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.
EIGHT TEAMS STILL IN THE HUNT FOR OHL TITLE AS CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS UNDERWAY:
The Erie Otters, London Knights, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Owen Sound Attack, Peterborough Petes, Mississauga Steelheads, Oshawa Generals and Kingston Frontenacs have advanced to the second round of the OHL Playoffs as Conference Semi-Final action got underway on Wednesday. We take a look at the matchups and things to keep an eye on as another exciting round of OHL Playoff action is upon us. Western Conference Semi-Final Preview / Eastern Conference Semi-Final Preview
WATCH EVERY PLAYOFF GAME WITH NEW OHL LIVE PLAYOFF PACKAGES:
Don’t miss a game! Follow your team throughout the #OHLPlayoffs with new OHL LIVE Playoff Packages including the flexibility of single game, team pass and all access options. Visit OHLLIVE.com for full details.
COLTS EXCITED FOR FUTURE WITH FIRST OVERALL PICK:
With the first overall pick in hand, the Barrie Colts begin Saturday’s 2017 OHL Priority Selection choosing first for the third time in franchise history. Who will follow in the footsteps of Daniel Tkaczuk (1995) and Aaron Ekblad (2011) as a first overall pick to Barrie? Read more
STORM’S MERKLEY MAKES BIG STRIDES IN ROOKIE SEASON:
The first overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Guelph Storm defenceman Ryan Merkley grew through adversity on a young team this season to lead OHL rookies in scoring. He knew big expectations were placed upon him, but the 16-year-old from Mississauga certainly met, perhaps even exceeded those in his rookie campaign. Read more
A LOOK AT TOP 2017 #OHLDRAFT PROSPECTS:
With the 2017 OHL Priority Selection fast approaching on this coming Saturday April 8th, ontariohockeyleague.com takes a look at some of the top draft eligible talent for the upcoming #OHLDraft. We’ve taken a closer look at Brandon Coe (Toronto Nationals), Connor McMichael (Ajax-Pickering Raiders), Mason Primeau (Toronto Nationals), Michael Vukojevic (Mississauga Rebels), Ryan Suzuki (London Jr. Knights), Graeme Clarke (Toronto Marlboros) and Philip Tomasino (Mississauga Rebels) this past week.
77 #OHLDRAFT PROSPECTS PARTICIPATE IN 2017 OHL COMBINE:
The 2017 OHL Combine wrapped up on Sunday with Team Subban winning it all following a pair of victories combined with their superior on and off-ice testing results. Get the full recap on last weekend’s OHL Combine that featured 77 #OHLDraft prospects at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. Testing Results / Full Recap
GUELPH TO HOST 2018 SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CHL/NHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME:
The Canadian Hockey League announced Wednesday that the Guelph Storm will host the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Thursday January 25th, 2018. The 2018 event will mark the 23rd annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance. Read more
9 OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO CANADA’S UNDER-18 PRE-TOURNAMENT ROSTER:
A total of nine OHL players have been named to Canada’s Pre-Tournament roster for the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship set to begin April 13th in Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia. Jake McGrath (Sudbury Wolves), Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm), Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds), MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs), Liam Hawel (Guelph Storm), Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm), Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm), Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs) and Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) are all attending camp. Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold medals (2003, 2008, 2013). Read more
MAKE PICKS AND WIN GREAT PRIZES WITH #CHLPREDICTOR:
The first round is over but fans can still take part in #CHLPredictor and submit their picks for second round playoff winners. With #CHLPredictor, fans sign up for a CHL Fan Base account at CHLFANBASE.ca and make second round selections before the start of Thursday’s games. Pick right to earn points and win great prizes including the grand prize trip to the Mastercard Memorial Cup. Register today at CHLFANBASE.ca.
STEELHEADS’ MICHAEL McLEOD NAMED PIONEER ENERGY OHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
New Jersey Devils prospect Michael McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads is the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 2 recording nine points in four games including five goals and four assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-6. McLeod helped the Steelheads advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference OHL Playoffs with a six game series win over the Ottawa 67’s. Read more
VOTE PETRUS PALMU IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:
Owen Sound Attack forward Petrus Palmu scored one of the goals of the year last week with a lacrosse-style highlight against the Kitchener Rangers. He’s the OHL rep in #CIBCShowdown which features one great play from all three leagues. Watch his play and vote at chlshowdown.ca.
OHL ANNOUNCES 2016-17 AWARDS FINALISTS:
The Ontario Hockey League has announced finalists for seven of the league’s major awards for the 2016-17 season. Six of the seven awards are voted on by OHL Member Teams including Rookie of the Year, Overage Player of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, and Defenceman of the Year. Read more
RANGERS NAME MIKE McKENZIE GENERAL MANAGER:
The Kitchener Rangers announced last Friday that they’ve named Mike McKenzie as general manager. Murray Hiebert transitions into a Director of Hockey Operations role as McKenzie, who formerly served as the club’s assistant general manager and assistant coach will oversee the club’s upcoming 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Read more
ICEDOGS’ BELL SIGNS THREE-YEAR EXTENSION:
The Niagara IceDogs announced Monday that head coach Dave Bell has signed a three-year extension with the club. After spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the IceDogs, Bell has successfully completed his first season as head coach. While coaching one of the CHL’s youngest teams this past season, Bell extended the IceDogs’ playoff run to 10 consecutive appearances. Read more
OTTERS’ FOEGELE SIGNS WITH HURRICANES:
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Erie Otters forward Warren Foegele to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. A 20-year-old native of Markham, Ont., Foegele recently wrapped up his second OHL season, recording 63 points (27-36–63) in 61 games between Kingston and Erie. He was Carolina’s third round (61st overall) pick in 2014. Read more
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: Nicholas Caamano (Flint Firebirds/Texas Stars – AHL), Kyle Capobianco (Sudbury Wolves/Tucson Roadrunners – AHL), Justin Fazio (Sarnia Sting/Charlotte Checkers – AHL), Mathieu Henderson (Flint Firebirds/South Carolina Stingrays – ECHL), Jeff King (Sarnia Sting/Orland Solar Bears – ECHL), Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting/Chicago Wolves – AHL), Ryan Mantha (Niagara IceDogs/Bakersfield Condors – AHL), Chris Martenet (Ottawa 67’s/Texas Stars – AHL), Niki Petti (Hamilton Bulldogs/St. John’s IceCaps – AHL), Kole Sherwood (Flint Firebirds/Cleveland Monsters – AHL), Jalen Smereck (Flint Firebirds/Tucson Roadrunners – AHL), Dmitry Sokolov (Sudbury Wolves/Iowa Wild – AHL), Anthony Stefano (Barrie Colts/Elmira Jackals – ECHL)
ATTACK’S SUZUKI, OHL GRADUATE CHIARLITTI FEATURED ON JUNIOR HOCKEY MAGAZINE WITH GINO REDA:
2017 NHL Draft prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is featured on this week’s edition of Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine with Gino Reda. He’s followed by Attack graduate and former Sarnia Sting defenceman Nathan Chiarlitti in a CHL Leaders feature documenting the McGill University student’s journey through the game and his studies. Listen
ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR STOPS IN HAMILTON:
With Guelph featured last week, the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour shifts to Hamilton this weekend as hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone dig into the city’s hockey roots. Former Hamilton Steelhawks star Shayne Carson and former Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Darcy Tucker will be on hand signing autographs while Sunday’s live music features the sounds of Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane. The Sunday night matchup features the Toronto Maple Leafs playing host to the Columbus Blue Jackets. For full details and a recap of Guelph highlights, visit hometownhockey.com.
2017 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP OPENING EVENTS ANNOUNCED:
The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup officially kicks off on May 18th at 3:15pm with the Opening Banquet at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts. The Memorial Cup will arrive in Windsor along the Detroit River from Sarnia aboard the Canadian Coast Guard patrol vessel Private Robertson V.C before docking at Dieppe Gardens at 6:00pm. Read more
Alexander Nylander makes NHL debut: Mississauga Steelheads graduate Alexander Nylander made his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, skating 14:28 in a 4-2 loss to brother William Nylander’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The 19-year-old Nylander makes his NHL debut in his first pro season after being Buffalo’s first round (8th overall) pick last summer. The left-winger set a Mississauga Steelheads all-time record with 75 points (28-47–75) as a rookie in his lone OHL season last year. He was the CHL and OHL Rookie of the Year while also representing Sweden at the World Junior Hockey Championship. In 62 games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans this season, Nylander has nine goals, 18 assists and 27 points.
Ben Thomson makes NHL debut: North Bay Battalion graduate Ben Thomson made his NHL debut with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, skating 9:31 in a 1-0 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. A 24-year-old native of Orangeville, Ont., Thomson is in his third pro season, registering nine points (5-4–9) in 69 games with the Albany Devils. Thomson played five years in the OHL between Kitchener and North Bay from 2009-14, recording 65 goals, 85 assists and 150 points in 303 career regular season games. He was New Jersey’s fourth round pick in 2012.
Beck, Terry named to AHL All-Star Teams: OHL graduates Taylor Beck and Chris Terry have been named to AHL All-Star Teams for the 2016-17 season. Beck is a first team all-star after putting up 19 goals, 44 assists and 63 points in 54 games between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Bakersfield Condors. A 25-year-old graduate of the Guelph Storm, Beck completed his sixth pro season and finished second in AHL scoring. The St. Catharines, Ont. native put up 110 goals, 157 assists and 267 points in 246 regular season games from 2007-11. A 28-year-old native of Brampton, Ont., Terry was named a second team all-star after recording 27 goals, 34 assists and 61 points in 53 games with the St. John’s IceCaps. Terry’s fourth 20-goal, 60-point AHL campaign came in his first season with the Montreal Canadiens organization. Terry played four OHL seasons with the Plymouth Whalers from 2005-09, recording 114 goals, 175 assists and 289 points in 253 regular season games.
Wood named to AHL All-Rookie Team: North Bay Battalion graduate Kyle Wood has been named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team for the 2016-17 season. The Arizona Coyotes prospect put up 13 goals, 27 assists and 40 points in 63 games with the Tucson Roadrunners this season, finishing third among AHL rookie defencemen in points. A 20-year-old native of Waterloo, Ont., Wood played parts of four OHL seasons with the Brampton and North Bay Battalion from 2012-16, producing 27 goals, 66 assists and 93 points in 165 career regular season games. The 6-foot-5 defenceman was Colorado’s third round pick in 2014 before being dealt to Arizona in a February 2016 deal that saw Mikkel Boedker go the other way.
Cazzola named to ECHL All-Rookie Team: Ottawa 67’s graduate Mike Cazzola has been named to the ECHL’s All-Rookie Team for the 2016-17 season after the Fort Wayne Komets forward put up 27 goals, 45 assists and 72 points in 64 games to go with a plus-28 plus/minus rating. Cazzola finished third among ECHL rookies in scoring this season, helping Fort Wayne to a second place finish in the Central Division. A 26-year-old native of Guelph, Ont., Cazzola spent four years at Acadia University where he produced offensively for the Axemen. His OHL career spanned four seasons between Erie and Ottawa from 2008-12 as he recorded 77 goals, 148 assists and 225 points over 219 regular season games.
Tanski raises awareness of mental health issues: Brampton Battalion graduate Scott Tanski has enjoyed a productive ECHL career on the ice since 2012, but is doing plenty off of it as well. Tanski has been at the forefront of raising awareness of mental health issues through his “Tanski Talks” program. He began the effort after meeting former NHL player Luke Richardson and his wife Stephanie, whose 14-year-old daughter, Daron, committed suicide in 2010. Tanski was motivated to help end the stigma of mental health issues, and thus, “Tanski Talks” was born. Now 26-years-old and playing with the South Carolina Stingrays, Tanski played four seasons with Brampton from 2007-11. Read his full story at ECHL.com.
Wednesday April 5:
Owen Sound 1 at Sault Ste. Marie 4 – Highlights
Thursday April 6:
London at Erie (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Kingston at Peterborough (Game 1) – 7:05pm
Friday April 7:
Oshawa at Mississauga (Game 1) – 7:00pm
London at Erie (Game 2) – 7:00pm
Owen Sound at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 2) – 7:07pm
Sunday April 9:
Oshawa at Mississauga (Game 2) – 2:00pm
Sault Ste. Marie at Owen Sound (Game 3) – 6:00pm
Kingston at Peterborough (Game 2) – 7:05pm
Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.