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Top OHL prospects hit the ice in Barrie

The great ones – like Steven Stamkos played in the OMHA – and the next ones like Barrie’s Tyler MacArthur and Kingston’s Josh Leblanc will take to the ice at the OMHA Showcase in Barrie December 1 and 2.

Thirteen teams from the Eastern [ETA] minor midget AAAs will battle head-to-head in a series of games in front of pro, junior and university scouts at Holly Community Centre. The event is a preview of the top picks in next spring’s Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection Draft and, in a few short years, the National Hockey League draft. The OMHA is a premier development league with recent NHL grads including Stamkos, Matt Duchene, Corey Perry and Cody Hodgson.

A list of players to watch, including Tyler MacArthur and  Josh Leblanc is listed below with comments from OHL Central Scouting. The Showcase rosters, schedule and television schedule on Rogers TV – Barrie are available by visiting www.omha.net.

“When the players know scouts are watching and can step up their play it’s an indication as they get older they can deal with the pressures of hockey and move on,” said Dave Reid, former General Manager of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. “They all know a good show will go a long way.”

The participating clubs are the Central Ontario Wolves, Peterborough Minor Petes, Quinte Red Devils, Kingston Junior Frontenacs, Barrie Junior Colts, Ajax-Pickering Raiders, Markham Waxers, Clarington Toros, North Central Predators, South Central Coyotes, Oshawa Generals, Whitby Wildcats, York Simcoe Express and the North Ontario Hockey Association All-Stars.

The event is projected to draw 1,000 people and provide a boost to the Barrie economy.

“Profiling our AAA athletes at the Showcase events is an excellent way for scouts and universities to see all players,” said OMHA President Joyce Junker. “The OMHA is proud of every player and wants to do the best job possible to support them and their families by hosting such events as this.”

The OMHA AAA Showcase is also used to promote a path to post-secondary education for the athletes. Many OMHA graduates move on to attend and play at Ontario universities.

“The Ontario Hockey League offers student-athletes the best of both worlds when it comes to on ice development and opportunities in education,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “We look forward to the opportunity to meet so many of the OMHA’s great student-athletes and future stars of the OHL at these events.”

The OUA and OHL will host information sessions at the Showcase to explain the pathways to junior hockey and university life. OUA hockey is filled with OMHA grads, many who enjoyed OHL careers including David Searle [Peterborough], Tony Rizzi, Anthony and Kaine Geldart [Kingston] and Steve Ferry [Richmond Hill].

“Ontario University Athletics has a shared interest with the Ontario Hockey League in helping prepare their student-athletes for life after their junior playing careers. We hope that the OMHA AAA Showcase is the first of many opportunities for hockey fans to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional student-athletes in both leagues,” said OUA Executive Director Ward Dilse.

Some of the games will be broadcast on Rogers TV – Barrie, with a schedule available at www.omha.net.

The Showcase sponsors include the OHL, OUA, Barrie Colts, the City of Barrie, Under Armour, Rogers TV-Barrie, Pro Hockey Life, Forse Hockey, Rinknet Scouting Software, Shoeless Joe’s Restaurant, Garner’s Source for Sports, Panera Bread, and Pixels Photography.

Players to watch

Here are some top players to watch in the tournament, with quotes about each from Darrell Woodley, Director of Central Scouting for the OHL.

Ajax Pickering Raiders, Dallas Baird, Centre.  “Dallas is a big centre with lots of potential.  He is at his best when he is driving the net and creating scoring chances and using his solid frame to win battles for the puck.”

Barrie Colts, Tyler MacArthur, defenseman. “He is a big, solid defenseman with good mobility.  He likes to join the rush and create offense for his team when he can.  Runs power play and has a good shot from the point.”

Barrie Colts, Michael Holmes, defenseman.  “Michael is a very reliable defenseman with a very high hockey IQ.  He is used in all situations and excels on the defensive side of the puck, good all-round Dman.”

Central Ontario Wolves, Jake Bricknell, forward. “Jake is the type of that other teams don’t like to play against, he is very hard on the puck and wins most of his battles.  He is not afraid to go to the dirty areas and has the skill to capitalize on chances he gets.”

Central Ontario Wolves, Brady Baker, defenseman. “Brady is a smooth skating defenseman with very good mobility, he has the ability to skate the puck out of his own end, he makes a good first pass and he is not afraid to join the rush when needed.”

Clarington Toros, Evan Cormier, goalie. “Evan is a good sized goalie that takes up a lot of the net, He always keeps his team in the game and has the ability to steal games as well.  Evan is very technically sound with a good glove hand.”

Kingston Jr Frontenacs, Josh Leblanc, Centre. “Josh has great speed and is always using it to create offense and put pressure on the other team’s defense.  He competes hard shift in shift out and has a good skill set.”

Kingston Jr Frontenacs, Matthew Scott, defenseman. “Matthew is a tall lengthy defenseman with pretty good mobility, he is a very smart player and he is very rarely caught out of position.  He is very hard to beat 1 on 1 because he has such a good stick and he uses it all over the ice.”

Markham Waxers, Jonathan Ang, forward.  “Jonathan is an underage playing at the Minor Midget level.  He a very skilled player with good speed and vision and you notice him every time he is on the ice.  A name to watch for in the future.”

North Central Predators, Trayvon Henry, forward. “Trayvon is a tall, lengthy centre.  He is their best player night in night out, competes hard every shift and has a good skill set.”

Oshawa Generals, Ryan Heeps, forward.  “Ryan and is very responsible player in all 3 zones on the ice, he has a great understanding of all aspects of the game.  He also has pretty good skill which allows him to create offense for himself and his teammates.”

Peterborough Petes, Tiger Brennan, centre.  “Tiger competes hard game in game out.  You notice him because of his work ethic.  He is a team player and is used in most situations by his coaches.”

Quinte Red Devils, Brodie Butt, forward.  “Brodie is a competitive player that does whatever it takes to help his team win a game.  He is a good skater with a good skill set, which helps him create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.”

South Central Coyotes, Marcus Crawford, defenseman. “Marcus is smaller offensive minded defenseman that is always looking to create offense.  He has great vision and is able to find the open forward whether it’s on the power play or hitting them on a stretch pass for a breakaway.

Whitby Wildcats, Hayden McCool, centre. “Hayden has all the attributes to be a very good player at the next level and beyond; Good size, skates well and has a great shot.  When Hayden is on the top of his game he is one of the best players in this age group.”

Whitby Wildcats, Justin Lemcke, defenseman.  “Justin is one of the most physically intimidating players to play against in this league.  He has continued to develop since the beginning of the season and his coaching staff uses him in all situations.

York Simcoe Express, Graham Knott, forward. “Graham enjoys the physical side of the game, he uses his size to gain advantages in all 3 three zones.  He has a good skill set which allows him to capitalize on his chance or make a play to set up his teammates.”

York Simcoe Express, Tyler Boston, centre. “Tyler is the type of player that coaches love to have on their team.  He has a good understanding of the game and never takes a shift off.  He is a big part of his teams early success and is used in every situation.”

About the Ontario Minor Hockey Association
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association, founded in 1935, is the largest minor hockey association in the world and oversees a participant base of 300,000 consisting of players, coaches, trainers, officials, hockey volunteers and parents across the province. The OMHA has 246 active member minor hockey associations and annually coordinates 45 leagues and approximately 600 development clinics throughout Ontario.  For more information, visit www.omha.net.

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