Raiders Program Churns out NHL Talent, News (Ajax Pickering AAA Hockey Inc.)

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Raiders Program Churns out NHL Talent
Submitted By Brian McNair on Friday, October 21, 2016
Raiders AAA hockey program churns out NHL talent from 1994 age group.

Devin Shore scores first career goal, Caggiula, Renouf close to making clubs Devin Shore- Ajax native Devin Shore was selected in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. He scored his first NHL goal for the Stars Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016.

Sal Caggiula knew he had a special group when he first started coaching his son, Drake, with the 1994-born players of the Ajax-Pickering Raiders AAA hockey program.

But, he never looked so far ahead to envision the possibility that three of them might make their National Hockey League debuts less than 15 years later.

Devin Shore, of Ajax, has done so already, and on Saturday. Oct. 15 scored his first NHL goal with the Dallas Stars, one of three points in his first two games this season.

Shore had a sniff with the Stars last year, but failed to pick up a point in three games and ultimately had his season ended by a shoulder injury, after putting up 15-11-26 stats in 23 games with the AHL's Texas Stars.

Drake Caggiula, Shore’s best friend and teammate growing up in both hockey and lacrosse, was set to make his debut with the Edmonton Oilers Oct. 12, but a lower body injured has sidetracked that dream for the time-being.

Remarkably, Daniel Renouf, a defenceman on the same Raiders team and teammate of Shore’s at the University of Maine, is also on the injured reserve roster of the Detroit Red Wings, although it remains to be seen where he will end up when healthy.

“They all bring something different to the table, always have,” said Sal Caggiula, who coached the team with Kyle Shore and Glenn Ernst. “Seeing these kids grow up and now being in their early 20s, and seeing how they’ve turned out as young men … it’s pretty special. I’ll always be fond of them and remember them tremendously.”

The ’94 Raiders won all-Ontario AAA titles twice, at novice and atom, and were competitive throughout in an age group that included a Toronto Marlies team led by Scott Laughton.

But, while top-end Ontario players typically take the OHL route to the NHL, the Raiders’ big three all went through the NCAA, with Shore ending up as captain of Maine and Caggiula leading North Dakota to a title in their senior years.

Shore was the only one of the three to get drafted, in the second round by the Stars in 2012, while Renouf and Caggiula signed as free agents this year.

“Never did we say, ‘this is the path to the NHL. You’ve got to do this and do this’,” Sal recalls. “We pushed good grades, and doing the right things and being good citizens within the community, all that kind of stuff. I think it embedded itself in the character and personality of the team and the families, and the parents valued that.”

Several other players have gone on to bigger and better things since minor hockey, including goalie Tim Ernst, who’s currently playing at Brown University and doing exceedingly well in his business studies.

Brian McNair is sports editor Metroland Media Group Durham Region EMAIL [email protected] TWITTER

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