The old saying goes, "Take one step back to take a bigger step forward."
That's exactly what happened with Stef Forgione.
Selected in the 5th round of the 2021 OHL Priority Selection by the Mississauga Steelheads, Forgione went pointless in his rookie season in the OHL playing only 13 games.
Forgione took that step back last season as he had nine goals and as many assists for 18 points in 31 games with the Junior 'A' Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
From day one of Battalion training camp to pre-season play, Forgione impressed and on Wednesday it became official as the Battalion inked the Woodbridge, Ont., product.
Forgione, a left shot who plays both wings, was a free-agent invitee to the club’s training camp and has played all three preseason games, scoring two goals as the Battalion has taken two of three decisions.
Forgione turned 18 on April 29 and measures five-foot-10 and 181 pounds.
“Stef was a guy whom we liked all throughout his draft year, and we were looking forward to seeing what he could do at our training camp,” said general manager Adam Dennis.
“He managed to make an impact in each game he played, whether it be at camp or in exhibition, and earned this opportunity at another chance in the OHL.”
NHL campers return
In the meantime, a handful of the impressive lot of Battalion players at NHL camps have started to filter back to North Bay.
Centre Dalyn Wakely and right winger Anthony Romani returned home Tuesday from the National Hockey League rookie camps of the Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes respectively and are expected to rejoin the Troops on Thursday.
Goaltender Charlie Robertson was to fly out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday and be back in North Bay on Thursday after attending rookie camp with the Florida Panthers.
Five other Battalion members remain with NHL clubs as the team prepares to visit the Owen Sound Attack at 2 p.m. Saturday to complete the preseason schedule.
Ukrainian centre Iggy Pazii, a first-round pick in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft in July who has recovered from knee surgery, and defenceman Zach Wilson, a third-round choice in the Priority Selection in April who suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason opener, have been deemed ready for game action.