Cole, 19, played his entire minor hockey career as a Kitchener Jr. Ranger. During his Minor Midget season, Cole's play and hard work didn't go unnoticed as many teams inquired about him. Listed as 6' 154 lbs Cole was selected in the OHL Priority Draft by the Mississauga Steelheads, 4th round, 69th pick overall. Cole was also named to Team Alliance for the OHL Gold Cup Tournament. The OHL Gold Cup Tournament is part of Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence and stepping stone for the National U17, U18 and World Jr. Team.
In his draft season, Cole was slated to attend Mississauga's training camp and then return to his hometown for a year of junior development with his hometown Kitchener Dutchmen of the GOJHL. Instead, Cole's off season hard work paid off as he had a strong training camp in Mississauga and the Steelheads had no choice but to sign him to an OHL contract and he immediately made the jump from KMHA Minor Midget to the OHL.
In 2019, now listed as 6' 3" 186 lbs, Cole once again heard his name called in a draft when the NHL Florida Panthers selected him in the 3rd round, 81st overall.
This season, Cole was anxious to return to Mississauga to continue his development but like all other OHL players his season start has been delayed. Not one to sit around Cole continued his training with another KJR alumni, Tyler Taylor, at TNT Gym. This hard work paid off because in late October of this past year, Cole received the phone call that he was truly dreaming of. He was invited to Team Canada's World Junior Selection camp in preparation for the World Junior Tournament which took place in Edmonton, AB at Christmas. Cole reported to Red Deer, Alberta on November 16, 2020 to participate in the largest and longest WJT selection camp. In total, 5 former Alliance players were included in the 46 players from across Canada invited to the selection camp. There were 7 players eligible to return from last year's Gold Medal winning team.
The WJT camp had Covid lockdowns and quarantines where players were quarantined to their hotel room for 14 days. During this time they participated in daily video workouts, spin classes (bikes were provided to every player’s room) and team video meetings. Cole was with the team till the final day of releases before being released from an experience of a life time. During his time there Cole realized the number of strong players across the country and took everything in, learning as much as he could to continue his growth as a player and person.
From the WJT, Cole immediately headed to Florida for additional quarantine and to prepare for Florida Panther’s training camp. Once again this was not like any other NHL training camp. The training camp was reduced from 3 weeks to 1 week and the number of players attending was down to about 40 players.
Normally, due to Cole’s age and being eligible to return to the OHL he would stay with the NHL team a week and then be returned to his junior team. However, Cole once again lasted till the final day of releases just prior to Florida’s season opener. When reached during Florida’s camp Cole was enjoying the positive experience of learning to be a pro player and interacting with NHL players and staff on a daily basis. Always pushing himself Cole said “the pace is crazy practicing with these guys every day” and that pace will continue to make Cole better as a player.
When Florida set their regular season roster Cole was reassigned to their AHL team, Syracuse Crunch, where he remains working hard every day on his skills and learning what it takes, physically and mentally to be a professional hockey player.
Cole who is always willing to help out assisted in the demonstration of all of KMHA's summer skills challenges that allowed our players to work on a variety of shooting skills over the summer and submit the video of their training through social mediate to KMHA. Cole was also a guest on KMHA's Summer Coach Webinar where he spoke with coaches from KMHA about skill development leading to levels beyond minor hockey.
Good luck Cole, KMHA is proud of you!!
Written By: Dean DeSilva - KMHA Development Co-ordinator