Over the offseason Wallaceburg’s Seth Griffith, who is now starring for the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins, visited the Hockey Station twice weekly to continue working on his footwork and skating. According to Warriner, who is a former NHLer himself, Griffith has the skills and work ethic to excel at the next level.
“What can you say? Diligent in his habits, and fully invested,” Warriner said about Griffith’s offseason work habits. “He’s off to a great start to his pro career. His shot and work ethic are special.”
Pushing Griffith this summer at the Hockey Station, were Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Ryan Rupert, and his brother Matt Rupert, who was a Leafs camp invite, and who both play for the London Knights. The duo were sent to Warriner by Mark Hunter to improve their skating, and their work appears to have paid off, as each is enjoying a strong season with the OHL’s Knights.
“Aggressive, strong, competitive kids who pushed each other,” said Warriner of the Rupert twins.
Not only has Warriner been working with athletes competing at the next level like the Rupert’s and Griffith, but he’s also training Chatham-Kent’s next crop of budding stars. Two of whom, Muirkirk’s Steven Beenackers, and Chatham’s Drew Marlatt, are having breakout seasons with the Lambton Shores Predators and Blenheim Blades respectively.
“Beenackers is a big, rangy kid with lots of potential,” says Warriner of the Owen Sound Attack draft pick who leads the Junior B Predators in scoring as a 17-year-old this season. “He made a serious committment to fitness this summer and it’s paid off.”
Marlatt, a Windsor Spitfires pick, is also scoring at a torrid pace as an underager with the Blenheim Blades this season. The young forward was named the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League player of the month for October as a 16-year-old.
“Drew is strong on the puck, a great finisher, and also made a committment to fitness this summer,” explained Warriner. “He showed well at Spits camp, and is great without the puck. Has been our most consistent forward this season,” says Warriner, who is also an assistant coach with the Blenheim Blades.
On top of Warriner’s crop of Junior hockey players, which includes several other players competing at the Junior B and C ranks, many Chatham-Kent Cyclones, and Kent Minor Hockey athletes are also improving their skills and skating at Warriner’s Hockey Station.
With the recent success Warriner has had helping to ready hockey players for the next level, it’s only a matter of time before Chatham-Kent’s next big name walks through the Hockey Station doors.