By @StefanKubus –
PLYMOUTH – Sean Day attended last year’s World Junior Summer Showcase as a seventh defenseman.
Now, at 19, the Rochester native returns home as one of the camp veterans.
The New York Rangers prospect said experiencing the camp once before has brought him into Round 2 with confidence as he challenges for a spot on the 2018 U.S. World Junior Team.
“It’s been fun. I think it’s a lot different this year – I guess going through it last year, being a seventh defenseman, just kind of seeing all the top guys play and all the older guys play,” Day said. “This year, I’m one of the older guys, so it’s fun. My family’s been out, watched. We’re just getting back in the swing of things.
“I think a little bit just with last year, there were a lot of good defensemen, so with me, I just had to have a good summer and I think I had a good season this last season, too. I think that built a lot of confidence in coming back here, just knowing I could be one of the top defensemen for this team.”
Day labeling his 2016-17 campaign a “good season” was certainly justified. It was his best in the OHL to date, and it saw him net career-highs in goals (15) and points (37) in 63 games. Fifty-eight of those games were with Windsor, as Day was traded to the Spitfires early in the season. He also potted five helpers in seven postseason games.
But despite his ability to contribute offensively, Day said his versatility on the blue line is one of his biggest assets.
“Just that I can play anywhere,” Day said on what he wants to show the coaching staff. “There’s guys here that are offensive and defensive, and I think I can play either way. If they want to pair me with an offensive guy or a defensive guy, I can play either mold.”
The Summer Showcase also marks a return for Day to his home rink.
The 6-foot-2 blueliner, a dual-citizen of Canada and the U.S., played his youth hockey in part at USA Hockey Arena with Compuware (along with Little Caesars and Honeybaked) before making the jump to the OHL.
“I played here with Compuware, so it’s fun to be back,” Day said. “I think it’s a little bit different now with all the different colors and stuff, upgraded workout room, the facilities… it’s unreal.
“In that back parking lot, I remember walking out the doors back there and it just being a wide-open lot and now there’s the extension of the building that has turf inside with a huge weight room and shooting room, so coming here last year and seeing that was for sure surprising. Even skating here in the summers, I’d be here and they’d be doing construction and I didn’t get to see it, so it still felt like the old building, but now that you finally get to see it, it’s a lot different.”