The Brampton Battalion are a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. Battalion Headquarters: Brampton Battalion Hockey Club, 7575 Kennedy Rd. South, Brampton, Ontario L6W 4T2 Phone: (905) 874-2393 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Brampton native Stuart McComish has served as the Battalion's website co-ordinator since Februrary 2000. Visit the Brampton Battalion for more information.
Brampton - Spencer Abraham was meant to play for the Brampton Battalion.
Abraham’s father, Gary, is a physician who has been in charge of the Battalion medical staff since the Ontario Hockey League club’s inaugural season in 1998-99.
“I grew up here,” rookie defenceman Abraham said Tuesday as the Troops prepared for their regular-season opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday against the visiting Erie Otters.
“I was here at the first game in 1998 and was at the last playoff game last season. I’ve been to a lot of games here and always wanted to play for the Battalion. I’ve seen everyone from Raffi Torres to Matt Duchene. It’s a bit surreal for me and my family to get used to me playing instead of watching.”
Being chosen in the final round of the 2009 OHL Priority Selection has given Abraham all the motivation he needs to prove he belongs. His older brother, Brayden, was a 15th-round pick in 2006 and now attends Montreal’s McGill University.
“I’ve been proving a lot of people wrong,” noted the younger Abraham. “It’s tough to get here if you’re chosen in the seventh or eighth round, forget about the 15th. I just use it as motivation to work harder.”
The 17-year-old from Campbellville, Ont., has wasted no time displaying his versatility, seeing action both on the blue line and at forward during the Troops’ five-game exhibition slate.
Chosen in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, Abraham had two goals and one assist as a defenceman in a 7-5 loss to the Oshawa Generals at Pickering, Ont., last Wednesday night. The next night, with the Battalion again short-manned with players at National Hockey League training camps, he skated on left wing in a 2-1 loss to the visiting Guelph Storm.
“That’s what I did last year,” noted Abraham. “I was an offensive defenceman expected to put points up and run the power play. If I needed to, I would go up to forward.”
Abraham, five-foot-11 and 177 pounds, scored 30 goals and added 55 assists for 85 points in 52 games last season with the Halton Hurricanes midgets.
“Sometimes we’d have only eight forwards and five defencemen, so I’d go up. I’ve always thought I was a versatile player and I’ll do whatever the coach wants. I never played forward until last season. It was different, but I learned some things.”
Battalion assistant coach Kelly Harper praised Abraham’s flexibility.
“He’s a good skater with good offensive instincts and he did a good job. It’s hard to go up and back. It can be a challenge.”
Abraham turned down a chance to play with the junior A Streetsville Derbys last season, preferring the midget ranks.
“I knew it was important for me to get a lot of ice time. I had an opportunity to play for Streetsville, but I thought I would be better off at midget playing in all situations. There was nothing wrong with it. I learned a lot and improved as a player.”
Abraham said his speed will be one of the keys to his OHL success.
“It’s faster here, but I worked hard on my speed all summer. I know it’s all about skating here, and I think that’s my strength. I think I can skate at this level. I’m an undersized defenceman, and for me to be successful I need to be an offensive player who jumps into the play and can move the puck. I’ll take every opportunity I can to score here.”
He said there’s a big difference between joining the play as a defenceman and entering the offensive zone as a forward.
“It’s one thing to jump into the play, another to be in on the forecheck and be below the goal line cycling the puck. When you jump into the rush you have to pick your spots, but at times it can be easier here because the forwards are a lot smarter and I know they’ll be supporting me.”