Tony DeHart: A Time to Lead

Tony DeHart was drafted in the seventh round by the London Knights in 2006. The Knights were the only OHL team that spoke with the now 18-year-old defenseman prior to that years’ draft. He says that it was exciting being drafted, but even more exciting when he learned he had been traded to Oshawa this past September.

“I barely played in London,” he says, “but I’m on the power play here. It’s been a great step up. I’m shocked at how many points I got this year.”

DeHart played 63 games for the Generals (one short of a full season), scoring seven goals and 20 assists. In his two previous years with London, he played 38 and 34 games respectively, gaining a total of nine points. Coming to Oshawa was a step in the right direction.

“I didn’t get drafted to the NHL,” he says, “but eventually I’d like to go pro. If that doesn’t happen then I’d like to get a business degree.”

DeHart still has two years of eligibility left with the OHL. He says that in the years to come he’d like to be more of a leader for the team and to be a good role model for the rookies.

“I want to show them the ropes, teach them how it’s done,” he says with a smile.

The native of St. Louis, Missouri, began playing hockey at age six. He also played baseball and lacrosse as a child, but was better at hockey, and also liked it better. DeHart won his first championship at age 14 with the St. Louis Jr. Blues.

He says that he has always played defense. He wanted to try forward at one time, but he was one of the first of his age to learn to skate backwards, so his coaches wanted him on defense.

DeHart isn’t what you would consider an OHL tough guy, but he is willing to stick up for his teammates when necessary. One of his most memorable fights came against Shane Prince of the Kitchener Rangers, who jumped DeHart’s defense partner Calvin de Haan.

“I don’t know how many fights I got into this year, but I got beat up in every one of them,” he says sheepishly. Part of being a leader on the team, though, is having the ability to know when to help out a teammate. DeHart was very much a part of the Generals team this past season, and his experience next year will make him a valuable asset both on the ice and in the dressing room.