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OHL This Week: September 20 to 23, 2018

OHL Opening Week is upon us as the 2018-19 season gets underway! With home openers beginning this week, there’s a buzz around the league as the OHL returns for another exciting season. Here’s a look at what’s happening around the league this week.

 

KNIGHTS, ICEDOGS, SPIRIT AND 67’s INCLUDED IN PRE-SEASON CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:
The Canadian Hockey League released its pre-season version of the CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2018-19 season, an announcement that included four OHL clubs in the London Knights (2), Niagara IceDogs (5), Saginaw Spirit (8) and Ottawa 67’s (10). The Oshawa Generals received an honourable mention. Full Rankings

OHL MEDIA POLL PROVIDES #OHLOPENINGWEEK PREDICTIONS:
Pre-Season is the best time for prognosticating. As we get set for #OHLOpeningWeek puck drop, a poll of various media who cover the league in broadcast booths and press boxes weighed in with opinions and comments on some of the players and teams primed to shine in 2018-19. See a compilation of the most popular answers with select media comments to support their decisions. Read more

OHL 20 IN 20 SERIES PREVIEWS EACH OHL TEAM:
Over the span of the past 20 days, ontariohockeyleague.com has taken a team-by-team look at the 2018-19 OHL season. Get the inside scoop on your favourite teams as general managers provide their insights heading into Opening Week. More Details

161 OHL PLAYERS ATTEND NHL TRAINING CAMPS:
The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that 161 OHL players have been invited to attend National Hockey League Rookie Camps. The list of attendees includes 109 drafted or signed prospects along with 52 free agent invitees. Full List

KALIYEV AND ROBERTSON SHINE AT USA HOCKEY ALL-AMERICAN TOP PROSPECTS GAME:
Sophomore OHL forwards Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs) and Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes) made their mark at the 2018 All-American Top Prospects Game in Saint Paul, Minn. this past Wednesday. Kaliyev scored twice while Robertson chipped in with two assists as Team Langenbrunner, named after OHL graduate and long-time NHL forward Jamie Langenbrunner, topped Team Leopold by a score of 6-4 in comeback fashion. Read more

SEVERAL STANDOUT OHL PERFORMANCES AT NHL ROOKIE SHOWCASES:
Past and present players from across the OHL recently attended NHL Rookie Camps, looking to make a good impression ahead of the 2018-19 season. Here’s a look at top OHL performers from the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, HarborCenter Prospects Challenge, Vegas Rookie Faceoff, Estero Prospects Showcase, the Penticton Young Stars Classic and the Laval Rookie Showdown. Read more

122 PLAYERS COMMIT TO OHL THROUGHOUT OFFSEASON:
A total of 122 prospects made commitments to the Ontario Hockey League throughout the course of the offseason. Get familiarized with the new names and faces! Full List

FIREBIRDS’ DELLANDREA SIGNS WITH STARS:
The Dallas Stars have signed Flint Firebirds forward Ty Dellandrea to a three-year entry level NHL contract. The 18-year-old put up 59 points (27-32–59) in 67 games with Flint last season before being selected by the Stars in the first round (13th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 6-foot, 190 pound center was also a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning team in the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and has represented his country twice at the Under-18 World Championship in 2017 and 2018. Read more

BULLDOGS’ GLEASON SIGNS WITH STARS:
The Dallas Stars have signed Hamilton Bulldogs defenceman Ben Gleason to a three-year entry level NHL contract. Gleason, 20, finished ninth among all OHL defensemen with 48 points (9-39=48) in 63 regular-season games with Hamilton in 2017-18. He also ranked eighth among League blueliners with 39 assists in 2017-18, while his six power play goals were good for sixth among OHL defensemen. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Ortonville, Mich. has recorded 125 points (22-103=125) in 236 career regular-season contests over four OHL seasons with Hamilton and London. Read more

SPIRIT’S MIDDLETON SIGNS AHL CONTRACT WITH SAN JOSE:
The AHL’s San Jose Barracuda have signed Saginaw Spirit overage captain Keaton Middleton to a two-year contract. A fourth round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016, Middleton went unsigned by the club but has continued his hard work, being rewarded with an American League contract by the Sharks organization. The 20-year-old skated in 255 career OHL games over four seasons, recording 58 points including 11 goals and 47 assists. Read more

BATTALION NAMES JUSTIN BRAZEAU CAPTAIN:
The North Bay Battalion has named overage winger Justin Brazeau captain for the 2018-19 season. Brazeau, a 20-year-old native of New Liskeard, Ont., succeeds defenceman Riley Bruce to become the fifth captain in the Battalion’s North Bay history. He paced North Bay in scoring last season with 39 goals and 36 assists for 75 points in 68 games. Joining him on the club’s leadership team include forwards Matthew Struthers, Brad Chenier and Kyle Potts along with defenceman Cole Cameron. Read more

SPITFIRES NAME LUKE BOKA CAPTAIN:
The Windsor Spitfires have named fourth-year veteran Luke Boka captain while teammates Cole Purboo and Chris Playfair will serve as assistants. Boka, a 19-year-old native of Plymouth, Mich. has played all three previous seasons with the Spitfires, logging 190 career regular season and an additional 18 playoff games since the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Read more

COLE CARTER NAMED STEELHEADS CAPTAIN:
The Mississauga Steelheads have named overage forward Cole Carter captain for the 2018-19 season while hometown product Nicholas Canade will join him in the leadership group. In 28 games with Mississauga last season, Carter registered 23 points and added another five during the Steelheads’ first round playoff series against the Barrie Colts. Read more

OHL LIVE EARLY BIRD PRICING NOW AVAILABLE:
The Ontario Hockey League, in association with its digital media partner NeuLion, is proud to offer Early Bird pricing for OHL Live up until October 31, 2018. Powered by NeuLion, OHL Live provides unparalleled online broadcast coverage of all 20 teams in the OHL delivering regular season action which opens Wednesday, September 19, as well as the 2019 OHL Playoffs. Full Details

ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR COMES TO KITCHENER, LONDON AND MISSISSAUGA THIS SEASON:
The Kitchener Rangers, London Knights and Mississauga Steelheads will help celebrate Rogers Hometown Hockey in their communities this season. Rogers Hometown Hockey™ will hit the road again, visiting 25 communities from coast-to-coast to tell the unique stories that unite the country through the sport it loves most – hockey. Full Tour Details

 

COMMUNITY CORNER:

Greyhounds set for banner-raising prior to Friday’s home opener: The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will be celebrating a season to remember prior to their home opener on Friday against the Sarnia Sting. The Hounds will raise their Hamilton Spectator Trophy banner for finishing first during the OHL’s regular season, their Bumbacco Trophy banner for finishing first in the West Division as well as their Wayne Gretzky Trophy banner for being crowned Western Conference champions. For more details on the Hounds’ #OHLOpeningWeek festivities visit soogreyhounds.com.

Generals and Ty Tullio announce partnership with Boys and Girls Club of Durham Region: Oshawa Generals rookie Ty Tullio will be heading up a charity in his first OHL season, partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Durham Region to bring ‘Toolzy’s Troops’ to the community. The program will see Tullio attend monthly visits to the Boys and Girls Club breakfast program, hosted Saturday’s of every month to meet and serve breakfast to those in attendance. Fundraising for the program will cover the cost of these weekly breakfasts put on by the club. For more details on this exciting initiative, visit oshawagenerals.com.

Spirit partner with United Way of Saginaw to build accessibility ramp: The Saginaw Spirit were out in the community on Monday, September 10th, partnering with the United Way of Saginaw County to assemble a ramp for a member of the Saginaw Community as part of Project Independence. For more details visit saginawspirit.com.

Storm welcome fans for another season: The Guelph Storm open the doors on Friday night at home to the Sudbury Wolves and fans are invited to celebrate the start of another season downtown from 4-7pm. A free kids area with inflatables, live bands and entertainment and free food trucks will be on site as the Storm ramp up for another exciting season of hockey in the Royal City. Full details at guelphstorm.com.

Otters host Fan Fest prior to home opener: The Erie Otters will host Fan Fest prior to their home opener on Saturday against the Flint Firebirds. Live music and entertainment for fans of all ages will be out in front of Erie Insurance Arena from 4-6pm. Don’t miss it!

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

Chiarlitti joins Ottawa GeeGees coaching staff: Five-year OHL veteran, U Sports graduate and decorated scholar Nathan Chiarlitti is on to his next challenge. After earning a Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology and Exercise Science at St. Francis Xavier University and a Master’s of Science, Kinesiology and Exercise Science at McGill University, Chiarlitti has joined the Ottawa GeeGees Men’s Hockey team as an assistant coach. He’ll continue his academic endeavours at OttawaU after recently receiving Google Cloud Academic All-America honours, which recognizes top student-athletes in North America. Among other awards, Chiarlitti earned the Guy Lafleur Award last summer, with recognizes the player who best combines hockey success with academic achievement and citizenship. Read more on his story at geegees.ca.

Palazzese named Goaltending Coach at U of T: OHL graduate Franky Palazzese has moved onto the coaching ranks, taking on the role of goaltending coach with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Men’s Hockey program. The 25-year-old played parts of five OHL seasons between 2009-14, suiting up in Kingston, Kitchener and Sudbury before a brief minor pro career in the ECHL. Since retiring, he’s established Franky Palazzese Goaltending School that operates throughout the Greater Toronto Area. For more on the story visit varsityblues.ca.

Bulldogs add Patrick Jarrett as assistant coach/video coach: The Hamilton Bulldogs have rounded out the coaching staff for the 2018-2019 OHL season by adding Patrick Jarrett as an assistant coach/video coach. Jarrett, a 34-year old native of Sault Ste. Marie, ON was taken 1st overall in the 2000 OHL Priority Selection by the Mississauga IceDogs. He spent five years in the league, including three-plus with the Owen Sound Attack, recording 286 points in 305 games. Read more

Senyshyn adjusts to new role with Bruins: Soo Greyhounds graduate Zach Senyshyn is working hard to grow his game on all 200-feet of the ice in the Boston Bruins organization. After scoring over 40 goals in back-to-back OHL seasons, Senyshyn spent last season with Providence of the American Hockey League where he recorded 26 points (12-14–26) in 66 games. Though the numbers aren’t overwhelming, his progression is more than just what’s on paper. Mike Loftus of the Patriot Ledger has the full story. Read more

Valentini joins Wichita Thunder: Sudbury Wolves graduate Ryan Valentini is recovered from an injury-hampered overage season and ready to suit up for the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder. The 21-year-old recorded 49 points (18-31–49) in 66 games with Sudbury in 2016-17 before missing all but one game due to injury last season. He joins fellow OHL grad Justin Lemcke (Hamilton Bulldogs) with the Thunder this season.

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Windsor Spitfires vs. London Knights
Friday September 21st at London – 7:30pm

Two Western Conference rivals with a boatload of talented young players clash in London on Friday as the Knights take on the Spitfires. Both clubs feature strong rookie classes as Will Cuylle, Jean-Luc Foudy, Kyle McDonald and the Spits will be going up against Luke Evangelista, Antonio Stranges, Sahil Panwar and the Knights for years to come. Rookies aside, both teams have some big guns in their lineup, with the Spitfires awaiting the return of All-Star goaltender Michael DiPietro (Vancouver) while the Knights remain without fleet-footed forward Alex Formenton (Ottawa).

North Bay Battalion vs. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Saturday September 22nd at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm

It’s always fun when a pair of northern opponents square off. The North Bay Battalion visit the Soo Greyhounds on Saturday night in a good test on Opening Week. The Troops have a full lineup as recently named captain Justin Brazeau has returned from San Jose Sharks camp. The Soo Greyhounds await the return of Arizona Coyotes prospect Barrett Hayton while star centre Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers) returned in time for the team’s opener on Wednesday night in Saginaw that resulted in a 5-2 loss.

 

#OHLOPENINGWEEK SCHEDULE:

Wednesday September 19:
Sault Ste. Marie 2 at Saginaw 5

Thursday September 20:
Kingston 0 at Peterborough 4
Guelph 3 at Windsor 4 – OT
Owen Sound 2 at Barrie 9

Friday September 21:
Oshawa at Kingston – 7:00pm
Hamilton at North Bay – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Ottawa – 7:00pm
Sarnia at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm
Sudbury at Guelph – 7:30pm
Flint at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Windsor at London – 7:30pm

Saturday September 22:
Flint at Erie – 7:00pm
Sarnia at Saginaw – 7:05pm
North Bay at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm
Hamilton at Barrie – 7:30pm
Sudbury at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday September 23:
Niagara at Mississauga – 2:00pm
Peterborough at Ottawa – 2:00pm

Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.

 

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