Standout defenseman Zach Fortin will be moving up from the Superior International Jr. Hockey League to Ontario University Athletics.
The 20-year old Fortin, who is the captain of the Kam River Fighting Walleye of the SIJHL, has committed to the Lakehead University Thunderwolves of the OUA effective the 2022-2023 season. Thus, the Thunder Bay product gets to remain at home to play for Lakehead.
“It is an honour to (be able to) play at my hometown university in front of my family, friends, and mentors,” Fortin said. “I would like to thank the Kam River Fighting Walleye for everything they have done for me this year, making me a better person on and off the ice. They continue to help me develop my game and reach my potential. I would also like to thank my parents for everything they have done for me over the years with their continuous support. I can’t wait to have them in the stands for the years to come and be a Thunderwolf.”
Fortin was named the SIJHL’s top defenseman for 2021-2022, a season in which he led the league in points by a blue liner with 44 in 42 games. Fortin captained the Fighting Walleye to a first place regular season finish, a semi-final series sweep of the cross-town Thunder Bay North Stars and a spot in the league championship series.
“Zach has had an impressive year, he definitely fits the type of player and person we are looking to add to our program,” said Lakehead University head coach Andrew Wilkins. “Zach always plays a big role into team success. He has been put in a situation to play big minutes for his team and shown that his game is continuing to evolve. Zach is a standout leader by example and with his contagious style of play. It’s a good fit with our group and helps compliment our young D core.”
Fortin began his junior career with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League, suiting up in 68 games over two seasons before joining the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. He was acquired by Kam River from Timmins in an inter-league trade prior to the start of this season. Prior to his junior career, Fortin was a member of the Thunder Bay Kings AAA program from 2013 to 2018.
“Our organization couldn’t be happier for Zach on his commitment to Lakehead,” noted Kam River general manager Kevin McCallum. “He has been a huge asset for us and a true leader, and he’s chosen an amazing university to continue his education and play the game he loves. Zach is a special player and most importantly an amazing person. We look forward to seeing him in the Thunderwolves jersey.”