Year in Review: Overage Players
In their final year as a Steelhead, overagers Charlie Callaghan, James Hardie, and Kasper Larsen left it all out on the ice.
Charlie Callaghan: A Memorable Last Season
Entering his last season with the Mississauga Steelheads, defenceman Charlie Callaghan showcased his exceptional skills and dedication as a key player for the team. Drafted in the eighth round (#148 overall) in 2018, Callaghan spent his entire career with the Trout and was nothing short of exceptional.
To start the season, the veteran blueliner was named one of the team’s assistant captains. Following the trade deadline, his duality as both a player and leader led to him being named co-captain of the Steelheads alongside fellow teammate, James Hardie on January 12. The very next day, in a game against the Niagara IceDogs, the new captain scored the game-winning goal in overtime, earning him the second star of the night.
The Steelheads’ co-captain put up career-best numbers in his final season, tying his previous best in goals and more than doubling his assist numbers from last year. Tallying 27 points (7G, 20A) in the regular season, Callaghan had more goals than any Steelheads blueliner this year.
Callaghan’s defensive prowess, solid positioning, and ability to disrupt opposing plays proved invaluable to the Steelheads’ success. Using his grit and determination, Callaghan made an impact each time he stepped on the ice. His work ethic did not go unnoticed, earning him recognition in the 2023 OHL Coaches Poll for one of the hardest workers and best body checkers in the Eastern Conference.
Callaghan’s dedication was on full display in Game 2 of the playoffs against the North Bay Battalion. The Steelheads were on an intense penalty kill, and the road captain made an unbelievable save in the last seconds of the game by throwing himself down on the ice in front of the play. Callaghan has never let his smaller size stop him from being the biggest player on the ice, and that night, he earned the second star of the game.
James Hardie: A Record-Breaking Year for a Record Player
Innisfill-native James Hardie has had an incredible career-run with the Mississauga Steelheads. The team’s eight overall pick from the 2018 Draft cemented himself in Steelheads history by smashing records and being a leader on and off the ice.
The left-winger returned for his overage year as the team’s assistant captain following a stint at the Boston Bruins Rookie Camp in September. The forward wasted no time getting to work, scoring a goal in the season opener against the Niagara IceDogs. His playmaking and goal scoring abilities continued to be put on display, as both his goal and assist tallies continued to climb. For the first time in his career, Hardie registered three hat tricks, all of which resulted in wins for the team.
Seas the Day, Captain!
Following the trade deadline, Hardie, alongside teammate Charlie Callaghan, was promoted to Co-Captain of the Mississauga Steelheads for the remainder of the season. Shortly after his promotion, his skills earned him league-wide recognition when he was named the OHL Cogeco Player of the Week in January.
Breaking numerous franchise records this year, James Hardie was on fire. On January 13 versus the Niagara IceDogs, the freshly-minted captain scored his 115th career goal and 208th career point, taking sole possession of both franchise records. On March 15, against the Barrie Colts, Captain Hardie scored his 37th goal of the year, marking his 78th point of the season, tying Nicolas Hague’s franchise record for single-season points before earning an assist to take sole possession of the record. By the conclusion of the playoff run, which also saw Hardie put up 8 points (5G, 3A), the Steelhead held 10 franchise records, including points, goals, power play goals, shots on goal, and more.
The dynamic left-winger finished top of the charts in Steelheads scoring with 82 points (38G, 44A) in the regular season, but also made waves league-wide. Number 14 tied for 14th overall in OHL scoring and 11th overall in goals. Hardie placed second with 310 shots on goal during the 22/23 season, coming just behind the Spitfires’ Matthew Maggio. The captain was also recognized in the OHL Coaches Poll, earning nods for best shot and best shootout shooter.
Kasper Larsen: The Great Dane
Returning for his final year after attending the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp, Kasper Larsen used his huge on-ice presence and outstanding skill-level to lead the way for the Steelheads defence.
The 6’5” blueliner led all Mississauga defenders in points, ending the regular season with 35 points (6G, 29A). Larsen’s strong skating and puck-handling skills enabled him to transition the play smoothly from defence to offence. The big blueliner had seven multi-point games this season, including two three-point games, more than any other Steelheads defender this year.
The Danish-native knew how to make his presence known in big moments, registering two game winning goals in the regular season and 10 power play points (1G, 9A). On January 6 against the Barrie Colts, the Steelhead put 2 goals in the net and 1 assist, resulting in a 5-1 win for the Mississauga Steelheads. Larsen earned the First Star of the Night.
Power in the Playoffs
During the playoff series against the North Bay Battalion, Larsen continued to show his offensive and defensive abilities. Continuing to lead the Steelheads defence in scoring in the postseason, he tallied a goal and three assists in the series against the North Bay Battalion. Throughout his career, the Great Dane has been a star on the power play, tying the franchise record for all-time playoff power play assists (5).
All three overage players have continued to look forward towards the future of their hockey careers.
Following the conclusion of the postseason, Hardie signed a contract with the Cincinnati Cyclones, the ECHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. The forward helped the team to the second round of the playoffs, where he scored his first professional goal against the Toledo Walleye. On April 27, it was announced that Callaghan had committed to St. Francis Xavier University to play for their men’s hockey team. A month later, Larsen signed a contract with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League, HockeyAllsvenskan.
On behalf of the Mississauga Steelheads, we would like to thank all three overage players for all of their contributions and wish them the best of luck in their future hockey careers!