North Channel to OHL Spitfires

April 14, 2024

There are feel good stories aplenty in the hockey world. And this just could be another one in the making. It deals with a young goalie who started out playing hockey in the little farm town of Echo Bay — located 30 miles or so outside of Sault Ste. Marie — for a house league team called the North Channel Lightning.

A few years later, after playing at the house league and then pee wee rep B levels for North Channel and in the ice cold, sardine can rinks of Desbarats, Thessalon and Massey, young Cam Ingram developed enough to make Under 14 AAA and then Under 15 AAA teams in Sault Ste. Marie.

Then, last fall, with no Under 16 AAA team in the Sault, the son of Sean Ingram and Tammy Buchanan packed his goalie equipment and earned a position with the highly regarded Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Greater Toronto Hockey League for the 2023-2024 season.

The move to Toronto — his mom was able to get a job there during the past season — paid off for young Ingram when the Windsor Spitfires took the 6 foot, 190 pound, 2008 birth year goalie in the 13th round of the recent 2024 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.

Getting drafted to Windsor capped a wave of emotions in a short period of time for Ingram. Just prior to the draft, Ingram took a skate to the neck while participating at the OHL Combine. He required several stitches but his neck guard saved a more serious injury.

Meanwhile, back to being drafted, Frank Evola, who is the reputable director of scouting and hockey operations for the Spitfires, told Hockey News North that there is “much to like” about Ingram.

Echo Bay product Cam Ingram.

“His consistency is one of the things that stood out when watching him this season,” Evola noted. “He showed well whenever I saw him play. He is calm in the crease and he moves very well and he has a good glove hand. He is also a very intelligent goalie.

“I can say for sure that every time I saw Ingram play,” Evola continued, “he gave his team a chance to win. I never left the rink thinking that he cost his team a game. Going into the draft, he was an A-rated (third to sixth round) goalie and we just could not pass up the opportunity to take him when he was still there in the 13th round. We sure didn’t think that he would still be there in the 13th round.”

Ingram was the second of two 2008 birth year goalies that the Spitfires took at the recent OHL draft as they opted for 6 foot 4 puck stopper Jake Windbiel from the Chicago Mission in the seventh round. But Evola, as the director of scouting and hockey operations, noted that the Spitfires, under the leadership of general manager Billy Bowler, have a philosophy that “once the draft is over, everyone is equal.”

Windsor GM Billy Bowler.

To be sure, Bowler himself is proof positive of a 13th round pick from the 1991 draft who went on to OHL stardom with the Spitfires.

As a smart, skilled centre, Bowler played in 250 regular season games with the Spitfires from 1991 to 1995 and scored 149 goals along with a whopping 318 assists — which is the most of any player in OHL history — for a Windsor franchise record of 467 points. He added another 11 goals, 20 assists, 31 games in 21 career playoff games over that span.  Bowler’s no. 9 was retired by the Spitfires several years ago.

At any rate, Bowler also gave his take on the Spitfires snagging Ingram in the 13th round of this year’s OHL draft.

“He was an A-rated goalie who has lots of potential,” Bowler said of Ingram. “He moves well, has good feet and a good glove and he played on one of the top four teams in the GTHL.”

What you think about “North Channel to OHL Spitfires”

  1. Randy, Fantastic article and story on Cameron. As a player and family, they are as dedicated as it gets. Like he always does, Cam will put the work in and make the Spits in the future!

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