Metro/Angela Mullins Knights’ rookie defenceman Aiden Jamieson makes his first start with the London Knights on Friday against Sarnia at Budweiser Gardens.

The London Knights had several opportunities to retain the services of defenceman Aiden Jamieson.

The First chance was the Ontario Hockey League draft in June 2012. Knights’ director of scouting Lindsay Hofford was there.

“We liked him in his ‘96 draft. He kind of just got passed over for whatever reason. We liked him in the top six rounds,” Hofford said. “When you do your lists, some guys just fall to the wayside and he kind of slipped by.”

Second opportunity: OHL draft, June 2013.

“We were actually picking him in the eighth round, but we couldn’t get hold of him when we were calling him,” Hofford said.

Third opportunity: OHL draft, June 2013, two rounds later.

“Then we got hold of him, and we took him with our next pick, which was the 10th,” Hofford said. “We were calling for a half hour in between picks just to see if he was interested in coming.”

The result: Jamieson has moved from an undrafted minor midget one year ago to the top of the class with the defending OHL champion Knights.

Jamieson, 17, will be in the lineup Friday when London plays its exhibition opener against the Sarnia Sting.

What took so long in getting this 6-foot-2, 180-pound offensive defenceman on board?

“He’s a late developer so that’s why he got picked where he did,” head coach Dale Hunter said Thursday. “Some kids don’t develop at the same time.”

Hunter said the change has been incredible.

“By watching him out here, his skating ability is outstanding. He’s a pro skater,” he said. “He’s an offensive D, which everybody is dying for.”

Hofford said Jamieson has only played defence full time for one season and that was last year at The Hill Academy in Vaughan, where Hofford is the private school’s hockey director.

For his part, Jamieson wasn’t certain what his options were after going undrafted two years ago after his minor midget season with the AAA Central Ontario golds and living at home in Lindsay.

Then, hockey coach Doug Orr recruited Jamieson to The Hill Academy where Jamieson enjoyed playing the game, while retaining his NCAA eligibility. U.S. schools were knocking on the door.

“(Orr) basically saved my career,” Jamieson said Thursday. “There was some interest from NCAA schools. At the start of the year, since I didn’t really have the OHL as an option, I was going to have to try and get a scholarship. And then the OHL popped up.”

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