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Cameron Smith's work ethic and tenacity just what Red Wings needed, says GM

ElliotLakeToday gets to know Red Wings goalie Cameron Smith a little better
Cameron Smith in action against French River Rapids on Feb. 4. Final score: 6-1 for the Red Wings.

Cameron Smith, joined the Elliot Lake Red Wings in November and has been solid between the pipes in his short time in red and white.

In 12 games with the Red Wings, the 18-year-old has posted a .913 save percentage and a 3.42 goals against average with the club after coming over from the Ontario Junior Hockey League's Stouffville Spirit.

Smith said joining the Red Wings was definitely not a move he saw coming.

Things weren’t going well when he started the year with the Spirit and he explored a few different options, but the Red Wings were the team that showed the most interest.

Smith has a personal connection to a member of the Red Wings staff.

After playing for Red Wings vice-president hockey operations/general manager Mark Savery two years ago with the Uxbridge Bruins, the two had a good relationship and Savery really believed in Smith.

After a few conversations with Savery and team owner Paul Noad, he knew coming to Elliot Lake would be the best move for him.

Having never been in Northern Ontario before coming to Elliot Lake, Smith said it was definitely an adjustment but it has been great, from the teammates and coaches to his billets.

Although a high school graduate, he is currently enrolled in Grade 12 Biology and Data Management, so school has been taking up a lot of his time, but he likes being busy when not on the ice. Smith’s educational goal at this time is a Division 1 Scholarship.

But the ice is where he loves to be. Smith grew up playing AAA hockey for the Markham Waxers from novice to midget. Smith’s favourite hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs and his favourite goalies are Mackenzie Blackwood and Fredrick Anderson.

In answer to the question of what it’s like playing in front of the fans in Elliot Lake, Smith said he loves the way the fans cheer the team on, win or lose. All the players really appreciate the support they get from the fans.

Smith’s pregame routine has changed through the years. He said he got a little carried away with it before and it did not help his performance, so now he doesn’t do anything crazy. He gets to the rink and hangs out with his teammates and then gets changed into his warm-up gear and stretches, visualizes making some saves and then warms up his eyes.

“I played goalie for the first time at six years old, I believe. Our house league team didn't have a goalie so we just rotated every game," Smith said.

“The night before my first game my dad shot some tennis balls on me in my basement to get ready. He told me not to go down on my knees because he didn't want me to ruin the pads on the concrete floor.

“During the game, I thought I wasn't supposed to go on my knees and got scored on 14 times. Most kids would be pretty disappointed with that result but after the game, I was smiling ear to ear asking when I'd be able to go on net again.

“My dad figured if I was crazy enough to let in 14 goals and want to go back in net, I was probably crazy enough to be goalie.”

“This is the second team that I have been the GM with, that I have worked with Cam Smith,” said Savery, “Since Cam was drafted by the London Knights in 2019 (85th overall in the 5th round), he has played for me with the Uxbridge Bruins of the PJHL as a 16-year-old where he quickly established himself as our number backstop.

“He then moved on to the OJHL where he didn't get a chance to show how competitive he is in my opinion. When I heard he may be available I moved on him right away and brought him to Elliot Lake.

“Cam's determination, work ethic and his tenacity never to give up on a puck along with his level of physical fitness were just what I knew he could bring to us. We are pleased to play a part in Cam's development and will do whatever we can to help him move to the next level.“

As the Red Wings picked up a pair of wins over the weekend as the NOJHL returned to the ice, Smith played a big role in that success.

Starting for the Red Wings in both wins, Smith registered 1.00 GAA and a .969 save percentage in starts against the French River Rapids and Cochrane Crunch

The weekend wins saw Smith be named one of the NOJHL’s Eastlink TV Stars of the week.