Cameron's focus is on OHL final

Eric McCarthy
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MISSISSAUGA, ONT. – The Dave Cameron-coached Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors lead the Owen Sound Attack heading into Game 2 of the Ontario Hockey League’s best-of-seven championship series in Owen Sound tonight.

Dave Cameron

They won the series-opener 5-2 at home Tuesday.

Regardless of how the series ends up, both teams will advance to the Canadian Hockey League’s championship tournament – the Memorial Cup – that opens in Mississauga on May 20. The Majors are the tournament’s host team.

That certainly doesn’t mean the OHL championship series is meaningless.

“Our big thing was we knew we were going to the Memorial Cup, but, at the same time, we were pretty confident that we had a pretty good team,” Cameron commented. “When you have a pretty good team, you want to make sure you go as deep into the playoffs as you possibly can, and to go in as OHL champions.”

Cameron, a Kinkora native who spends his off-season in Kildare Capes or, as he calls it, “Paradise,” is in the midst of a highlight year. He coached Team Canada to a silver medal at the world junior hockey championship in Buffalo, N.Y., in January, and led the Majors to a first-place overall finish in the OHL standings.

Now, only the Attack stands in the Majors’ way of an OHL title.

“Full marks to our hockey club that we didn’t get distracted by the fact that we had an automatic bid (to the Memorial Cup),” said Cameron. “We played some real good hockey in the playoffs, and we’re one series away from going in as OHL champions.”

Rumours on future

The script to what happens after the Memorial Cup still hasn’t been written, but some sports writers and commentators are suggesting Cameron is worthy of consideration as the Ottawa Senators’ next head coach. The NHL team fired Cory Clouston immediately following the Senators’ final regular-season game on April 9.

Cameron, who was mentioned as a possible replacement even before Clouston received his pink slip, is taking it all in stride. He said a few reporters have asked him about the possibility of an Ottawa coaching job being added to his resumé.

For now, he insists, the OHL final, this weekend’s OHL draft and then the Memorial Cup are his immediate priorities.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction for my team. Moving forward here, they have a lot at stake, so I’ve avoided it or downplayed it as best I can. But I’m no different than the players. I aspire to get to the National Hockey League. That’s always been a dream of mine as a coach, but it’s a hard league to get to. There are only 30 of those jobs in the world, and there are a lot of good coaches out there applying for them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get there, but at the end of the day I’m up to my neck here in some real good hockey and I’ll address that one when my season is over.” Dave Cameron

“The hockey world is a rumour world and, certainly, with my connection and having worked with Mr. Melnyk here in Toronto and in Binghamton, your name gets added to the rumour thing,” Cameron said.

Eugene Melnyk owns both the Ottawa Senators and the Majors.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction for my team,” he said of the rumour mill. “Moving forward here, they have a lot at stake, so I’ve avoided it or downplayed it as best I can.

“But I’m no different than the players. I aspire to get to the National Hockey League. That’s always been a dream of mine as a coach, but it’s a hard league to get to. There are only 30 of those jobs in the world, and there are a lot of good coaches out there applying for them.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get there, but at the end of the day I’m up to my neck here in some real good hockey and I’ll address that one when my season is over.”

Strong program

Cameron suggests future stars look forward to being drafted to the Majors, where young players get to play and develop, he said.

“My core guys on this hockey club have been with me three or four years,” said Cameron. “In their hearts, they’re Mississauga Majors and they’re playing for all the right reasons.”

Cameron said they are excited about the possibility of becoming OHL and Memorial Cup champions, and are willing to put in the effort to make it happen.

Eric McCarthy is the western bureau manager of the Journal Pioneer. The "Islanders Away" feature appears every Thursday. If you would like to suggest an "Islander Away" for this feature, please do so by emailing jpsports@journalpioneer.com.

Organizations: Canadian Hockey League, Ottawa Senators, National Hockey League Team Canada Journal Pioneer

Geographic location: Mississauga, Kinkora, Buffalo, N.Y. Ottawa Toronto Binghamton

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