Friday, July 13 was anything but ‘unlucky’ for 17 year old Marc Beckstead of Morrisburg. It was the day the talented right winger signed with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League.
Beckstead, a late cut from the Frontenacs last year,wisely spent last season with the Cumberland Grads in the Central Junior Hockey League where he had a good year and followed the advice of the Frontenacs.
“I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been training for it and it paid off,” said Beckstead at his Morrisburg home on Monday.
Beckstead had a good season with the Grads. In 57 games, the 16 year old counted 12 goals and added 27 assists. He worked on body conditioning throughout the year to put on some size.
Last weekend (July 6-8), it, along with many years of dedication and hard work, paid off when he stood out at an NHL Showcase camp in Belleville.
In addition to putting up a few points and playing well at the camp, Beckstead experienced his first fight.
Although he says he has been in tussles before, it’s “never been like drop the gloves.”
According to his dad Ernie, the fight didn’t hurt a bit…in fact it showed the scouts that Marc can handle himself.
At the camp, the five foot 11, 175 pound Beckstead drew the attention of the Frontenacs’ scout, who, they later learned, contacted Frontenacs General Manager Doug Gilmour and Coach Todd Gill and suggested they stop in.
“I went down to see him…this past weekend,” said Gill in an interview with CKWS Television in Kingston, “and he was like a man amongst boys. He is a very talented kid, lots of speed, good size. He’s a play maker more than a goal scorer, but he can put the puck in the net. I see him fitting right in on the right side and he’s a right-handed shot which is what we needed.”
Also at the camp, Beckstead was being scouted by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League (USHL), which is listed among the top junior leagues in North America, along with the OHL.
The USHL is said to be a focussed and fast track to both the NHL and scholarships to play NCAA Division I U.S. hockey.
After returning home to Morrisburg, Beckstead first received a call from Cedar Rapids with an offer on Sunday night at about 9 p.m.
Within minutes he received a second call from his agent Shane Sullivan to inform him that the Frontenacs were offering him a contract.
And so began several days of talks…as Marc and his parents, Ernie and Leisa, worked on making the best decision.
An education component was a big factor in their decision and when they were able to work out an education plan with the Frontenacs that was to their satisfaction, the decision was made.
Marc will head to Kingston in late August. He will be enrolled in grade 12 at a Catholic High School there and will be billeted with a local family. Post secondary considerations are also included in his contract.
“This is surreal,” says Marc. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the call. This has always been my dream. I’m still on cloud nine.”
Training camp will start for the Frontenacs in September, and they will bring their relatively young team this direction in September for an exhibition game with the Brockville Braves.
In addition to his dad and mom, Marc was accompanied to Friday’s signing in Kingston by a number of family members. They were all given a tour of the K-Rock Centre where the Frontenanacs play their home games.
“The home opener is against Barrie, and we are going to have all of our family and friends there,” said a very proud Ernie.
Beckstead was drafted by the Frontenacs in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection in the 14th round (270th overall).
He was also drafted second overall by the Cumberland Grads in the Central Hockey League Bantam and Midget-aged draft last year and ended up playing for the Grads for the season.