Offseason development plan key for 67’s draftee Kaleb Dietsch

With the Ottawa 67’s on the clock for the 46th-overall pick in the 2023 OHL Priority Selection, Kaleb Dietsch was at his Niagara area home, watching along with his parents and brother. His livestream trailed slightly behind, and he hadn’t yet heard his name called when his phone buzzed.

An Instagram notification lit up his screen – it read “the Ottawa 67’s started following you.” Right then, he knew what it meant.

“[My parents] were freaking out,” Dietsch said. “There was lots of crying, and lots of excitement. Everyone was just so proud.”

In the time between being drafted and today, plenty has gone on in Dietsch’s life. He attended rookie camp, where he learned a lot about himself and the level of competition at the OHL level, he developed a new offseason workout program with his personal trainer, and he’s had some time to rest and recover from a long season.

His life got even more exciting in recent days, coming together with the Barber Poles to sign his commitment to the club.

“It’s honestly a really big honour,” Dietsch said. “It was a lot of fun seeing the [confirmation email], and I got really excited. It was hard to know what to feel, it’s a dream come true.”

The six-foot-two defenceman wrapped up a successful season with the Southern Tier Admirals in which they reached the OHL Cup. Dietsch, who isn’t known for his scoring, chipped in heavily in the playoffs, scoring six points, including three goals, in eight games.

Where Dietsch likes to leave an impression the most is on the defensive end of the rink. He continued to show that at rookie camp late last month, but found the adjustment to his new reality interesting.

“The most difficult part was getting used to the environment and the pace of the OHL game,” Dietsch admitted. “Everyone is so organized there. You’re doing something every second, but you’re always working to get better.”

A big focus of the 67’s is the off-ice work that goes into building a championship calibre junior hockey team. With the help of Sean Young, the Barber Poles have put together a demanding environment built to push players to the next level.

That can be jarring for players at times, but already, Dietsch has an understanding of what it takes to wear the red, black, and white stripes.

“Sean gave us a taste of what it is going to be like with the 67’s, you’ve gotta work a lot harder,” Dietsch said. “I’m just going to be doing lots of strength training, and anything else that I could use to improve my game.”

When training camp opens in September, Dietsch believes that he’s strongly suited to play the Dave Cameron style of hockey. He’s focused on gaining some strength and size, and upping his physicality before then, but it won’t be easy, as he has now found out. He’s up for it, however.

“I always love a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it,” Diestch said.

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