PICTOU — It was a rare opportunity for Drake Caggiula to visit his grandparents in Pictou, and he’s glad he did.
Caggiula plays left wing and is entering his third hockey season with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. His grandparents are Art and Gwen MacDonald.
He accompanied other family members to Pictou for the celebration of Art MacDonald’s 50 years with the Rotary Club of Pictou on June 28. However, he left on July 2 to resume pre-season training near his home outside Toronto.
Caggiula is familiar with Pictou County, having taken part in hockey schools in Pictou during summer visits.
“It’s always fun coming home, especially to spend time with my grandparents and relatives,” he said. “It’s always nice to get everyone together for the first time in a while. I’ve been coming here every summer, and it has a special place in my heart.”
Caggiula said he has become used to the routine of off-season continuous workouts to stay in shape.
“I’m training all the time pretty much, in the gym five days a week,” he said.
Caggiula trains in a program led by former Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs star Gary Roberts in Aurora, Ont.
“Other NHL players are there,” he said. “It’s a great program.”
Caggiula was born in Pickering, Ont. and is listed as standing 5’ 10” and weighing 185 pounds. He joined the Oilers after four years with the University of North Dakota.
He collected seven goals and 11 assists in 60 regular-season games with the Oilers in his rookie season in 2016-17 and added three goals in 13 playoff games as the Oilers enjoyed a breakthrough season. However, the Oilers fell short of extremely high expectations placed on them last season. He still likes the Oilers’ potential.
“We have a young team,” he said. “We have a bright future ahead of us. We have a lot of young players with a bright future. We have the potential to have a great season (in 2018-19).”
Caggiula is looking for more consistency in his game after ending 2017-18 with 13 goals and seven assists.
“It’s been pretty up and down,” he said. “For five or 10 games I played really well, then five or 10 games no so well. If I can be more consistent, it will go a long way for me and all the players on the team.”