Get caught up on the latest news and notes from around the Ontario Hockey League and a preview of what’s in store for the weekend.
2017 OHL PLAYOFFS CONTINUE WITH CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS:
The 2017 OHL Playoffs continue this week with conference semi-final action underway. Four series and a possible 10 games on the weekend schedule see the Erie Otters, London Knights, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Owen Sound Attack, Peterborough Petes, Kingston Frontenacs, Mississauga Steelheads and Oshawa Generals continue their quest for an OHL Championship. Playoff Brackets
OHL COMPLETES INAUGURAL UNDER-18 PRIORITY SELECTION:
A total of 96 players were selected in the inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection on Wednesday. Players came from 46 different teams and included 49 forwards, 31 defencemen, and 16 goaltenders. 88 of the players selected are 2000-born, with eight born in 1999. Victor Hadfield, a defenceman from the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, was the first pick of the inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection to the Barrie Colts, followed by goaltender James Walker of Windsor AAA chosen second overall to the Guelph Storm, and forward Ryland Mosley of the Carleton Place Canadians picked third overall by the North Bay Battalion. Read more
UNDER-18 PRIORITY SELECTION ‘BRINGS AWARENESS’ TO MIDGET AAA TALENT:
OHL members teams bore the fruits of a season spent watching and evaluating Ontario Midget AAA talent in Wednesday’s inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection. “This event is really going to bring greater awareness to the high level of talent we have at the Midget AAA level here in Ontario,” OHL Senior Director of Hockey Development and Special Events Joe Birch said of the newly instituted Priority Selection. “In the long term our hope is that this initiative will not only bring accomplished players to the Ontario Hockey League, but will also improve the development of players, goaltenders, coaches and the game as a whole province-wide.” Read more
MIDGET HOCKEY PRODUCTS MAKE THEIR OHL MARK:
OHL member teams chose from the top 1999 and 2000-born Midget AAA talent across the province in the inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection on Wednesday. Over the years there are many examples of players passed over in their first year of Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection eligibility only to come back stronger a year or two later and make a significant impact. Read more
OHL COMPLETES 2017 PRIORITY SELECTION:
A total of 300 players were selected in the 15-round OHL Priority Selection process from 89 different teams across Ontario and parts of the United States. The selected players included 170 forwards, 98 defencemen, and 32 goaltenders. This season marked the 17th straight year the Priority Selection was conducted by way of the internet, and tenth straight year with a live draft show of the first three rounds. Read more
COLTS ANNOUNCE RYAN SUZUKI AS FIRST OVERALL PICK:
The Barrie Colts selected 2017 ALLIANCE Player of the Year Ryan Suzuki of the London Jr. Knights with the first overall pick of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection on Saturday. The announcement was made at a news conference held Friday in Barrie where Suzuki was introduced to local media. Suzuki led the ALLIANCE Minor Midget circuit in scoring with 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 32 games helping the Jr. Knights capture their seventh straight league title qualifying for the OHL Cup as the tournament’s top ranked team. Following his Minor Midget campaign, Suzuki joined the GOJHL’s London Nationals and helping them secure a Western Conference title. Read more
2017 OHL PRIORITY SELECTION FIRST ROUND RECAP:
21 players from 16 different organizations were chosen in the first round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection on Saturday. The first round saw 17 forwards and four defencemen taken by OHL clubs as the GTHL’s Vaughan Kings led the way with three players selected. A run of 12 consecutive forwards were selected to open the 2017 OHL Priority Selection before Chatham-Kent Cyclones rearguard Grayson Ladd was the first defenceman chosen, going 13th overall to the Kitchener Rangers. Read more
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: FAMILY CONNECTIONS ABOUND IN 2017 OHL PRIORITY SELECTION:
Another generation of draft eligible talent is knocking on the door, many with fathers who made significant impacts in the Ontario Hockey League as players in ages past and some who are still a presence in the league today. Bloodlines run deep in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, with no shortage of family connections for players chosen in Saturday’s event. Read more
8 OHL PLAYERS TO REPRESENT CANADA AT WORLD UNDER-18 HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP:
Eight OHL players will represent Canada at the 2017 World Under-18 Hockey Championship that begins in Slovakia on Thursday April 13th. Sudbury Wolves goaltender Jake McGrath joins forwards Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds), MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs), Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs), Liam Hawel (Guelph Storm), Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm), Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm) and Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) in wearing the maple leaf. Read more
70 OHL PLAYERS IN FINAL 2017 NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING DRAFT RANKINGS:
A total of 70 OHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in their Final Rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago, Illinois. The 70 players includes 46 forwards, 16 defencemen and eight goaltenders, contributing to a total of 157 Canadian Hockey League players included in the rankings. 10 of the top 30 ranked North American prospects are from the OHL. Read more
132 OHL PROSPECTS NAMED TO OHL GOLD CUP ROSTERS:
Of the 160 players selected to represent eight teams at the 2017 OHL Gold Cup in Kitchener from May 3-7, 132 were chosen in the recent 2017 OHL Priority Selection. The rosters include 19 of the 21 players selected in the first round of Saturday’s OHL Priority Selection including first overall pick Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts, second overall pick Tag Bertuzzi of the Guelph Storm and third overall pick Brandon Coe of the North Bay Battalion. Read more
94 OHL GRADUATES SET FOR 2017 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS:
The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway and OHL graduates are in the thick of things. Past OHL greats such as Connor McDavid (Erie Otters/Edmonton Oilers), Corey Perry (London Knights/Anaheim Ducks) and Alex Pietrangelo (Barrie Colts/St. Louis Blues) hit the ice in pursuit of Stanley Cup glory. All 16 NHL clubs have a share in the 94 total grads competing this spring. Read more
GREYHOUNDS’ JOSEPH RAAYMAKERS NAMED PIONEER ENERGY OHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK & VAUGHN CHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK:
Joseph Raaymakers of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week as well as the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the playoff week ending April 9 after posting a 2-1 record with a goals-against-average of 1.67 and save percentage of .951. Raaymakers stopped 98 shots in three games for the West Division champion Greyhounds who opened their Western Conference Semi-Final series last week against the Owen Sound Attack with a pair of wins on home ice. Read more
WIN A TRIP TO THE MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP WITH SPORTSNET #WHATTOWIN:
What do you do to win? Show Sportsnet your skills using #WhatToWin on Twitter, and you could win a trip to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup! Details.
ENTER WITH BRP FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO THE MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP:
A proud partner of the Canadian Hockey League, BRP has launched a great new contest that gives fans a chance to win a trip for four to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor! Fill out all of the information and enter for your chance to win. Visit brpcontest.com.
JANES SAVES OF THE YEAR CONTEST GETS UNDERWAY:
Voting is now open for the #JanesSaves of the Year! Head to www.JanesSaves.ca and vote for the best OHL Save of the Year! Enter for your chance to win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup and score a FREE box of Janes ultimates™
VOTE NIKITA KOROSTELEV IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nikita Korostelev of the Peterborough Petes is the OHL’s representative in this week’s edition of CIBC Showdown, a weekly contest that features one great play from all three leagues. Watch his play and vote at chlshowdown.ca.
OHL PLAYERS REWARDED WITH PRO OPPORTUNITIES FOLLOWING 2016-17 SEASON:
Several OHL players now on the other side of the 2016-17 season have received pro opportunities with AHL and ECHL clubs. The following players have recently signed professional and amateur tryout contracts with pro clubs since their OHL playoff elimination: Connor Hall (Kitchener Rangers/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – AHL), Matt Luff (Hamilton Bulldogs/Ontario Reign – AHL), Ryan Moore (Flint Firebirds/Orlando Solar Bears – ECHL). In addition, Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires/Montreal Canadiens) received an emergency recall by the Habs and joined the club for their season finale Saturday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR MAKES FINAL STOP IN HAMILTON:
The 2017 edition of the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour made its final stop in Hamilton last weekend, concluding a year of celebrations in communities across the country. In addition to Hamilton, the tour made stops in a number of other OHL cities including Windsor, Barrie, Ottawa and Guelph this past season. For more on those communities and their hockey stories, visit hometownhockey.com.
2017 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP TWO-GAME COMBO TICKET PACKAGES NOW ON SALE:
Two-game 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup combo ticket packages are now on sale to the general public online at WFCU-Centre.com. Fans can choose a Windsor Spitfires round-robin game and combine it with one game featuring two of the other three Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League clubs competing. Read more
McDavid wins Art Ross Trophy: Erie Otters graduate and 2015 CHL Player of the Year Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers claimed the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer, recording 30 goals, 70 assists and 100 points in 82 games. The first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid becomes the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season and is the second-youngest to win the Art Ross Trophy after Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby won it as a 19-year-old in 2006-07. McDavid recorded 97 goals, 188 assists and 285 points over 166 regular season games with the Otters over three seasons from 2012-15.
Bickell ends NHL career on a high note: Windsor Spitfires graduate Bryan Bickell will retire from the NHL at the young age of 31 due to an ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis. The Orono, Ont. native scored in the shootout of his final game on Sunday, helping the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on the road. Bickell, who was diagnosed with MS in November, decided to retire early last week as a result of his condition. He got a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd before ending his 395-game NHL career with 66 goals, 70 assists and 136 points. A three-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, Bickell played a four year OHL career with Ottawa and Windsor from 2002-07, recording 94 goals, 96 assists and 190 points over 242 regular season games. He was Chicago’s second round (41st overall) pick in 2004.
Andersson makes NHL debut: Barrie Colts graduate Rasmus Andersson made his NHL debut with the Calgary Flames on Saturday, skating 18:33 in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The 20-year-old native of Malmo, Sweden played in 51 games with the AHL’s Stockton Heat this season, compiling three goals, 19 assists and 22 points with a plus/minus rating of plus-13. Andersson played two years in Barrie from 2014-16, recording 21 goals, 103 assists and 124 points over 131 games to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-48. He was Calgary’s second round (53rd overall) pick in 2015.
Mason earns 200th win: Kitchener Rangers graduate Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers earned his 200th career NHL goaltending win on Saturday, making 22 saves in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now in his ninth NHL season, Mason played to an overall record of 26-21-0-8 this past season in Philadelphia, recording a 2.66 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 58 games. He is now 200-177-63 in his NHL career with a 2.68 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage with 33 shutouts. The Oakville native and 2009 NHL Rookie of the Year played three OHL seasons with London and Kitchener from 2005-08, going 82-23-2-5 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
Subban plays 500th NHL game: Belleville Bulls graduate P.K. Subban played his 500th career NHL contest with the Nashville Predators on Saturday in Winnipeg. Now in his seventh NHL season, Subban has collected 73 goals, 245 assists and 318 points over 500 games between Montreal and Nashville dating back to 2009. In his first full season in Nashville, Subban collected 10 goals, 30 assists and 40 points over 66 contests. The Rexdale native and 2013 Norris Trophy recipient played four OHL seasons with Belleville from 2005-09, registering 42 goals, 149 assists and 191 points in 234 regular season games.
Watson named ECHL Coach of the Year: Sarnia Sting graduate Dan Watson has been named the ECHL Coach of the Year. The Glencoe, Ont. native coached the Toledo Walleye to a first place finish of 51-17-4. The Walleye led the ECHL in goals-per-game (4.19), goals-against per game (2.65), power play (25.1 percent) and penalty kill (86.8 percent), becoming the first team in the ECHL’s 29-year history to lead the league in all four categories in the same season. Watson played parts of four seasons in Sarnia from 1996-2000, recording nine goals, 50 assists and 59 points in 212 regular season games.
D’Agostini raises $1000 for Cystic Fibrosis Research: Peterborough Petes graduate Andrew D’Agostini of the ECHL’s Brampton Beast has raised $1,000 in support of Cystic Fibrosis research through the “Saves for CF” program. The third consecutive year D’Agostini has participated in the program, the money will be put to use on University of Guelph soil with Dr. Sarah Wootton and Dr. Jondavid de Jong leading the research being done at U of G’s Pathobiology building in an attempt to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The “Saves for CF” program, which launched prior to the 2014-15 season, has now raised $3,000 over the past three years. D’Agostini played to a 13-8-1 record with a 3.30 goals-against average and an .894 save percentage in 25 games with Brampton this season. He played five seasons in Peterborough from 2009-14, going 71-85-2-9 with a 3.75 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage over 190 regular season games. Read more at gryphons.ca.
Thursday April 13:
Erie at London (Game 4) – 7:00pm
Peterborough at Kingston (Game 4) – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Oshawa (Game 4) – 7:05pm
Friday April 14:
Owen Sound at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 5) – 7:07pm
Saturday April 15:
Mississauga at Oshawa (Game 5) – 2:05pm
London at Erie (Game 5) – 7:00pm
Kingston at Peterborough (Game 5) – 7:05pm*
Sunday April 16:
Oshawa at Mississauga (Game 6) – 2:00pm*
Sault Ste. Marie at Owen Sound (Game 6) – 6:00pm*
Erie at London (Game 6) – 6:00pm*
Monday April 17:
Peterborough at Kingston (Game 6) – 7:00pm*
Tuesday April 18:
Oshawa at Mississauga (Game 7) – 7:00pm*
London at Erie (Game 7) – 7:00pm*
Kingston at Peterborough (Game 7) – 7:05pm*
Owen Sound at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 7) – 7:07pm*
* if necessary
Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.