Cobourg Cougars alternate captain Justin Danforth (photo credit - Dave Powers/OJHL Images) has confirmed his commitment to join the Sacred Heart University Pioneers beginning with the 2013-14 Atlantic Hockey Association season.
The speedy 5’8”, 177 lbs. forward was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, playing the tail-end of his minor hockey career with the Oshawa Generals Midget ‘AAA’ program. He would get his first taste of junior hockey during his final season of minor hockey, getting the call to play three games as an affiliate with the nearby Cobourg Cougars. Danforth would make an impression on management in Cobourg and turn that trial-run into a full-time opportunity the following year, 2010-11.
He would make an immediate impact with the club, recording 13 goals and 36 points in 47 games played, including a pair of shorthanded goals and his efforts did not go unnoticed as he was selected as the Cougars Fan Favourite following his rookie year.
Last season, Danforth would play a key role in helping the Cougars to the best season in franchise history, finishing second in the always tough East Division standings with a 37-9-3 record for 77 points. The forward’s speed also made an impression on the coaching staff for Team Canada East as he was selected to join the defending silver medalist at the 2011 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge held in Langley, B.C. Danforth would record one goal during the tourney as Canada East first upset the defending champion U.S. in the semi-final before ultimately falling to Canada West 4-2 in the championship game to win a second consecutive silver medal. Upon his return to Cobourg, he would then be selected to represent the OJHL East Division All-Stars at the inaugural Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and would finish the season with 22 goals and 49 points in 41 games played, but were upset in the playoffs by the Whitby Fury.
This season, Danforth is one of the club’s veterans and undisputed leaders, wearing an ‘A’ on his chest, and he has not disappointed, leading the Cougars in scoring with 32 assists and 53 points in 40 games played thus far. The December runner-up for Gongshow Gear North-East Conference Player-of-the-Month, he once again represented Team Canada East at the World Junior 'A' Challenge, although would come home empty-handed this time following a disappointing fourth place finish. He would also represent the OJHL East Division All-Stars for the second consecutive year at the Central Canada Cup, taking home Tournament MVP honours while leading his team to victory.
Congratulations to Justin and best of luck as he begins his NCAA career next season!
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)