Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
The Brockville Braves didn’t need to protect James Mayotte in the first round of the CCHL Bantam Draft this year.
Maybe the local hockey club is hoping to catch the same break they did with Simon Mack, who was the Braves first pick last year in the bantam draft and decided to attend Connecticut’s South Kent school this past season before joining the Braves for 2017-18.
This time around Brockville’s top choice is heading to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School next season.
Attending the Minnesota based boarding school has been a dream of Mayotte for a long time. He wanted to go to Shattuck-St. Mary so badly it was the only school he applied to next year.
He’s gone through the list of alumni at the school – Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, Nathan MacKinnon, and many more – with each passing name building his ambition to go there.
“It’s just a motivation for me. I aspire to be a player like that and I want to graduate as one of them,” Mayotte said. “It’s a huge job to graduate and become a player like Crosby and do what he does, but there’s no point in going there and doing it moderate. I want to go there and become the best player I can and hopefully come out as a better player.”
The Braves didn’t choose unwisely in taking Mayotte first, whether he joins them one day or not. The same reasons they picked the defenceman are probably the same reasons Shattuck-St. Mary want him as well.
Mayotte got his foot in the door at the boarding school when his father sent a write-up to the U.S. institution detailing his son’s character, his work ethic at school, and his skills as an athlete – in that order, said Mayotte.
When asked about Mayotte, the Braves director of player personnel Dan Armstrong talked about the 15-year-old’s skill as much as the type of person he is.
It’s tough, though, not to include Mayotte’s character regardless of which three categories you’re speaking about.
If you ask the Grade 9 St. Mary student about his grades he’ll show you some modesty.
“I’d say so,” he sheepishly said when answering if he gets good marks in class. In truth, anyone would say so as he’s an A scholar.
“I’m mostly a 90 (per cent) student.”
Mayotte points to skating as his best attribute as a hockey player, using his speed to get into the open areas.
If you talk to Steven White, who has coached Mayotte for eight years, he gives all the credit to the Braves prospect’s leadership skills. The coach has never been a big proponent of handing out the title of captain to someone on his younger teams, but starting in the novice ranks Mayotte has been a, “born leader and there’s been no hesitation to put the C on his jersey.”
While the Braves kept a close eye on the Upper Canada Cyclones player, the process of getting to Shattuck-St. Mary wasn’t your typical tryout.
Mayotte flew down to Minnesota to check out the school in January and hit the ice for an audition. A few weeks later he was called by someone at the school saying they wanted him to continue with the application process, which consisted of tests, essays and interviews.
Like Mayotte’s dad told the school in the beginning – and the Braves already knew – his son has the character, work ethic and skill to pass everything thrown his way.
“It was an accomplishment on its own to get recognized and invited there,” Mayotte said. “I thought I had a good showing out there and I was excited, but very nervous to hear the outcome, and obviously it was a pretty good outcome.”
Original story at Recorder.ca