It is the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League that Mason Chitaroni wants to play for this season.
That is because Chitaroni is a plum prospect of the Knights, who took the 5-foot-10, 150-pound defender in the fifth round, 99th overall, at this year’s OHL priority selections draft from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
But if Chitaroni doesn’t make the Knights as a 16-year old, he has a Plan B in place with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Blind River coach and general manager Kyle Brick has confirmed to Hockey News North that Chitaroni has signed an NOJHL card with the Beavers.
“If Mason goes to London and makes the team, that would be great,” Brick relayed. “But if not, he has a place to play and develop with us in Blind River.
“He is going to be an exceptional player,” Brick said of Chitaroni, who does not turn 16 until October 2. “If he ends up with us, we are so looking forward to assisting him with his development and providing him with the environment to succeed.”
Chitaroni played in three games for Blind River as an affiliate player during the 2019-2020 season and greatly impressed Brick.
In fact, Brick told Hockey News North that Chitaroni “has speed and smarts that are off the charts. He has a hockey IQ and a sense for the game that is unbelievable. He has world class speed and Mason is not only going to play in the OHL for London at some point but he is going to be star in the league.”
To be sure, making London as a 16-year old rookie would be a tall order for Chitaroni. Besides the Knights being able to return five defensemen — not including overagers — from last season’s team, London took two defenders ahead of Chitaroni at the 2020 priority selections draft.
And if it is Blind River where he ends up this season, Chitaroni would be part of a Beavers program that has had four straight winning seasons under Brick as coach and GM, including a 37-15-4 record in 2019-2020.