Doggett trains with first-time pros

Gael skates at Blackhawks’ rookie camp

Slater Doggett is entering his first season at Queen’s.
Slater Doggett is entering his first season at Queen’s.
Credit: 
Windsor Spitfires

Missing out on his first week of university classes, men’s hockey forward Slater Doggett had a more legitimate excuse than most.

The first-year recently participated in the Chicago Blackhawks’ rookie camp from Sept. 11 to 15 as a free agent invite. Though he ultimately returned to Queen’s as a Gael, Doggett’s brief professional experience should serve as a stepping stone this upcoming year. 

Recently brought into the hockey program by head coach Brett Gibson, Doggett wasn’t always sure whether or not he wanted to immediately pursue a pro career or come to university. 

“When I was recruiting him, he was really 50/50 whether he’d turn professional after his major junior career or take the CIS route,” Gibson said. 

“We came to the conclusion that if he got an NHL tryout I’d let him go,” Gibson said. “If he comes back, he plays for us,  if he doesn’t he’s got a pro contract.”

Though Doggett returns to Kingston without a full-time pro deal, Gibson can’t wait to have him in his lineup.  

“It’ll be nice to have a guy of his caliber in the lineup for sure,” he said.  

Doggett’s no stranger to the city of Kingston, having played for two years for the OHL’s Frontenacs. He finished off his junior career last season with the Windsor Spitfires, scoring 25 goals and 26 assists in 51 games. Following his time in Windsor, he played six games with the professional Alaska Aces of the ECHL, picking up one goal and two assists.

“He’s scored at the professional level,” Gibson said. “It’s great to come back here to show these guys what it’s like.”

Gibson added that Doggett’s situation is unique as he’ll be looked up to as a leader in his first year on the team. 

Though Doggett didn’t stick at the professional level, Gibson knows he’ll be just as happy to compete in the OUA.

“He’s a great kid. He knows the game real well,” he said. “He’s going to be a huge asset to the  program over the next four years.”

Gibson said his role is to push Doggett and his teammates to their full potential, with the possibility of making the pros available in their futures. One recent success story is former Gael Patrick McEachen, who played 31 games last season for the Florida Everblades and Gwinnett Gladiators. “I’m working in practice every day, trying to improve their skills,” Gibson said. 

For now, though, Gibson’s focus is to win.

“It’s going to be about how quickly our young guys like Slater adapt to the league.”

Doggett was unavailable for comment for the story, as he was at the camp. 

 

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