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OHL 20 in 20 Summer Spotlight: Brewer making an impact on the ice and in the community

 

While most 16-year-old rookies spend the bulk of their first OHL season just trying to feel their way around the league, Mitchell Brewer did that and more.

A hard-nosed 6-foot, 205Ib. defenceman, Brewer held his own after being Oshawa’s first round (15th overall) pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, posting the team’s second-highest plus/minus rating of plus-14 while registering eight points (2-6–8) over 60 contests. The Halton Hurricanes graduate also represented Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and was named to the OHL’s Second All-Rookie Team as a result of his steady, dependable play on the back end.

Just as impressively, Brewer was a presence off the ice throughout his first season, partnering with Camp F.A.C.E.S. (Families and Children of Emergency Services) to raise more than $10,000 for charity.

Brewer, whose father Mark has been a Brampton firefighter for nearly 20 years, felt drawn to support the Orillia-based camp that provides emergency service families dealing with the loss of a loved one free access to counselling and mental wellness resources.

“With him being part of the service, it’s always in the back of your mind that he might not come home,” Brewer told Durham Region’s Brian McNair this past week. “To be able to help families that have had that tragic loss just feels good.”

Brewer’s Camp F.A.C.E.S. fundraiser came with a big hand from the Hamilton Bulldogs, who supported the cause by donating a portion of their ticket sales from a January 27th game between Oshawa and Hamilton at FirstOntario Centre. Generals president and governor Rocco Tullio was happy to donate an additional $2,000 from Rock Developments and the Oshawa Generals organization to the initiative.

While he’s been hard at work this summer, Brewer is back on the fundraising trail. He’ll be hosting a charity golf tournament on August 16th at Kedron Dells Golf Club in Oshawa with proceeds donated to Camp F.A.C.E.S.

“Playing in the OHL and moving away from home, going to a new school and living with a new family is challenging enough, but to balance all that and give back to a charitable cause close to his heart is an incredible endorsement to what kind of people Mitchell and his family are,” said Generals GM Roger Hunt. “We couldn’t be happier with his rookie season, both in the way he has played on the ice and how he has conducted himself off of it.”

Looking ahead to his sophomore season, Brewer will be eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft and playing under a familiar face in newly named Generals head coach Greg Walters. The two won an OJHL Championship together with the Georgetown Raiders in 2017 as Brewer collected five points (1-4–5) in 13 playoff games in the lead up to the OHL Priority Selection.

“Coming down the stretch to that draft, our director of scouting Mike Kelly really felt strongly that Mitch was our guy and what we saw from him in Georgetown really solidified that,” noted Hunt.

“He embraces his role and he’s an unbelievable teammate. If we go back a few years he probably blocks shots at close to the rate of Josh Brown. His defensive game is really solid and I’m excited to get Mitch back here and on the ice in Oshawa.”

For Brewer’s part, he came away pleased with his rookie performance and seeks to work on some of his offensive attributes in 2018-19.

“I was pretty happy with everything,” he reflected. “Obviously the defensive aspect of my game improved a lot and it showed in the numbers. I would love to improve my offensive game, but I think it will come as I grow into the league.”

Over 20 days in August ontariohockeyleague.com will shine a summer spotlight on storylines from all 20 OHL clubs.  See more from the OHL 20 in 20 series.

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