When the puck drops on the 2020-21 OHL season, Owen Sound Attack first round pick Cedrick Guindon is going to be ready.
An offensive playmaker who impressed with 59 points in 41 games as a member of the Rockland Nationals program last year, the 16-year-old centreman has a proven level of intensity and flow to his game. Recognized for his efforts as HEO Player of the Year last spring, he models his style after smaller, high-paced players like Jonathan Drouin or Johnny Gaudreau and likes to lead by example, regardless of his age.
“I’m not the loudest guy in the room, but I just try to be the first guy on the ice in practice and be the last one off the ice. I try to just outwork everybody and I think that sets an example for the rest of the guys on the team,” said the Rockland, Ont. native. “No matter if I’m a 16-year-old or 20-year-old, I try to bring that attitude anywhere I go.”
His leadership isn’t lost on Attack GM Dale DeGray, who remains impressed with the player he selected eleventh overall at the 2020 OHL Priority Selection last April.
“We try to play the game with pace whether we have the puck or not. He certainly fits into that. We try to play a smart, thinking game and he definitely fits into that. He’s a smart player with lots of skill and speed, and those are some of the characteristics we want all our guys to play with so he certainly fits into that,” said DeGray. “He’ll fit in seamlessly.”
Throughout the extended offseason, Guindon has taken a number of steps to ensure he remains in top shape, both physically and mentally.
“I was fortunate enough to train at Fitquest with Chris Schwarz. We focused a lot on gaining weight and getting adjusted to that weight while being able to move twice as fast,” he said.
“Being away from game situations affects you, and just focusing on all the different drills you can work on to help get ready makes a huge difference. For me it was trying to get just twice as fast, twice as heavy and at the same time, keep the flow going.”
To remain hockey-ready and ease himself into the jump to junior, he’s been spending time with the CCHL’s Rockland Nationals.
“Obviously in the summer I worked on skills and training but now I have the chance to play some real games and controlled scrimmages, so it’ll help put me a step ahead of the guys who haven’t had the chance to play games,” he said. “It gets the mind going, gets the legs going and the cardio. It’s so different on and off the ice and the game situation is a whole other level, so I consider myself very fortune to play these games and hopefully I can transition to the OHL soon.”
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeping the Attack from meeting as a group, a fate they’ve held for a full calendar year now, Guindon feels he’s been settling into his new team. He was able to get to know fellow Ottawa-area natives Logan LeSage, Kaleb Lawrence and Nolan Seed on the ice over the summer and has maintained a close relationship with many of his fellow rookies.
“We have Zoom calls pretty often and have our group chats going where we can just chat and keep up. I know Joey Hishon has done a good job of having the guys meet regularly on Zoom and just getting the guys to get to know each other and to get that excitement going,” he said.
“Deni Goure, last year’s first round pick, we have a lot in common and he was there for me for questions, especially right off the bat when I got drafted. Then I have Nick Chenard, all the other draft picks like Gavin Bryant, Madden Steen, and Cédricson Okitundu…we’re all playing video games together,” he said. “I have a good bond with Gavin, Nick, and even Mark Woolley, we share the same agency and he’s obviously a great guy to ask questions to because he has so much experience.”
DeGray has taken notice of Guindon’s tenacity and ability to adapt to the circumstances.
“I think we drafted a good, mature group of kids. We all want to draft those type of players and he certainly fits that mold for sure: good character and mature. Moving forward, he’ll continue to learn from some of the other guys and they’ll probably mold him into a leader which I think he already is anyway,” said DeGray.
“He’s obviously put the time in, he’s committed to play because he wanted to get on the ice and play games so he was able to hook up with Rockland which is fantastic. Moving forward we’re looking forward to seeing him in an Attack jersey and getting on the ice with our kids. I do think he’s a dedicated player.”
Guindon, like DeGray, is confident he’ll fit in with the team as seamlessly as he’s been able to fit in off the ice.
“I think we’re going to have a younger team but we’re still going to have our vets like Woolley, Sergey Popov and all those guys so I think coming into the team, I have to make sure I bring everything I’ve got and work hard on and off the ice,” said Guindon. “I think my skilled and fast-paced game is going to fit in with the team. We’re going to be younger, we’re going to be a fast-paced team, it’s going to be a perfect fit for me.”
And having grown up regularly attending Ottawa 67’s games while looking up to players like fellow Ottawa native Cody Ceci, the opportunity to now be able to call himself an OHL player is testament to all the aforementioned hard work paying off.
“I followed these guys around, even if I wasn’t at the game I made sure to look at the scores. Now, being in the league, it’s really cool and it’s something you don’t expect as a kid. You work for it, and hard work pays off.”