By Alex Gallacher
In his fourth season in the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League), Nathan Porter has been a staple member of the Huskies leadership team. Spending two seasons in Pickering and two seasons with the Whitby Fury/Haliburton County Huskies, Porter has amassed a total of 51 points (16 goals and 35 assists) in his career. The first ever captain in Huskies history has come a long way since his humble beginnings.
Porter has been a hockey guy his whole life, the sport being in his blood. His father, a defenceman, got him skating at a very young age. Since then he has fallen in love with the sport.
“I’ve been a hockey guy and my dad is a defenceman,” Porter mentioned. “He grew me up with skates, we’d always have a backyard rink. I’m from Whitby so I’m fortunate that hockey is very well known there, it wasn’t very hard for me to lace up the skates.”
Starting out in AAA with the Whitby Wildcats, Porter was teammates with current Huskies player Christian Stevens as well as 2020 Winnipeg Jets 10th overall pick Cole Perfetti. Graduating to the OJHL, Porter put up 10 points in his first season and 11 in his second. Moving to Whitby for 2019, Porter put up 19 points and was named to the 2020 CJHL (Canadian Junior Hockey League) Prospects Game. Although his first three seasons might not have been as good he wanted, it was still a great time in his eyes.
“I played with some really good guys in Pickering,” Porter said. “One of my teammates there was actually drafted to the Boston Bruins. In 2020, I was part of the CJHL Prospects Game which was really fun. We didn’t have much success there, never making it out of the first round. However, I think that will change this year with Haliburton County.”
Remaining with the Fury after the decision to relocate to the Minden, Porter was ecstatic about the fan support in the county. Playing in front of an empty barn is never fun, but for Porter seeing the jerseys and merchandise in the crowd is something that is surreal to him but more than welcome.
When he came to the county, coach Ryan Ramsay made the decision to name Porter the first captain in team history. Being the first time in his OJHL career that he ever wore a letter, Porter has made the most of the leadership responsibilities that come along with the title.
“It’s a dream come true for me to have a letter,” continued Porter. “I’ve been around the league for a while and I know Ryan and myself get along really well. Being there for the younger guys and being their role model is really fun. You’re always the first one to hear it from the coach after a bad game, but you have a lot of good pressure on you. Guys look to you for what to do next, you got a lot of eyes on your back but it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
With the OJHL coming back after a brief shutdown in January as well as missing the entire 2020-21 season, the players in the league have had it extremely tough. All these players want to do is just be on the ice and with the pandemic it hasn’t been easy. However, the team is very close-knit and during the shutdown the guys managed to find many ways to keep themselves sane and occupied during this time.
“Being up here in Haliburton, it’s not too hard to find some ice.” Porter continued. “You can walk out to the lake, shovel it off and play a few hours outside. We’ve been gaming, and working out when we can. It’s been tough but being insuch a great community, it’s been a lot of help.”
Porter wears No.77 on the ice, and that number carries a lot of meaning. A lot of players choose their numbers off of players they look up to, but for Porter he chose his based off of his family.
“My dad grew up playing with it,” Porter said. “When I made a team I had to pick No.4 because 77 was taken. So this season, Ryan called me up and told me that I could change my jersey number. It’s my last year so I wanted to end it where it started and I picked 77.”
Being from Whitby, Porter’s family does their best to attend as many games as they can. Usually coming once or twice a week, and occasional away games. The support from his family has been a big help for Porter this season.
After the OJHL, Porter hasn’t decided 100 per cent what he wants to do with his career. There are a few options he is considering such as playing hockey for an American university in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) NCAA Division III or playing hockey for a Canadian university in U Sports in Canada, keeping all the opportunities open.
Regardless of what he does, Porter knows hockey will be in his life in some way. The sport has given him so much and he will never let that go, as the season gets back underway look for Porter to be leading the team to the playoffs.