Spirit rookie defenceman Andoni Fimis could use a rest. But he’s not getting one.
In the past two weeks, he visited four NCAA Division I college campuses in the eastern United States.
The 17-year-old from Richmond Hill then committed to a scholarship at the University of Vermont.
The Grade 12 student and the Catamounts’ coaches aren’t set on which year he’ll enter the Burlington school that has turned out 18 NHLers, including John LeClair, Martin St. Louis and Ross Colton.
Fimis helped the Spirit to an 8-1 win over the North York Rangers at the Stouffville Arena Sunday. With teammate Danny Thomakos, he represented the Spirit at Stouffville’s Remembrance Day Service that morning.
The next day it was back on the road.
Fimis motored to Trenton where he is the lone Spirit player taking part in the Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. The tournament began today and runs through Wednesday.
“It’s a great campus, great hockey facilities,” the mobile 6-foot-2 blueliner said after Saturday’s win, “and an opportunity to get a good education – that was a huge part of this decision for me. The coaches have a really good development plan. And I felt very comfortable being on campus.”
Andoni’s older brother, Pano, opted to sign in the Ontario Hockey League after the GTHL player of the year was selected second overall by Niagara in the 2020 U16 draft. He’s now an assistant captain with the Erie Otters where he’s on pace for a 68-point season.
Andoni was a fifth round pick of the Kingston Frontenacs in the 2022 draft.
“I was always leaning toward the school route,” Adoni said. “I felt it gave me more time to mature and develop.”
A 90-per-cent student in his final year of high school, he’ll study business at Vermont.
In just over a week, Andoni and his parents flew or drove to Canisius, St. Lawrence, Vermont and Holy Cross to check out facilities and speak to coaches.
“A lot of travel and stress over those 10 days,” he said. “I’m happy to have it done with and very happy to be back with the boys every day and just playing hockey.”
Ten all-star teams, two each from the five Jr. A leagues on the east side of the country, are competing for a championship at the Eastern Canada Cup. Forty players from across the 24-team OJHL were selected to play.
The tournament serves as a player identification event for the coaching staff for Team Canada East in player selection for the team’s annual training camp and subsequent entry into the World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 10-17 in Truro, N.S.
Spirit 8, North York 1.
After being held to one goal in each of their last two games, the Spirit had an offensive explosion at the Stouffville Arena Saturday night.
Player of the game Zack Corte, Evan Breckles and Peter Kioussis had two goals apiece. Riley Clark and Tayjon Street scored singles. Stephen Toltl allowed just the one goal while stopping 24 shots.
Spirit at Trenton, Friday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Wellington at Stouffville, Saturday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.
All Spirit games are broadcast on FloHockey. Go to: https://www.flohockey.tv/
Photos courtesy OJHL Images
Spirit This Week is sponsored by Farmer Jack’s in Stouffville and Sharon