Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today conducted the fourth annual OHL Under-18 Priority Selection for Midget AAA hockey players in Ontario.
The annual Under-18 Priority Selection was held entirely online, adhering to all government and public health COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines at both the League and member team levels. This year’s unique approach to a very special day was conducted in the interest of ensuring the health and safety of prospects, their families as well as OHL member team and League personnel.
Eligibility for the 2020 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection included all Midget players (2002 and 2003 birth years) not currently on an OHL Member Team Protected List who were carded with an Ontario based Midget AAA Hockey Club within the Ontario Hockey Federation, Hockey Eastern Ontario or Hockey Northwestern Ontario in the current season.
A total of 56 players were selected from 34 different teams and included 30 forwards, 16 goaltenders and 10 defencemen. 55 of the 56 players selected were born in 2003 including 45 with birthdays before September.
“Congratulations to all 56 players selected today,” said OHL Director of Player Recruitment Kyle Pereira. “It’s an exciting day for players, family members, coaches and teammates to celebrate continued hard work and high performance throughout the Ontario Midget AAA hockey ranks. We’ve seen several players propel themselves into the Ontario Hockey League through the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection and for those players selected, this is just another opportunity to get better every single day, showcase yourself and further your development.”
For the first time in the four years of the annual event a forward was selected with the first overall pick as Oakville Rangers winger Kevin Henstock was taken by the North Bay Battalion. Netminders then accounted for the next three consecutive picks as the Niagara IceDogs selected Jacob Osborne of the Ottawa Senators U18 second overall, the Sarnia Sting took Anson Thornton of the Toronto Titans third overall and the Soo Greyhounds picked up Samuel Ivanov of the Vaughan Kings fourth overall.
All OHL member teams were required to draft a minimum of two players, however to enhance opportunities specifically for goaltenders, clubs selecting a goaltender with one of their selections had the option to select another player (skater only) in a third round.
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association had the most players selected with 26 chosen from 13 different teams led by the Whitby Wildcats with four followed by the Ajax-Pickering Raiders, Guelph Gryphons, North Central Predators and Oakville Rangers each with three. Hockey Eastern Ontario produced 13 selections from nine different teams led by the Brockville Braves with three. The ALLIANCE featured 10 different selections from six different clubs led by the Windsor Jr. Spitfires with four players selected. The Greater Toronto Hockey League had six players chosen from five different teams led by two from the Toronto Titans. The North Bay Trappers developed the NOHA’s lone player chosen in the Priority Selection.
The OHL Under-18 Priority Selection was conducted in partnership with HockeyTech as picks were submitted online by OHL member clubs and displayed in real time at ontariohockeyleague.com. The selections were also streamed live on the OHL’s YouTube channel along with accompanying audio.
Announced in January 2017, the concept of the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection was developed with full support from Hockey Canada’s three Ontario Branches including the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), and Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO).
About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.