Stouffville forward will play in USHL, then Boston UniversityEthan Werek is leaving the Stouffville Spirit.
By: Mike Hayakawa, Staff Writer
The 17-year-old Stouffville-area resident, who has accepted a scholarship to attend Boston University in the fall of 2009, will be in the United States Hockey League tier one circuit with the Indiana Ice in Indianapolis this season.
“It was a hard decision,” he said Friday. “In the end, I sat down with my family and said Indiana will be a great place for me to develop before I go to Boston University and hopefully get drafted in the National Hockey League. It’ll definitely be hard to leave home. But I’m excited.”
Making the decision more interesting is that fact that his father, Zeev Werek, has co-owned the Spirit for 10 years.
Ethan, who started in the Whitchurch-Stouffville Minor Hockey Association, is a projected high-end pick in next June’s NHL draft in Montreal.
He was picked in the first round of the 2006 Ontario Hockey League draft by Kingston, after telling teams he was going the college route and would not report. (U.S. colleges consider OHL teams as professional. Playing in one game makes a player ineligible for college hockey. The USHL is not considered pro.)
The thought of moving south was planted last year when Werek was Indiana’s first pick in a USHL draft.
Several pro and amateur scouts recommended the USHL to him as the top league south of the border and of similar quality to the OHL, Werek said.
As well, the Boston University coaching staff suggested he take the USHL route.
Last month, Werek made a visit to Indiana and met the Ice coaching staff.
“I liked the program they were running. It’s like a major junior A program and the club was one of the top teams in the league last year and they have good resources there,” he said.
The Ice had three players taken in this year’s NHL draft for the second straight season, including first-rounder John Carlson (Washington Capitals). They average more than 3,500 fans per game.