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OHL This Week: September 21 to 24, 2017

OHL Opening Week is upon us as the 2017-18 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.

 

160 OHL PLAYERS INVITED TO NHL TRAINING CAMPS:

The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that 160 OHL players have been invited to attend National Hockey League Training Camps this season including 122 who received an extended look following the initial Rookie Camp and Prospect Tournament phase. All 160 players listed are eligible to compete in the OHL for the 2017-18 season including 112 players born in either 1998 or 1999, while 48 of the players are 1997-born and would return as overage players.  155 of the players listed competed in the OHL last season, while five of the players are committed to their OHL clubs for 2017-18. Full Details

 

ATTACK, STEELHEADS, KNIGHTS, GREYHOUNDS IN CHL PRE-SEASON TOP 10 RANKINGS:

The Canadian Hockey League released its pre-season version of the CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2017-18 season, an announcement that included four OHL clubs in the Owen Sound Attack (2), Mississauga Steelheads (4), London Knights (7) and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (10). The Peterborough Petes 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 2017-18. See a compilation of the most popular answers with select media comments to support their decisions. Read more

 

OHL ANNOUNCES 2017-18 OFFICIATING TEAM:

The Ontario Hockey League has unveiled its officiating team for the 2017-18 season, one that includes 35 referees and 50 linesmen. The list includes a pair of former linesmen becoming referees in Stacy Jackson and Michael Markovic. The league is pleased to welcome new officials in referees Ryan Elbers and Craig Dease as well as linesmen Kevin Connolly, Will Dykeman, Josh Jolley, Tyson Baker, Cory Hooper and Mac Nichol for the 2017-18 season. Full List

 

JOIN COMMISSIONER DAVID BRANCH ON FACEBOOK LIVE:

OHL Commissioner David Branch will be on Facebook Live at facebook.com/OHLHockey at 2:00pm on Thursday to officially launch #OHLOpeningWeek and the 2017-18 OHL season. Fans can ask questions throughout the session that will be aired live from the Ontario Hockey League’s head office in Toronto. Facebook.com/OHLHockey

 

NEW COACHES, MANAGEMENT STAFF SET FOR 2017-18 SEASON:

Eight new general managers, nine newly appointed head coaches and a number of other staff getting adjusted to new positions are ready to drop the puck on the new campaign. Get familiarized with new names across the OHL behind the bench and in the front office. 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 2017-18 OHL season. Get the inside scoop on your favourite teams as general managers provide their insights heading into Opening Week.

Read up on all 20 teams:

East Division: Hamilton Bulldogs, Kingston Frontenacs, Oshawa Generals, Ottawa 67’s, Peterborough Petes

Central Division: Barrie Colts, Mississauga Steelheads, Niagara IceDogs, North Bay Battalion, Sudbury Wolves

Midwest Division: Erie Otters, Guelph Storm, Kitchener Rangers, London Knights, Owen Sound Attack

West Division: Flint Firebirds, Saginaw Spirit, Sarnia Sting, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Windsor Spitfires

 

ATTACK, SPITFIRES, COLTS AMONG OHL PRE-SEASON LEADERS:

The 2017-18 OHL Pre-Season wrapped up on Sunday. There were winners and there were losers, but everyone knows there’s only so much you can extrapolate from exhibition games. With teams missing players to NHL camps, new talent was given an opportunity to show coaches and management across the league what they’re capable of as final roster decisions are being made ahead of opening night. 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 2, 2017. Powered by NeuLion, OHL Live provides coverage of all 20 teams in the OHL and will deliver all 680 games throughout the regular season which opens Thursday, September 21, as well as coverage throughout the 2018 OHL Playoffs.
Full Details

 

PETES NAME LOCAL PRODUCT LOGAN DeNOBLE CAPTAIN:

The Peterborough Petes have named their leadership group for the 2017-18 season led by hometown product Logan DeNoble. The Peterborough native is the 59th captain in franchise history and is the latest in a line of Petes captains to come out of the city including Doug Gibson (1972-73), Dallas Eakins (1987-88), Brent Tully (1993-94), Steve Webb (1994-95), and Kevin Bolibruck (1996-97). Veterans Alex Black, Jonathan Ang, Matthew Timms and Zach Gallant will serve as alternate captains for the 2017-18 season.
Read more

 

SPITFIRES NAME AARON LUCHUK CAPTAIN:

The Windsor Spitfires have named overage forward Aaron Luchuk captain for the 2017-18 season while Luke Boka will serve as an assistant. Luchuk, 20, enters his fifth year with the Spitfires having played 206 regular season games entering the 2017-18 season. The Kingston, Ont. native was a key piece of the Spits’ 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup title team, scoring the championship clinching goal. Read more

 

142 PROSPECTS COMMIT TO OHL THROUGHOUT THE OFFSEASON:

A total of 142 prospects made commitments to the Ontario Hockey League throughout the course of the offseason. Get familiarized with the new names and faces! Full List

 

MINOR MIDGET SEASON IN FULL SWING:

A new Minor Midget hockey season is underway as top 2002-born prospects from across Canada and the United States begin the journey to the 2018 OHL Priority Selection set for Saturday, April 7th. The Buffalo Jr. Sabres prevailed in an eight-team American-based Under-15 AAA tournament to claim the HarborCenter Cup. Prospects competing also had an opportunity to learn about the Ontario Hockey League during their time in Buffalo. Watch

Additionally, the Toronto Marlboros prevailed in the Toronto Titans Minor Midget Tournament, one that featured over 50 teams competing. The Marlboros defeated the Vaughan Kings 3-0 in the championship final to finish with a perfect 8-0 record. Read more

 

KNIGHTS’ REGULA TO COMPETE IN USA HOCKEY ALL-AMERICAN PROSPECTS GAME:

The sixth annual USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is set for Thursday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo as 42 of the best American-born players eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft take to the ice. Recently committed London Knights defenceman Alec Regula will suit up for Team Chelios alongside a number of American-born players chosen in the OHL Priority Selection. For more information on the game, please visit allamericanprospectsgame.com.

 

OHL SHARES IN UNVEILING OF HOCKEY’S DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES:

The Ontario Hockey League proudly joined hockey organizations from around the world on September 6th to unveil hockey’s Declaration of Principles – developed by and for hockey stakeholders – to advance policies, programs and initiatives, while inspiring fans, players and communities to create the best possible experience for the entire hockey community. This joint statement advocates the game of hockey as a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills that transcend the game. Watch

 

COGECO ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF YOURTV:

CogecoTV is now YourTV as of this past week after Cogeco unveiled a new identity across the province. YourTV features 36 community television stations across Ontario and Quebec and carries OHL action throughout the season for the Kingston Frontenacs, Niagara IceDogs, North Bay Battalion, Peterborough Petes, Sarnia Sting and Windsor Spitfires. For more information, please visit Facebook.com/YourTVOntario.

 

ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR COMES TO NIAGARA AND KINGSTON THIS SEASON:

The Niagara IceDogs and Kingston Frontenacs will help celebrate Rogers Hometown Hockey in their communities this season. Rogers Hometown Hockey™ will hit the road again, visiting 24 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:

Spits set for Opening Night Tailgate festivities: The Mastercard Memorial Cup title celebrations continue into a new season as the Windsor Spitfires are excited about an Opening Night Tailgate Party that will feature food, music and fun for the whole family. For full details on Thursday’s pre-game festivities, visit windsorspitfires.com.

Petes set to raise East Division banner: The Peterborough Petes will host a pre-game Home Opener Kick-Off Party on Thursday when they take on the defending OHL champion Erie Otters. The franchise’s 62nd season will feature music from Petes alumnus Matt McCartney and his band ‘Northern Roads’ as well as up and coming country artist Jordy Jackson. The Petes will raise their 2017 East Division Championship banner prior to puck-drop. Full details at gopetesgo.com.

Attack host Home Opener Fan Fest: The Owen Sound Attack are ready to drop the puck. Fans who get to the Bayshore early on Saturday to see the Attack take on the Flint Firebirds can take part in a Pre-Game Fan Fest just to the west of the front parking lot of the facility. Full details at attackhockey.com.

Rangers hold annual Fan Fest and barbecue: The Kitchener Rangers held their annual pre-season Fan Fest and barbecue on Saturday. Check out highlights and interviews from the day at kitchenerrangers.com.

IceDogs help support Niagara Region minor hockey in pre-season: The Niagara IceDogs extended a helping hand to Niagara Region minor hockey associations, playing exhibition games in Thorold and Beamsville with proceeds being used to benefit minor hockey in those communities. Visit niagaraicedogs.net for the full story.

Dr. Robert Vaughan honoured in Belleville: Former long-time Belleville Bulls owner and donor of the Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr Trophies Dr. Robert Vaughan was honoured in Belleville on Saturday. The Dr. Robert L. Vaughan Atrium was officially unveiled at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre, a site that hosts the newly relocated Belleville Sports Hall of Fame. Read more

Petes and Generals present donation to Brian and Amanda Bickell Foundation: The Peterborough Petes and Oshawa Generals presented donations to retired NHL star and OHL graduate Bryan Bickell, supporting his mission to serve those living with multiple sclerosis. In honour of the Bowmanville native’s fearless legacy on the ice and his philanthropy off, the Generals and Petes donated $1,500 and $500 respectively to the Amanda and Bryan Bickell Foundation whose most recent program provides fully trained service dogs to individuals living with MS. Read more

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

67’s review franchise history with 50th season set to begin: On February 16, 1967 the City of Ottawa was awarded a hockey franchise by the Ontario Hockey Association Major Junior A Series. The ownership group at the time (comprised of Bill Cowley, Howard Darwin, and Jack Kinsella) wanted to honour the year the team entered the league and hence the Ottawa 67’s were born. For the full story on how the 67’s came to be, visit ottawa67s.com.

67’s graduate Jacob Middleton signs entry-level deal with Sharks: After spending last season in the American Hockey League, Ottawa 67’s graduate Jacob Middleton has inked a three-year, entry-level NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks. The 21-year-old posted nine points (1-8–9), 56 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 50 games with the San Jose Barracuda last season. He finished the season ranked third amongst Barracuda rookies in plus/minus, and led all team rookies in penalty minutes. The Stratford, Ont. native played four OHL seasons between the Owen Sound Attack and Ottawa from 2012-16, recording 86 points (14-72–86) over 226 career regular season games.

Catching up with #OHLAlumni: Hall, Young and Martin: The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor brought together alumni who shared their experiences in the OHL including Taylor Hall, Harry Young, and Matt Martin. Watch

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Saginaw Spirit at Windsor Spitfires
Thursday September 21st at Windsor – 7:05pm

The defending Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires return to the ice just a few months removed from hoisting the Canadian Hockey League’s prestigious national championship trophy.

The Spitfires will celebrate with a pre-game tailgate party at the WFCU Centre before getting down to business against the Saginaw Spirit. Star goaltender Michael DiPietro has returned from Vancouver Canucks training camp for Thursday’s opener as what’s sure to be a big crowd will be eager to see the hometown product back in the crease.

Across the ice, the Saginaw Spirit are hungry this season after finishing outside of the Western Conference playoff picture last spring. New head coach Troy Smith gets back behind the bench to lead a Spirit club that has veterans Evan Cormier and Marcus Crawford as well as dependable forwards Brady Gilmour and Cole Coskey back from NHL camps.

 

Erie Otters at Ottawa 67’s
Sunday September 24th at Ottawa – 2:00pm

The Ottawa 67’s open the home portion of their 50th anniversary season against the defending OHL champion Erie Otters on Sunday afternoon.

The Barber Poles feature a new look in the hockey operations department as new general manager James Boyd joins long-time QMJHL head coach Andre Tourigny in overseeing the action. With a developing young blue line and key forwards in Sasha Chmelevski, Austen Keating, Mathieu Foget and Travis Barron back in the fold, the 67’s should be a fun team to watch this season.

The Otters will be playing their third road matchup in four games, getting their first East Division road swing out of the way early. Taylor Raddysh has returned from Tampa Bay Lightning camp and is joined by veterans Kyle Maksimovich, Jordan Sambrook and Minnesota Wild prospect Ivan Lodnia in taking the reins with a club that has lost the services of star graduates Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat and Darren Raddysh among others.

 

#OHLOPENINGWEEK SCHEDULE:

Thursday September 21:
Erie at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Saginaw at Windsor – 7:05pm
Ottawa at Barrie – 7:30pm

Friday September 22:
Erie at Kingston – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Barrie at North Bay – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Sarnia at Guelph – 7:30pm
Flint at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Windsor at London – 7:30pm

Saturday September 23:
Niagara at Hamilton – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Kingston – 7:00pm
London at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Kitchener at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Oshawa at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm
Flint at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday September 24:
North Bay at Sudbury – 2:00pm
Guelph at Windsor – 2:05pm
London at Sault Ste. Marie – 2:07pm
Erie at Ottawa – 7:00pm

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

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