PHILADELPHIA — Michael Dal Colle will be inside Wells Fargo Center Friday night for the first round of the NHL Draft surrounded by family. There will be one person missing, however: his brother Jonluca.
Jonluca, who is autistic, has been one of Dal Colle’s biggest inspirations, along with his mother, Wendy, who battled breast cancer for two years before winning in 2009. The obstacles both have gone through have shown the Oshawa Generals’ winger what it takes to handle adversity when it’s thrown your way.
“My family is everything for me,” Dal Colle said during a media availability with top prospects on Thursday. “Growing up, it was kind of tough and rough on my family. But in hockey, everything I do is for them and that’s why [Friday] is going to be very special, primarily for my family, not even myself. I put my family ahead of me because I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
As an 11-year old watching his mother fight cancer, it wasn’t easy. Playing hockey soon became an escape for Dal Colle.
“It can get your mind off things, especially as a young kid,” he said. “I watched my mom battle through some tough adversities. That was very hard on me and my family. I think hockey for kids is an escape.”
Dal Colle said that the experiences of seeing his mother’s battle and what his brother goes through every day has made him stronger personally.
“Yeah, 100-percent,” he said. “I think you realize whatever adversity you go through isn’t really close to what I’ve seen. In hockey, there’s going to be times when you’re down but you’ve got to realize in the big picture, it’s nothing. You’ve got to battle through those things.”
This past season with Oshawa, Dal Colle led the team in scoring with 95 points and was second behind Philadelphia Flyers prospect Scott Laughton in goals with 39. He was rated fifth among North American skaters by Central Scouting and with five Canadian teams scheduled to draft in the first nine picks, the Woodbridge, Ont. native wouldn’t mind playing in his home country.
“Personally, I’d love that,” he said. “I kind of like when people call me out. I think it brings out the best in me. There’s a lot of Canadian teams picking high, so, a lot of these top prospects are probably going to go to Canadian markets.”
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