By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Ty Tullio has heard a few rumblings from some in the junior hockey world, but he’s not listening.
The 16-year-old Windsor native was the Oshawa Generals first round pick, 11th overall, in the 2018 Priority Selection.
Playing with the Vaughan Kings of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), the 5’9, 150-pound forward notched 38 goals and 51 assists in 50 games during the 2017-18 season, second overall in league scoring.
With those numbers and other credentials, many analysts had him forecasted to be selected in the first round.
It is no secret that Ty is the son of Rocco Tullio, owner of the Oshawa Generals.
The teen Tullio acknowledges that he has heard some question that connection.
“I did hear that. I just try and shut that out, and prove them wrong. It wasn’t just my dad’s decision [to draft him],” he says.
After the priority selection, General Manager Roger Hunt stated there was no reason for anyone to question their drafting of the Tullio.
“We didn’t draft him because of his ad. He was a first round pick, and been a top player most of his whole life,” Hunt told The Oshawa Express in April.
Although Tullio will face challenges similar to any 16-year-old making the move to the OHL, he is indeed in familiar surroundings in Oshawa.
“When my dad first bought the team, I was that kid that was always around. Now to be one of the guys playing for the team is pretty cool,” he says.
That close connection has allowed him to get to know some of the players he will be potentially sharing the ice with come this fall.
“I know a few of the guys pretty well. Jack Studnicka, he used to live in Windsor,” Tullio notes.
Tullio signed his standard agreement with the Gens on April 23, a few weeks after they selected him.
Getting the agreement signed quickly wasn’t something that loomed on his mind.
“I really didn’t think about it. But I think it was really cool to have my first ever contract,” he says.
The Generals second round pick, Dylan Robinson, was a player Tullio saw a lot of in the GHTL.
In fact, Robinson, finished just a few points behind Tullio in the league’s scoring race.
They faced off in March’s OHL Cup with Robinson’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens topping Tullio and Vaughan.
Tullio says he doesn’t know Robinson off the ice but he has reached out and had a few conversations.
“He’s obviously a great player and he’ll be a really good asset on the team,” he says.
As the school year winds down, the focus for the summer will be to get “bigger, faster and stronger.”
“I also need to be mentally ready. This is the biggest step of my career,” Tullio says.
With rookie camp about three months away, Tullio reiterated that he doesn’t expect his spot of the team to be tied to his last name.
“I hope to be treated the same way as any other player would be.”