SPOTLIGHT: Francesco Pinelli

It was a typical morning for the Stoney Creek native—wake up, shower, get dressed—up until he made his way downstairs to the living room. It was draft day.

“My entire family was downstairs,” smiled Francesco. “I didn’t know they were all going to be there, they all wanted to surprise me. We turned on the TV and hoped we would hear my name called.”

As a young hockey player, Francesco’s goal is to make it to the NHL. The first step to achieving that goal for him was to be drafted in the OHL Priority Selection. All his hard work paid off, as Kitchener called his name in the 1st round, 13th overall.

“It was a really surreal experience. We were hoping I was going to hear Kitchener call my name. To be drafted to such an incredible organization was an honour,” said Francesco humbly. “Everything I worked for from day one to now has paid off. But the work doesn’t stop here.”

The moment Francesco heard his name, he knew it was time to get to work. His drive and passion for the game are evident to those who watch him play.

Walking into The Aud on draft day and shaking the hands of the scouts, head coach and general manager would be nerve-racking for anyone. Francesco just couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.

“It was such a warm welcome,” said Francesco. “I put on my first Kitchener Rangers jersey and toured the facilitates. It was all pretty incredible; I still can’t believe it.”

His parents, Frank and Daniella, watched on as their son was welcomed to the organization and couldn’t help but smile—they were so incredibly proud.

“My parents have always supported me,” said Francesco. “They were definitely emotional when they heard my name called, especially my mom.”

Francesco also heard many of his teammates’ names called on Saturday, April 6th. Specifically, two of his best buddies.

“My buddy, Chandler Romeo went to Hamilton in the 3rd round, and Andre Anania went in the fourth to Sudbury. It is awesome seeing them get drafted too,” said Francesco. “It will be a cool experience to play against them in the OHL one day that’s for sure.”

Next up? Spring camp.

Francesco and the other Rangers prospects’ hard work doesn’t stop now, it has only just begun.

The newest selections will compete for a spot on the Blueshirts line up on Easter weekend at the Kitchener Rangers Spring Camp held from Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21, 2019, at the Activa Sportsplex.

Camp will feature newly drafted prospects from the 2019 OHL Priority Selection and 2019 U-18 Priority Selection, prospects from previous OHL Priority Selections, as well as free agent invites. All on-ice practice and games are open to the public.

For more information and a full schedule, CLICK HERE.

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