Three-hundred young men were selected by OHL clubs in this past Saturday’s OHL Priority Selection presented by Real Canadian Superstore, but countless others with OHL aspirations weren’t. Emmett Serensits was in those shoes two years ago but didn’t lose hope, continued to work hard and was rewarded for his efforts when he was selected seventh overall by the Sudbury Wolves in the inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection last spring.
The defenceman from Oakville, Ont. made the Wolves’ opening night roster out of training camp and slotted into the lineup, appearing in 61 games while registering two goals, seven assists and nine points on a young blue line.
“It gave me a lot of hope,” said Serensits as he recalled the experience of being chosen by Sudbury last April. “Just going through the Midget AAA season knowing that I had another shot gave me and my teammates a lot to play for and I think the Under-18 draft has been a really good idea.”
The 6-foot-1, 183Ib. right-shot defenceman joined other selections in first overall pick Victor Hadfield (Barrie Colts), 13th overall pick Cameron Gaylor (Mississauga Steelheads), second round pick Marko Jakovljevic (Sarnia Sting) and third round pick Seva Losev (Ottawa 67’s) in making the jump to the OHL this past season.
“A lot of my friends still playing Midget AAA say that the league itself is a lot more competitive and it’s changed a lot because of this draft,” added Serensits. “There are more good players in the league that didn’t get drafted in minor midget and they’ve stuck around because they want another chance.”
After selecting OMHA ETA Player of the Year Quinton Byfield with the first overall pick on Saturday, Serensits’ Wolves will be up first again in Wednesday’s Under-18 Priority Selection that gets underway at 7:00pm with streaming audio and live coverage of the selections at ontariohockeyleague.com.
After getting a second chance of his own, Serensits is eager to get to know his new teammate.
“I think we’ll be able to trade stories and talk about the experience we both had of missing out on our draft in minor midget,” he said. “After the season we had it’s exciting to add two first overall picks to the organization and I’m looking forward to getting to know both of them in the future.”
It’s been 11 years since the Wolves last reached the OHL Championship Series, coming up short against the Plymouth Whalers with a team that included current-day NHLers Marc Staal, Nick Foligno and Adam McQuaid. Having missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, Serensits and his young Wolves teammates are eager to turn the franchise into a contender once again.
“It’s an honour to be part of this group and to wear the Wolves logo,” he said. “I want to be one of those guys that helps us being a championship to Sudbury.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I think we are adding some big pieces.”
Tonight’s Under-18 Priority Selection includes 40 selections over two rounds plus a third pick option for clubs who select a goaltender. The event gets underway at 7:00pm and fans can follow along right here at ontariohockeyleague.com.