out issues and challenges in their personal lives.
“I had a few guys come up to me with some distractions, and I helped them along the way,” he said.
Cutting also volunteered his time to be a leader in the Owen Sound community, serving as a motivational speaker in area schools where he speaks to youth about issues like bullying and life goals with fellow Attack players.
In terms of his own goals, Cutting is still working towards one day playing in the NHL. Although he was ranked 87th out of 300 players in North America last year, he wasn’t drafted. He’s still hoping that dream will come true in the near future.
“Right now, it’s just really waiting it out to see if somebody wants to pick me up,” he said.