Committed But Not Content, Gardiner Eyes Dream

Nolan Gardiner

Tilbury’s Nolan Gardiner, seen here with the Wheatley Sharks, hopes to crack the Ottawa 67s lineup this season – Photo by Shelly Quick

Tilbury’s Nolan Gardiner committed last month to play next season with the GOJHL’s LaSalle Vipers, but that doesn’t mean the 1998 born forward is content with that decision.

After being selected by the Ottawa 67s in the 11th round of last year’s OHL draft, Gardiner is working to make the 67s this season, and work toward his professional hockey dreams.

“I am hoping to crack the Ottawa 67’s roster at main camp this year,” said Gardiner, who was selected by Ottawa after a strong showing with the Chatham-Kent Cyclones minor midget team two seasons ago.

“I hope to make the jump to the OHL this season, I am also exploring interest from the NCAA,” added the tenacious forward, who played for the Great Lakes Junior C league’s Wheatley Sharks this past season. “I am going to continue to work hard and work towards my goal of playing at the professional level.”

If the OHL doesn’t work out this season, Gardiner will have a safe home in LaSalle, a team who has become synonymous with developing young hockey players and advancing them to higher levels.

“It felt very good to get the commit early, it’s a great organization known for developing good players for the next level,” said Gardiner of committing to the LaSalle Vipers, who annually send half a dozen players to the OHL and University programs.

Wherever he is, Gardiner hopes to continue improving his game, both on and off the ice.

“This year I want to continue to get stronger, bigger, and faster so that I can excel at the next level.”

With big dreams, and hours of hard work ahead, Gardiner is thankful for his time in Wheatley last season, his rookie Junior campaign.

“The Wheatley Sharks did a great job in helping me prepare for the next level,” says Gardiner. “This season helped me get used to the bigger bodies and playing against older guys. My teammates were amazing and pushed me to be better.”

With an entire offseason ahead, Gardiner will look to improve every day, and make a lasting impact at the Ottawa 67s main camp in August.

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