Ontario hockey prospect to compete for roster spot at arena he once sold peanuts at

A Guelph, Ont., hockey player working at the Sleeman Centre is one step closer to playing in the same venue for his hometown team.

Micah Della Croce was selected in the 7th round (136th overall) by the Guelph Storm in the 2024 OHL Priority Selection on April 13.

Della Croce is a 16-year-old, six-foot-one-inch, 178-pound centre. He collected 13 goals and 14 assists for the Gryphons under-16 AAA team last season.

During that season, he also worked at the concession stands at the Sleeman Centre, where the OHL team play their home games during the regular season and playoffs.

“I’ve been to see games there since I was little,” said Della Croce. “It was awesome to get drafted by them. It’s been a dream come true.”

Micah isn’t the only Della Croce playing organized hockey. Older brother Luke is a forward with the Elmira Sugar Kings of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Luke also attended the Quebec Ramparts (of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League) training camp last fall.

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It was a pretty busy week for the younger Della Croce.

First, he was fielding phone calls and texts from family and friends congratulating him on getting drafted. One of them was his dad, Robert, who is the principal of Holy Trinity Catholic School in Guelph.

Then Della Croce packed his hockey gear and attended the Guelph Storm’s orientation camp at the Sleeman Centre this past weekend.

Della Croce was one of 36 players in camp that were trying to make an impression on the coaching staff and management. He believes he can contribute to the team in a number of different ways.

“I’m a 200-foot player, can play anywhere on the power play, penalty kill,” Della Croce said. “I can be used to score and support my defense well.”

Della Croce said the camp was a great experience for him and understands what it will take for him to play with and against other elite players in the Ontario Hockey League.

“Definitely need to get a little stronger in my legs so I can stand on my feet and not get knocked around by the older guys,” he said. “Also, need to get a lot faster on the ice.”

Two other Guelph area players were also taken by the Storm in the draft and were also at the orientation camp. Della Croce’s teammate with the Gryphons under-16 AAA team, goaltender Ethan Madden, was picked by the Storm in the 15th round (291st overall). Madden resides in neighbouring Puslinch township.

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Forward Callan Newton went one pick ahead of Madden. The Guelph native played with the Toronto Marlboros under-16 AAA last season.

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