One of the stars of the gold-medal winning Canadian junior hockey team got his start in Cornwall.

Drake Batherson, who scored seven goals in seven games in Canada’s path to World Junior gold that culminated with a 3-1 win against Sweden in Friday’s final, skated with the Ontario Hockey Academy Mavericks during the 2013-14 season.

“The way he’s playing now is not surprising,” said OHA coach Pat Turcotte, who remembers Batherson as a highly-skilled 15-year-old.

Yves Sarault was the coach of the minor midget OHA team Batherson played for, but he also affiliated a few games with Turcotte’s major midget squad.

“His hockey IQ is through the roof,” recalls Turcotte of Batherson. “Puck decisions, puck-handling, finding the open guy . . . everything was there. He was just waiting to grow.”

He has grown. Now listed at 6’2”, 187 pounds. Batherson was much smaller when he played for the OHA.

“I think he might have been 5’7”,” said Giles Lascelle, owner of the OHA. “I remember Pat saying how skilled the kid was.”

Turcotte believes the 5’7” recollection is a stretch.

“Honestly, he was probably 5’4”,  or 5’5”,  maybe 120 pounds,” said Turcotte. “He was tiny. He looked like a little kid.”

The growth spurt was expected.

“His dad played in the AHL and he was 6’4” and really grew when he was 18,” said Turcotte.

“It was a genetic thing and we were just waiting for him to get bigger. The only thing he was missing was size."

He got it, and has come along in the hockey world, though maybe a little later than many.

“That’s what I like about his story, he’s a late bloomer,” said Lascelle. “That happens in hockey sometimes.”

Batherson played just the one year with the OHA, moving on to the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and eventually the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL. Even in the Q, he was drafted late — in the sixth round — and in the second year he was eligible.

He was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Again, it was the second year he was eligible for the annual player lottery.

The American-born, Canadian-raised Batherson wasn’t really on the world junior team’s radar (he wasn’t invited to the summer selection camp) until this year, where he has scored 17 goals and 22 assists in 24 games with Cape Breton.

Like Lascelle said, a late bloomer.

“Great kid, great family,” recalls Lascelle. “Worked hard, really skilled.”

Paid off in gold.