The Ontario Hockey League typically runs the ‘OHL Weekend Notebook’ each Monday. With the delay to our 2020-21 season, we’ll spend time covering the League’s top alumni from across the National Hockey League with the ‘OHL Alumni Notebook.’
DEBUTS FOR MCMICHAEL, DELLANDREA, CHATFIELD AND STANLEY
Four OHL graduates laced ’em up in their NHL debuts this past week. London Knights leading scorer Connor McMichael, fresh off a silver medal at the 2021 World Juniors, got into the Washington Capitals lineup on Sunday while former Flint Firebirds captain Ty Dellandrea played for the Dallas Stars in their season opener. Former Windsor Spitfires Memorial Cup champion Jalen Chatfield made his debut with the Vancouver Canucks last week, getting onto NHL ice at 24 years-old following time in the American Hockey League. Spitfires Memorial Cup teammate Logan Stanley, who also played with his hometown Kitchener Rangers over the course of his four-year OHL career from 2014-18, got into the lineup with the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 19. The 6-foot-7 defender was the 18th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft and has now skated in five games this season. He posted 10 points (3-7–10) in 44 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose in 2019-20.
STUDNICKA, SUTER SCORE FIRST CAREER GOALS
Niagara IceDogs graduate and former Oshawa Generals captain Jack Studnicka banged in his first career OHL goal from close quarters as the Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on Jan. 21. Former Guelph Storm OHL champion Pius Suter broke out for a big three-goal effort on Sunday, helping the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Detroit Red Wings 6-2. Suter’s first career NHL goal came as part of the hat-trick.
TOFFOLI, GIBSON NAMED STARS OF THE WEEK
Ottawa 67’s graduate and former two-time 100-point scorer Tyler Toffoli has been named the NHL’s first star of the week, potting eight points (5-3–8) in four games. Toffoli helped his Montreal Canadiens become the first team in League history to record a point in each of its first six games of a season with each outing taking place on the road. The 28-year-old tallied a hat-trick in Montreal’s 6-5 shootout loss to Vancouver on Jan. 20 followed by two more goals in a 7-3 win on Jan. 21. Kitchener Rangers graduate John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks earned third star honours, stopping 95 of the 99 shots he faced to go 2-0-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .960 save percentage with one shutout.
RYAN OFF TO GREAT START IN DETROIT
Owen Sound Attack graduate Bobby Ryan is enjoying a rejuvenated 2020-21 season in new surroundings. After overcoming struggles with alcohol abuse and winning the Masterton Trophy for perseverance in 2019-20, the 33-year-old has four goals and an assist through his first five games with the Detroit Red Wings. Now in his 14th NHL season, Ryan has points in four of Detroit’s five games this season, scoring twice in a 3-2 loss to Columbus on Jan. 18. The former second overall pick of the 2005 NHL Draft remains the all-time leading scorer in Owen Sound Attack franchise history.
LEAFS GREAT GEORGE ARMSTRONG PASSES AWAY
Known to many as “the Chief”, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and former long-time Toronto Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong has passed away at the age of 90. The four-time Stanley Cup champion had a decorated career in the Ontario Hockey Association junior ranks, claiming the Red Tilson Trophy as Most Outstanding Player along with the Eddie Powers Trophy as league leading scorer with the Stratford Kroehlers in 1947-48. He’d coach the Toronto Marlboros to a pair of Memorial Cup titles after his playing career and was named OHL Coach of the Year in 1972-73.
McQUAID ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Sudbury Wolves graduate Adam McQuaid announced his retirement after 10 NHL seasons last week. The 34-year-old product of Cornwall, PEI hadn’t played since March 2019 when he suffered a herniated disk in his neck. McQuaid won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011 and appeared in 512 career NHL contests, also spending time with Columbus and the New York Rangers. He played for the Wolves from 2003-07, graduating as an Eastern Conference champion.
11 OHL ALUMNI CURRENTLY HEAD COACHES IN THE NHL
A total of 11 OHL Alumni are currently serving as head coaches in the National Hockey League. The list includes several recent Memorial Cup champions including Ottawa Senators bench boss D.J. Smith who guided the Oshawa Generals in 2015 and served as an assistant under San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009 and 2010. Former Soo Greyhounds OHL Coach of the Year Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Maple Leafs joins Peter DeBoer, Paul Maurice and a host of other familiar names on the list.