Credit Steven Ellis

How Mississauga Steelheads First-Round Pick Ethan Del Mastro Is Preparing For His First Season in the OHL

It has been a long season for Mississauga Steelheads first-rounder Ethan Del Mastro.

Del Mastro was a workhorse defenseman for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team, playing in 73 games, in a season where he led the Marlies to a quarter-final birth in the OHL Cup and making it to the GTHL Championships where they would eventually lose to the Don Mills Flyers.

He also had the honor of representing Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer Alberta, playing important minutes for an incredibly talented Ontario team that finished in 2nd.

Finally, after the OHL Priority Selection, the Dundas Ontario native also took part in the OHL Gold Cup, playing on GTHL Blue, where they defeated the GTHL Red team in the championship game by a score of 5-4.

Del Mastro logged big minutes playing for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget squad.

When discussing his season, Del Mastro said that the tournaments were very helpful for his growth as a player. It gave him a wider sight of how many great players are out there.

Playing close to 80 games during his Minor Midget season, Del Mastro has yet to step his foot off of the gas pedal.

“I think like most players my age, we are stepping into a new league and coming in as rookie I want to be able to help my team. So getting an early start in the gym and on the ice is helping me be more prepared and ready.”

Del Mastro has spent his off-season on-ice training with Kelly Reed, a skills and power skating instructor located in the Greater Toronto Area. Del Mastro and Reed have been working together for quite some time, dating back to when the defensemen was 9 years old.

“I’ve known Ethan for a long time, he was a terrific defensemen at a younger age as well,” said Reed.

Kelly Reed is considered one of the premier hockey trainers within the region, who is also a former defenseman for the London Knights and UNB, Reed trains many OHL and NHL players, meaning that working with the likes of Del Mastro isn’t something out of the ordinary for the long-time coach.

Due to Del Mastro’s style of play and skillset of a complete defensemen, Reed draws the comparison to former Soo Greyhounds star and current Edmonton Oiler, Darnell Nurse.

“They’re both good skaters who are bigger guys with good attitudes and great work ethics. Truthfully I see really big things for Ethan, I’m a big fan of what he brings to the table.”

With that being said, the primary focus of Del Mastro’s on-ice workouts are revolved around the sharpening his current strengths, mainly mastering his footwork, something that he feels that is far from a finished product.

“The speed of the game and the strength of older players increases as you make that leap and I want to be ready for it so I can help my team right away.”

In addition to working with Reed on the ice, Del Mastro also works out ‘SHIELD’, an elite off-ice training facility in Burlington. Typically, Minor Midget players who are making the transition to the OHL level, work on getting stronger and faster to keep up with the older and mature players, due to the strength and speed that every playing in the league possess, something that ‘SHIELD’ and his main trainer, Brandon Coccimiglio are looking to achieve.

“[Brandon] is a young fun guy that’s intelligent about new ways to workout. [Brandon] knows the proper way to workout as a hockey player to bring me to the next level. He knows how to push you at all times when your working but is also a person you can have a laugh with.”

Although the season may be a few months away, Del Mastro’s work ethic for this off-season is a very positive sign for the Mississauga Steelheads, and after a few months working with Reed and Shield, it’s clear that he’ll provide an instant impact as a rookie, the main goal for Del Mastro’s off-season.

“The speed of the game and the strength of older players increases as you make that leap and I want to be ready for it so I can help my team right away.”