Mario Culina aspires to return to the Ontario Hockey League for a third term in 2017-2018 and the overage goalie who has spent the past two years with the Windsor Spitfires should have little difficulty finding work.
Responding to confidential e-mail sent by HockeyNewsNorth.com, more than one OHL general manager replied in the positive when asked if there was interest in trading for Culina, who was signed by the Spitfires as a free agent early in the 2015-2016 season.
Should Culina return as an overager for the 2017-2018 campaign it almost certainly will not be with Windsor. Michael DiPietro, who brilliantly backstopped the Spitfires to the 2017 Memorial Cup championship, is set as Windsor’s starter and is two years younger than Culina, who is a Sault Ste. Marie native.
Over two OHL seasons as the backup to DiPietro in Windsor, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Culina produced an overall record of 23-13-2 with a 2.79 goals against average and .901 save percentage. He has also earned extensive praise from outgoing Spitfires coach Rocky Thompson for his work ethic and ability to perform in pressure situations when called upon.
There is a possibility that Culina might opt to play at the Canadian university level next season. But in that he has a desire to play as an overage in the OHL, Culina looms as a good option for a team in search of quality net experience.
PHOTO: Goalie Mario Culina of the 2017 Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires. (Photo by Terry Wilson.)