First round draft pick, 13th overall. First defenseman drafted. First ever first round pick of a current Chatham-Kent Cyclones player. And of course, he was the first player selected by the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
That means expectations are sky high for Grayson Ladd, but he’s excited for the next step, and ready to be a Kitchener Ranger.
“The feeling has been unbelievable and hasn’t really sunk in yet. Being a first rounder into the OHL was a goal of mine since I started playing as a little guy and it finally came true,” said Ladd of the feeling of being selected in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
“The Kitchener Rangers are an incredible organization and ever since I went up on a visit to Kitchener, I’ve wanted to play there. As soon as I stepped into the Aud (Kitchener Auditorium), I knew that Kitchener was the place I wanted to play, it just felt right and thankfully Kitchener is the place where I’ll be playing.”
Being drafted is the first step in a long process, and being drafted by the team of your choice makes things even better; but the day of firsts wasn’t lost on the grade 10 Chatham-Kent Secondary School student, who captained the Chatham-Kent Cyclones this season.
“I think it adds something for sure, being the first defenseman to be selected in the draft,” said Ladd. “It is an amazing feeling but I have a lot of work to do to prove why the Rangers selected me as the first defenseman in the draft.”
“To be the highest ever player currently on a Cyclones roster picked makes me feel proud of myself and all the things I’ve accomplished, but I have a lot more things I would like to accomplish in my mind. My teammates helped me a lot this year both midget and Junior B. They pushed me and made me better and I’m very thankful for my teammates. A lot of my success also goes out to Colin and Tyler Roeszler with on and off ice training that prepared me to perform at my best.”
Ladd had 17 points in 37 games this season for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, and added 2 points in 7 games for the Junior B Chatham Maroons. He also trains off ice with Athletes Fuel Strength & Conditioning in Chatham.
Now however, the work really just begins, because Ladd has other firsts in mind, including playing his first game, and his first season in the OHL with his Kitchener Rangers sooner rather than later.
“The thing I am most looking forward to is to hopefully make the team this year and playing in the OHL,” Ladd said of his next step. “Before that happens, I want to have a good development camp and show why they picked me in the first round.”
“Since my first trip to Kitchener, I love the Rangers organization and can’t wait until I step on the ice. The atmosphere in Kitchener is outstanding and the community is amazing. There is a lot of support from the fans and so much history with the organization. I am very excited to be a Ranger.”