The 16-year-old, currently playing for the Oakville Blades Jr. A team, signed his commitment to join the Wolves bench. The 6-1, 180-lb right-shot defenceman was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, 67TH overall from the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midgets.
He has been logging good minutes and has been playing in all situations with Oakville, said a news release.
“We were elated to have selected Austin in the OHL priority selection last April,” said Wolves’ Head Scout Andrew Shaw. “Our scouting staff had Austin rated much higher than where we selected him, so we feel we have acquired a player that has the potential to develop into a top defenceman for the Sudbury Wolves.”
Wolves’ Director of Player Development Bryan Verreault has watched Clapham’s development over the past six weeks and has already seen the improvement in his game.
“Austin has a great point shot and he is playing both very smart and physical,” said Verreault. “Austin is well-liked and respected by his coaches in Oakville, and he is playing in all situations. If he continues to keep his game simple, he will develop into a very effective OHL defenceman with solid pro potential.”
“We are very pleased that Austin has chosen to play in the OHL,” said Wolves’ GM Blaine Smith. “As a 90-average student, Austin has recognized the OHL scholarship program and he now has the chance to fulfil his dreams as a member of our hockey club.”
Smith said he and Shaw had an excellent interview with Clapham and his parents prior to the 2013 OHL priority selection and recognized him as a player that is focused on being the best that he can be.
“It was also very important for our club to have a right-shot defenceman of Austin’s calibre in our system,” said Smith. “We only have two right-shot defencemen on our current roster (Kevin Raine and Jimmy McDowell) and both are currently in their graduating year. We now have the ability to call up Austin on a need-be basis this season, and we look forward to watching Austin develop his defensive skills in Oakville with the Blades organization.”
The Toronto native was thrilled to sign with the Wolves.
"Sudbury is an exceptional organization, and I could not be more pleased with the opportunity that they have provided me,” said Clapham. “I can't wait for my first chance to get on the ice and contribute to the team. Mr. Smith and Mr. Shaw have shown great faith in me, and I am grateful for their trust and commitment. I will continue to work hard with the Oakville Blades, under Coach Gomes' great guidance, to further develop my skills. I am so proud to have joined the Pack."
The Wolves are ready to play a weekend double-header on home ice beginning tonight when they host the Plymouth Whalers at 7:30 p.m. The Mississauga Steelheads will be the Wolves’ guests on Saturday night. Game time is 7 p.m.