46 OHL Prospects Invited to Canada’s National Under-17 Camp

Hockey season may be over for fans, but for the players, the quest for their dreams continues through the summer months and that goes for 46 Ontario Hockey League players who get the opportunity to strut their stuff at Canada’s National Under-17 Development Camp.

The list of OHL prospects invited include 5 goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 29 forwards. They will participate in the event along with along with 66 other prospects beginning July 19 and ending July 26 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary Alberta.

Here are the OHL prospects invited to participate:

Name S/C Ht. Wt. Hometown 2018-19 Team OHL Team
Matteo Drobac L 6’0″ 179 Oakville, Ont. Halton (OMHA-SCTA) Hamilton
Carter Garvie L 6’2″ 150 Owen Sound, Ont. Grey-Bruce (OMHA-SCTA) Saginaw
Benjamin Gaudreau L 6’1″ 160 Corbeil, Ont. North Bay (GNML) Sarnia
Patrick Leaver L 5’11” 159 Perth, Ont. Smiths Falls (HEOMAAA) Oshawa
Josh Rosenzweig R 6’0″ 158 Toronto, Ont. Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) Niagara
Paul Christopolous R 5’11” 181 Richmond Hill, Ont. Don Mills (GTHL) North Bay
Brandt Clarke R 6’2″ 185 Ottawa, Ont. Don Mills (GTHL) Barrie
Ethan Del Mastro L 6’3″ 180 Freelton, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Mississauga
Isaac Enright R 6’0″ 170 Cobden, Ont. Pembroke (HEO) Niagara
Connor Federkow L 5’9″ 148 St. Catharines, Ont. Niagara North (OMHA-SCTA) London
Braden Hache L 6’2″ 185 Newmarket, Ont. York-Simcoe (OMHA-ETA) Kingston
Jacob Holmes L 6’1″ 176 Alliston, Ont. York Simcoe (OMHA-ETA) Sault Ste Marie
Logan Mailloux R 6’3″ 214 Belle River, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) London
Jack Matier R 6’2″ 174 Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Soo (NOHA) Ottawa
Connor Punnett L 6’1″ 177 Powassan, Ont. North Central (OMHA-ETA) Saginaw
Ranvir Gill R 6’3″ 190 Ottawa, Ont. Ottawa (HEO) Ottawa
Ty Hollett R 6’2″ 196 Orleans, Ont. Navan (HEO) North Bay
Liam Arnsby R 5’10” 175 Ajax, Ont. Don Mills (GTHL) North Bay
Jon-Randall Avon L 5’10” 172 Selwyn, Ont. Peterborough (OMHA-ETA) Peterborough
Jack Beck L 5’11” 152 Richmond Hill, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Ottawa
Josh Bloom L 6’1″ 165 Oakville, Ont. Toronto Young Nationals (GTHL) Saginaw
Ethan Burroughs R 5’10” 165 Georgetown, Ont. Halton (OMHA-SCTA) Owen Sound
Ryan Del Monte R 5’11” 161 Mississauga, Ont. Toronto Young Nationals (GTHL) Barrie
Deni Goure R 5’10” 159 Grande Pointe, Ont. Chatham-Kent (MHAO) Owen Sound
Brett Harrison L 6’1″ 157 London, Ont. London (MHAO) Oshawa
Thomas Johnston L 5’8″ 154 Oshawa, Ont. Whitby (OMHA-ETA) Ottawa
Wyatt Johnston R 5’11” 152 Toronto, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Windsor
Braeden Kressler R 5’9″ 154 Kitchener, Ont. Mississauga Senators (GTHL) Flint
Ethan Larmand L 5’11” 160 Midland, Ont. North Central (OMHA-ETA) Sudbury
Kaleb Lawrence L 6’5″ 205 Orleans, Ont. Ontario Hockey Academy (HEO) Owen Sound
Connor Lockhart R 5’9″ 162 Kanata, Ont. Kanata (HEO) Erie
Jacob Maillet R 6’0″ 172 Dundas, Ont. Hamilton (OMHA-SCTA) Guelph
Landon McCallum R 5’10” 154 Simcoe, Ont. Brantford (MHAO) Sudbury
Max McCue L 6’0″ 154 Sudbury, Ont. Sudbury (NOHA) London
Mason McTavish L 6’1″ 195 Pembroke, Ont. Pembroke (HEO) Peterborough
Daniel Michaud L 6’2″ 176 Belleville, Que. Quinte (OMHA-ETA) Oshawa
Justin O’Donnell R 6’1″ 170 Oakville, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Sarnia
Brennan Othmann L 6’0″ 168 Pickering, Ont. Don Mills (GTHL) Flint
Francesco Pinelli L 6’0″ 177 Stoney Creek, Ont. Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) Kitchener
Stuart Rolofs L 6’2″ 187 Carp, Ont. Kanata (HEO) London
Lawson Sherk L 6’1″ 181 Georgetown, Ont. Halton (OMHA-SCTA) Hamilton
Brendan Sirizzotti R 5’11” 170 Whitby, Ont. Whitby (OMHA-ETA) Ottawa
Chase Stillman R 5’10” 160 Peterborough, Ont. Sudbury (NOHA) Sudbury
Ryan Winterton R 6’0″ 161 Whitby, Ont. Whitby (OMHA-ETA) Hamilton
Shane Wright R 6’0″ 180 Burlington, Ont. Don Mills (GTHL) Kingston
Danny Zhilkin L 6’1″ 185 Mississauga, Ont. Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Guelph

2018-19 OHL All-Star Teams

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the First, Second, and Third Team All-Star selections for the 2018-19 campaign.

The OHL All-Star Teams were selected by the OHL’s General Managers upon completion of the regular season schedule.

Headlining the First Team is Red Tilson Trophy winner and Goaltender of the Year Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, who was a unanimous choice between-the-pipes after his record season with the Sudbury Wolves.  Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morgan Frost of the Soo Greyhounds was voted a First Team centre for the second straight year after eclipsing the century mark for points once again.  Dallas Stars prospect Jason Robertson of the Niagara IceDogs, who led the league in scoring with 117 points, finished first among left wingers, while Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion, who led the league with 61 goals, was the top voted right winger.  Edmonton Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard of the London Knights, who also won the Max Kaminsky Trophy for OHL Defenceman of the Year, was named a First Team All-Star for a second straight season.  Joining him on the blue line is Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mac Hollowell of the Greyhounds who led all defenders with 77 points.  Behind the bench on the First Team is Coach of the Year Andre Tourigny who led the Ottawa 67’s to a franchise record 106 points.

A total of 11 teams were represented among the All-Star selections led by the OHL champion Guelph Storm and the Midwest Division winning London Knights each with four.  All four of the Storm selections were on the Third Team including the entire forward trio of Nick Suzuki at centre, Isaac Ratcliffe at left wing, and Nate Schnarr at right wing, along with Dmitri Samorukov on defence.  Joining Bouchard from the Knights are Second Team picks Kevin Hancock at centre and Adam Boqvist on defence, with coach Dale Hunter voted to the Third Team.  The Greyhounds were the only club with multiple reps on the First Team, while the Wolves, 67’s, and Saginaw Spirit also had two representatives overall.

Voting was conducted in two stages with an initial ballot by Conference, followed by a final ballot that integrated the top selections from both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference results.  Players were voted on by position and received five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote, and one for a third place vote.  In the case of defencemen, the top two selections received five points, the third and fourth selections received three points, and the fifth and sixth selections each received a single point.

2018-19 OHL All-Star Teams (voting points listed following team):

First Team All-Stars:

C – Morgan Frost (Soo Greyhounds) 77 – voted 1st team in 2017-18
LW – Jason Robertson (Niagara IceDogs) 84 – voted 3rd team in 2017-18
RW – Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion) 79
D – Evan Bouchard (London Knights) 73 – voted 1st team in 2017-18
D – Mac Hollowell (Soo Greyhounds) 68
G – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves) 95
Coach – Andre Tourigny (Ottawa 67’s) 71

Second Team All-Stars:

C – Kevin Hancock (London Knights) 44 – voted 3rd team LW in 2016-17
LW – Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs) 40
RW – Tye Felhaber (Ottawa 67’s) 51
D – Bode Wilde (Saginaw Spirit) 59
D – Adam Boqvist (London Knights) 46
G – Kyle Keyser (Oshawa Generals) 44
Coach – Cory Stillman (Sudbury Wolves) 26

Third Team All-Stars:
C – Nick Suzuki (Guelph Storm) 38
LW – Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) 25
RW – Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm) 18
D – Dmitri Samorukov (Guelph Storm) 32
D – Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads) 25
G – Ivan Prosvetov (Saginaw Spirit) 19
Coach – Dale Hunter (London Knights) 24 – voted 1st team in 2019-10, 2nd team in 2005-06, 1st team in 2004-05, 1st team in 2003-04

Wolves’ Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen voted Red Tilson Trophy winner as OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves is the 2018-19 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the league.

Luukkonen becomes the sixth goaltender to win the award and the first member of the Wolves to be honoured in 40 years since Mike Foligno was the club’s first award recipient back in 1979.  The Finnish netminder is also the first European import player to be recognized.

“I am so honoured to have been named the Red Tilson Award winner,” Luukkonen said. “There are so many great players in the OHL who could have won this award and I am humbled to have been chosen. I want to thank the Sudbury Wolves organization for giving me a chance to play. I want to especially thank my teammates, Owner Dario Zulich, GM Rob Papineau, and my coaches, including goaltender coach Alain Valiquette and trainer Dan Buckland, for everything they have done for me.”

Luukkonen backstopped the Wolves to their most successful regular season since 1994-95.  In their crease he tied for the league lead with 38 wins and six shutouts while posting the OHL’s third best goals-against-average with a mark of 2.50 and the best save percentage at .920.  His GAA, SV%, and shutout total established new franchise records while his 38 wins are the second most in a single season in franchise history behind only Jim Bedard who won 40 games in 1975-76.

“Ukko had a remarkable and memorable season for the Sudbury Wolves in so many different ways,” said Wolves Vice-President and General Manager Rob Papineau. “To be recognized by the OHL writers and media as the winner of the prestigious Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding player is so deserving and outstanding for him. As the season went on, so many people would talk about how great of a goalie Ukko is but this award is really special as it recognizes that he is in fact the most outstanding player in the OHL at any position. When you get to know him, Ukko really is the most outstanding player, goalie, and person, and he truly does deserve this great award.”

The 20-year-old from Espoo, Finland, began his OHL career on September 28 just three months after being chosen third overall in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.  He won his first five regular season starts and would later produce impressive winning streaks of 11 and eight straight games throughout 2018-19 compiling an overall record of 38-11-2-2.  His efforts helped the Wolves finish second in the Central Division standings with 43 wins and 91 points.  This season Luukkonen was also selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in a unanimous vote by the league’s General Managers and represents the club as a first time recipient for that award.

“Ukko is an elite goaltender and a terrific young man,” said Wolves Head Coach Cory Stillman. “From the start of the season he was our best player in almost every game. He has a calm confidence about himself that allows him to control the outcome of a game. Ukko has all the tools to one day be a star in the National Hockey League.”

The second round pick by the Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft signed his entry-level contract with the club back in June, 2018.  In January, Luukkonen won gold for Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and was voted to the tournament’s All-Star team.  Following the OHL season he made his American Hockey League debut stopping 32 shots on April 14 in a victory for the Rochester Americans.

“We are very excited that Ukko-Pekka has been named the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player,” Buffalo Sabres Assistant General Manager Steve Greeley said. “We are very happy with his development and growth within the opportunity that he was given by the Sudbury Wolves and the OHL during this past season.”

The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League.  First presented in 1945, the trophy is named in honour of Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.

Accredited media were asked to select their top three choices from the 20 nominees submitted by all 20 member clubs.  Players received five points for a first place selection, three points for second place and one point for a third place selection.  Luukkonen received 201 points in the voting process appearing on over 80% of the ballots cast.  Overage Player of the Year Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion finished in second place with 127 voting points, followed by OHL Top Scorer Jason Robertson of the Niagara IceDogs who received 123 voting points.

Recent Red Tilson Trophy recipients include Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia 2018), Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2017), Mitch Marner (London 2016), Connor McDavid (Erie 2015), Connor Brown (Erie 2014), and Vincent Trocheck (Plymouth 2013).  Michael Houser (London 2012) was the last goaltender to win the award following Andrew Raycroft (Kingston 2000), Bill Harrington (Kitchener 1952), Glenn Hall (Windsor 1951), and Gil Mayer (Barrie 1949).  Gilbert Perrault (Montreal 1970) is perhaps the most notable Red Tilson Trophy winner to later play for the Sabres along with others like Dale McCourt (St. Catharines 1977), Mike Foligno (Sudbury 1979), Doug Gilmour (Cornwall 1983), John Tucker (Kitchener 1984), Ray Sheppard (Cornwall 1986), Brian Campbell (Ottawa 1999), and Cody Hodgson (Brampton 2009) who all played multiple seasons in Buffalo.

The Red Tilson Trophy winner is the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year presented at the CHL Awards Ceremony on Saturday May 25 during the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia which takes place in Halifax.  Luukkonen will be formally presented with the Red Tilson Trophy at the OHL’s Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

OHL Announces Academic Player of the Year Award Winners for 2018-19

Steelheads’ Thomas Harley, 67’s Sasha Chmelevski, Attack’s Mack Guzda and Storm’s Zack Terry honoured

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of the league’s three Academic Player of the Year awards for the 2018-19 season.

Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads is the winner of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year, with Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student, with co-winners Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack and Zack Terry of the Guelph Storm sharing the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award for Top High School Student.

All three players will be formally presented with their awards at the annual OHL Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 5, with Harley representing the OHL’s nomination for CHL Scholastic Player of the Year which will be announced on Saturday May 25 in Halifax at the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.

Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year) – Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads):

Thomas Harley has earned OHL Scholastic Player of the Year honours for his academic achievements in the classroom combined with his on-ice excellence for the Mississauga Steelheads.  Harley has been enrolled in six University level courses at Philip Pocock Public High School and Blyth Academy where he carries an overall average of over 88% studying Advanced Functions, Interdisciplinary Studies, Biology, English, Geography, and Chemistry.  On the ice, the top NHL Draft prospect scored 58 points in 68 games including 11 goals and 47 assists.

“It’s a huge honour to win this award,” said Harley. “A lot of great players have won it and I consider myself lucky to be among them. A huge thank you goes out to my parents, teachers, billets, and coaches who have gotten me to this point.”

The 17-year-old from Syracuse, New York, finished eighth among OHL defencemen in scoring and is the 11th ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting among North American prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft.  The first round pick by the Steelheads in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection increased his point production by 43 from his rookie campaign and was voted Most Improved Player in the Eastern Conference Coaches Poll to go along with Best Offensive Defenceman and second Best Skater recognition.  At season’s end, Harley represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

“The Mississauga Steelheads organization would like to congratulate Thomas Harley for being named this year’s Bobby Smith Trophy recipient,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond. “We couldn’t be more proud of Thomas for what he has accomplished not only on the ice but in the classroom as well. His dedication and commitment to his studies is a ringing endorsement that people can be great student athletes! Well done Thomas and we wish you continued success!”

Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence.  The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, a former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas.  Harley is the second member of the Steelheads to win the award following Nicolas Hague in 2016.  Additional recipients since the award was first presented in 1980 include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2008), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Erik Gudbranson (Kingston 2010), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), Adam Pelech (Erie 2012), Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), back-to-back winner Connor McDavid (Erie 2014-15), Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 2017), and Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie 2018).

Next in line for the award were a pair of dynamic rookies including Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and Jean-Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires.

Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Post-Secondary Student) – Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 67’s):

Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s is currently pursuing courses at Oakland University in Michigan where he achieved over a 96% average.  While his goals are Health Science directed with studies in Biology and Human Nutrition, he also demonstrated his diverse academic interests by opting to take an International Economics course during the winter term.

“I think it’s an honour for me,” Chmelevski said of the award. “All my life I’ve always wanted to be a hockey player but my parents always pushed me to be better in school. Education is something I take very seriously and I take a lot of pride in representing the 67’s with this award.”

A 19-year-old from Northville, Michigan, Chmelevski is no stranger to academic awards having been named both the OHL and CHL Scholastic Player of the Year back in 2017.  On the ice, the 67’s leader produced 35 goals and 40 assists for 75 points in 56 games helping Ottawa to a record finish atop the OHL standings.  Chmelevski has spent almost his entire OHL tenure with the 67’s joining the club during his rookie season after being chosen by the Sarnia Sting in the first round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.  Over his 216 career games he’s scored 102 goals and 111 assists for 213 points and was a 2017 pick of the San Jose Sharks and a 2019 member of Team USA winning silver at World Juniors.

“Sasha is a driven leader, whose on-ice achievements speak for themselves,” said Jan Egert, 67’s Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting. “Throughout his OHL career, Sasha has placed a continued importance on maintaining personal academic development, and has excelled in successfully reaching those ambitions. We are thrilled to see that Sasha is recognized for his efforts and achievements again this season.”

The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honour of the Hall of Fame Coach who served behind the Peterborough Petes bench in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players.  67’s goaltender Dan Battochio was the first award recipient back in 2005 and is also one of three two-time winners after receiving the honour again in 2006.  Derek Lanoue (Windsor 2010-11) and Stephen Gibson (Mississauga 2017-18) also share the distinction.

Runner-up for the award was Jonathan Yantsis, now a two-time finalist from the Kitchener Rangers, who also attended Wilfrid Laurier University.

Ivan Tennant Memorial Award (Top Academic High School Student) – Mack Guzda (Owen Sound Attack) & Zack Terry (Guelph Storm):

Owen Sound Attack goaltender Mack Guzda and Guelph Storm rookie defenceman Zack Terry share top academic high school student honours achieving impeccable results in the classroom with averages over 96%.

Guzda studied online through the K12 International Academy with courses that included British & World Literature 1 & 2, Psychology, U.S. & Global Economics, Environmental Science, and Careers in Criminal Justice.  Terry studied an impressive seven Grade 11 courses at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School in Guelph including English, Functions, Chemistry, Dynamics of Human Relations, World Religions, Law, and Biology.

“It’s a huge honour to receive this award,” Terry said. “I’m very thankful to have been given the opportunity by Guelph to compete in the OHL and pursue my academics. I’m very fortunate for all the support from everyone in the Guelph Storm organization, and especially my family and academic advisor, Coleen Driscoll, for the endless energy and effort put into allowing me to achieve such a high degree in my academics. I can’t thank these people enough.”

This marks the first time since the award was introduced in 2005 where it has been co-presented and had a repeat winner with Guzda recognized for the second straight season.

“I am honoured to receive the Ivan Tennant Award from the OHL for the second year,” Guzda said. “I am grateful to the Owen Sound Attack organization, ownership and coaching staff as well as educational advisor Sarah Rowe, and to my family and billets. I am particularly appreciative of the OHL for allowing me to pursue my academic goals along with my athletic goals.”

An 18-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, Guzda made 49 appearances between-the-pipes for the Attack carrying an overall record of 20-19-4-1 with two shutouts, a goals-against-average of 3.63, and save percentage of .878.  The club’s second round pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection and member of the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team in 2018 is now eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft and is listed 25th among North American goaltenders in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.

“Mack is an incredibly bright young man who is an outstanding goaltender as well,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “The organization is committed to success on the ice and in the classroom, and Mack exemplifies what we are looking for in a student-athlete.”

A 17-year-old from Oakville, Ont., Terry played 51 games for the Storm scoring twice with three assists.  The second round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection was one of just 11 OHL rearguards to represent Canada in the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he suited up for Team Black in November.  Last season he enjoyed an offensive minded season leading the OMHA’s SCTA division in scoring from the back end with 43 points in 35 games for the Oakville Rangers.

“Through the years there have been many highly dedicated and committed student athletes in the Ontario Hockey League. In my experience, there has been no one more diligent and determined to succeed in the classroom than Zack,” said Storm General Manager and Head Coach George Burnett. “He is most deserving of this very prestigious recognition. The Guelph Storm are very proud of Zack’s outstanding work throughout his first season, both on and off the ice. Congratulations, Zack!”

The Ivan Tennant Memorial Award is given to the Top Academic High School Player and is named in honour of Ivan Tennant, who spent a lifetime combining hockey and education.  He was the Kitchener Rangers’ Education Consultant for 20 years and a key figure on the OHL’s Education Consultant’s Committee.  Andrew Shorkey (2007) is the only other member of the Attack to win the award while the Storm have been represented previously by Adam Craievich (2014) and Quinn Hanna (2017).  Past recipients also include brothers Matt and Adam Pelech (Sarnia 2005 and Erie 2012), Freddie and Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2009 and 2010), and recent winners Stephen Dhillon (Niagara 2015) and Kyle Keyser (Flint 2016).

Finalists for the award included Jake Murray of the Kingston Frontenacs, Mitchell Russell of the North Bay Battalion, Tye Austin of the Peterborough Petes, and Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit.

All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2018-19 OHL Scholastic Team:

2018-19 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Peter Fleming
Erie Otters – Jamie Drysdale
Flint Firebirds – Ethan Keppen
Guelph Storm – Owen Lalonde**
Hamilton Bulldogs – Logan Morrison
Kingston Frontenacs – Matt Hotchkiss*
Kitchener Rangers – Michael Vukojevic
London Knights – Sahil Panwar
Mississauga Steelheads – Thomas Harley
Niagara IceDogs – Ben Jones**
North Bay Battalion – Mitchell Russell
Oshawa Generals – Mitchell Brewer
Ottawa 67’s – Graeme Clarke
Owen Sound Attack – Nolan Seed
Peterborough Petes – Tye Austin
Saginaw Spirit – Cole Perfetti
Sarnia Sting – Brayden Guy
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Cole MacKay
Sudbury Wolves – Peter Stratis*
Windsor Spitfires – Jean-Luc Foudy

*two-time member of OHL Scholastic Team
**three-time member of OHL Scholastic Team

Steelheads’ Nicholas Canade Named OHL Humanitarian of the Year

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Nicholas Canade of the Mississauga Steelheads is the 2018-19 recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Humanitarian of the Year.

Canade becomes the first Steelheads player to be honoured after leading the club’s community initiatives and spearheading programs of his own.  Among his endeavours was a social media campaign in support of the team’s ‘Pink in the Rink’ for Breast Cancer Awareness efforts where he was inspired to help out a teammate whose family had been affected by Breast Cancer.  Canade personally contributed $2,500 following widespread interest generated from a post on his personal Instagram account in the form of 65,000 ‘likes’.  His donation was matched by corporate support and additional contributions resulting in a total donation of $6,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society.  Read more from the Mississauga News.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive the Dan Snyder Memorial Award,” Canade said. “I share this award with my family, my teammates, my coaches and the phenomenal Mississauga Steelheads organization. Without all the support from the people I mentioned above, this award would not be possible. I am a strong believer in giving back to the community that has given so much to me over the years. Lastly, I would like to thank the OHL for not only the award but also for the opportunity to play in this outstanding league. Words cannot begin to express how much this means to me. Thank you.”

Canade’s community outreach also included leading a group of players to Credit Valley Hospital to visit sick children, plus numerous visits to local elementary schools to speak about topics of leadership, a drug-free lifestyle, the importance of education, and healthy living through sport.  He attended countless minor hockey practices serving as a guest instructor, participated in a sledge hockey game for charity, led a holiday skating event, delivered Teddy Bears collected from the team’s event to children in need, and helped with the Salvation Army kettle campaign at the mall.  Canade also showed his support for teammate Jacob Ingham’s ‘Bleed Blue’ campaign for Canadian Blood Services which generated funds and made a young fan suffering from a blood disease feel welcome during a tour of the Steelheads facility.  Canade and his family have also been active supporters of the Pinball Clemons Foundation following the club’s special ‘Pinball’ themed jersey night.

A 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., Canade was chosen by his hometown team in the 11th round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.  He’s now played two full seasons for the Steelheads and was named an alternate captain for 2018-19 and went on to produce a career-high 22 points in 63 games split between forward and defence.

“The Mississauga Steelheads Hockey Club are very proud of Nicholas Canade for whom he is as a person and as a hockey player,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond. “Today we are even more proud of him for being selected as this year’s Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy recipient! Nicholas’ tremendous character rubs off on all those that are lucky enough to be around him. Our organization would like to congratulate all of the nominees throughout the OHL and would especially like to congratulate Nicholas Canade and his family on this recognition.”

Each year the OHL awards a player that has demonstrated outstanding qualities as a positive role model in the community with the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy.  The Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors announced in 2004 that the OHL Humanitarian of the Year award would be renamed in recognition of the former Owen Sound Platers captain, who was twice named his team’s Humanitarian of the Year in recognition of his tremendous efforts in supporting community activities.

Past recipients include Chris Terry and Ryan Hayes who represented the Plymouth Whalers with back-to-back awards in 2009 and 2010 respectively, before Jack Walchessen and Andrew D’Agostini of the Peterborough Petes won in 2011 and 2012.  Ben Fanelli (Kitchener 2013), Scott Simmonds (Belleville 2014), Nick Paul (North Bay 2015), and Will Petschenig (Saginaw 2016) are also among recent award recipients before Garrett McFadden of the Guelph Storm became the first player to be recognized twice in 2017 and 2018.

Canade will be formally presented with the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy at the 2019 OHL Awards Ceremony which takes place on Wednesday June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  He will also be the OHL’s nominee for Humanitarian of the Year at the annual CHL Awards presented on Saturday May 25 in Halifax at the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.

2018-19 Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy Nominees:
Barrie Colts: Jason Willms

Erie Otters: Dan Murphy

Flint Firebirds: Jack Phibbs

Guelph Storm: Isaac Ratcliffe

Hamilton Bulldogs: Isaac Nurse

Kingston Frontenacs: Matt Hotchkiss

Kitchener Rangers: Joseph Garreffa*

London Knights: Joseph Raaymakers

Mississauga Steelheads: Nicholas Canade

Niagara IceDogs: Jonathon Schaefer*

North Bay Battalion: Luke Moncada

Oshawa Generals: Allan McShane

Ottawa 67’s: Cedrick Andree

Owen Sound Attack: Trenton Bourque

Peterborough Petes: Hunter Jones

Saginaw Spirit: Damien Giroux

Sarnia Sting: Mitch Eliot

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds: Brett Jacklin

Sudbury Wolves: Emmett Serensits

Windsor Spitfires: Tyler Angle

*repeat nominee

Ottawa vs Guelph: OHL Finals Preview

OHL Playoffs

The Ontario Hockey League Championship Series is set to begin as the Guelph Storm take on the Ottawa 67’s and the right to hoist the J. Ross Robertson Cup and gain a birth to the Memorial Cup, which is set to begin May 17, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Twice I’ve picked the Storm to go down in defeat in 7 games and twice the Storm bounced back from 3-0 and 3-1 deficits against the London Knights and the Saginaw Spirit respectively. They set an OHL record winning 7 elimination games. The 67’s on the other hand are well rested, sweeping their three series to date and are a perfect 12-0 in these playoffs.

OHL Finals

Both teams are trying to win their fourth Robertson Cup. Ottawa has captured the title in 1977, 1984 and 2001. Guelph has won it all in 1988, 2004 and 2014.

This is a pretty even matchup. Guelph won one game between the two squads in regulation while Ottawa took the second game in overtime, both winning on home ice. Both teams are powerhouses at home while Ottawa holds an advantage when they are the visiting team.

Throughout the season, the Storm held the advantage in specialty teams, but it’s seen a reversal in the playoffs. The 67’s when up a man have been dominant firing at 38.9% (51.9% at home) while the Storm are at 23.5%. When down a man, the two squads are virtually identical with Guelph killing off 80.7% of the oppositions opportunities while Ottawa negates 80.4%.

If there is one area that Guelph holds a decisive advantage it is in experience. The Storm ice 3 over-agers and 12-19-year-old veterans. I would say that the 67’s hold the advantage in the crease with Micheal DiPietro, who has been to the big show at the Memorial Cup and leading his old Windsor Spitfires to a Championship in 2017.

This series is a coin flip. But I have to make a prediction and I’ll take Ottawa in 7 games. Watch the Storm prove me wrong yet again.


Game 1: Thur May 2 at Ottawa, 7:00 pm

Game 2: Sat May 4 at Ottawa, 2:00 pm

Game 3: Mon May 6 at Guelph, 7:00 pm

Game 4: Wed May 8 at Guelph, 7:00 pm

Game 5: Fri May 10 at Ottawa, 7:00 pm*

Game 6: Sun May 12 at Guelph, 2:00 pm*

Game 7: Mon May 13 at Ottawa, 7:00 pm*

*if necessary

Ottawa 67’s vs Guelph Storm: Head To Head Stats
Description Result
Head to Head Ottawa 1-1-0-0 Guelph 1-0-1-0
Last 5 Years Ottawa 7-2-1-0 Guelph 3-5-1-1
Last 5 Years record at Ottawa Ottawa 3-1-1-0 Guelph 2-2-1-0
Last 5 Years record at Guelph Ottawa 4-1-0-0 Guelph 1-3-0-1
Previous Meetings This Season Guelph 3 @ Ottawa 4 OT
Ottawa 4 @ Guelph 8 Final
How the 2 teams match up
Guelph Ottawa
Team Record 40-18-6-4 50-12-4-2
Division Ranking 2nd Midwest 1st East
Conference Ranking 4th Western 1st Eastern
League Ranking 8th 1st
Past 10 Games 8-2-0-0 6-3-1-0
Home Record 23-9-1-1 29-3-1-1
Away Record 17-9-5-3 21-9-3-1
GF 308 296
GA 230 183
PP (Overall) 25.80% 23.20%
PP (Home) 25.30% 22.90%
PP (Away) 26.40% 23.40%
PK (Overall) 79.10% 77.50%
PK (Home) 77.80% 82.70%
PK (Away) 80.30% 73.20%
PP vs. Opp. 27.30% 50%
PK vs. Opp. 50% 72.70%
Leading Rookie Collins (6-10-16) Rossi (29-36-65)
Most PIM Ratcliffe – 105 Clark – 98
Leading Scorers Schnarr (34-68-102) Felhaber (59-50-109)
Suzuki (34-60-94) Keating (22-67-89)
Ratcliffe (50-32-82) Maksimovich (35-46-81)
Hawel (37-41-78) Chiodo (29-50-79)
Entwistle (30-27-57) Chmelevski (35-40-75)
Leading After 1st 24-3-3-0 31-0-0-2
Leading After 2nd 32-1-3-1 40-0-2-2
Tied After 1st 9-4-3-4 17-3-2-0
Tied After 2nd 4-0-1-2 7-3-1-0
Trailing After 1st 7-11-0-0 2-9-2-0
Trailing After 2nd 4-17-2-1 3-9-1-0
Out Shooting Opponents 28-8-2-2 32-9-3-1
Out Shot by Opponents 11-9-4-2 13-2-1-1
1-Goal Games 10-5-6-4 12-5-4-2
2-Goal Games 4-2-0-0 10-1-0-0
3-Goal Games 8-7-0-0 13-3-0-0

Storm’s Nick Suzuki Named OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm is the 2018-19 recipient of the William Hanley Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.

Suzuki earns the award for a record third straight season after finishing 11th in league scoring by compiling 94 points including 34 goals and 60 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-40 in 59 games played.  He recorded just 12 penalty minutes in 2018-19 which was lowest among the league’s top-14 point producers and third fewest among the league’s top-35.

“It is a huge honour to be chosen as the Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year,” says Suzuki. “To be named for the third straight year is unbelievable to me and I wouldn’t be in this position without the support of all my family and teammates.”

A 19-year-old from London, Ont., Suzuki joined the Storm in January acquired by trade from the Owen Sound Attack after representing Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.  His regular season totals in Guelph included 12 goals and 37 assists for 49 points in just 29 games with only eight minutes in penalties, bringing his four-year career figures to an impressive 328 points in 251 games with 141 goals, 187 assists, and 44 penalty minutes.  This season Suzuki was recognized in the OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll winning the Smartest Player vote, finishing second in the Best Shot category, and was picked third Best Stickhandler.  A first round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Suzuki was acquired by the Canadiens in September, 2018, as part of a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights.

“What an outstanding achievement for Nick to be recognized for three consecutive seasons as the most sportsmanlike player in the league,” said Storm General Manager and Head Coach George Burnett. “He has contributed in so many different ways to our club since coming to Guelph in early January. His results on the ice speak for themselves and his calm demeanour and outstanding leadership have provided terrific support to our group throughout our regular season and current playoff run.”

The William Hanley Trophy is awarded each year based on a selection by the 20 General Managers of the Ontario Hockey League.  All 20 teams submit a nominee but are not permitted to vote for their own candidate with players receiving five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.  The trophy is presented by the OHL to commemorate William Hanley, former Secretary-Manager of the Ontario Hockey Association for over 25 years.

Suzuki led the process with 56 voting points, just ahead of Joseph Garreffa of the Kitchener Rangers who finished in second place with 52 voting points, and Ryan McGregor of the Sarnia Sting who finished in third place with 36 voting points.  Suzuki’s younger brother, Ryan, was also among the six finalists for the award representing the Barrie Colts.

Since the award was first presented in 1961 only three other players have won the award twice including Dale McCourt (Hamilton 1976 and St. Catharines 1977), Sean Simpson (Ottawa 1979 and 1980), and Brad Boyes (Erie 2001 and 2002).  Suzuki is the second member of the Storm to be recognized following Jeff Williams in 1995-96, while Kirk Muller was the 1982-83 winner as a member of the Guelph Platers.  Current NHL talents such as Jeff Carter (Sault Ste. Marie 2005), Ryan Spooner (Peterborough 2010), Brandon Saad (Saginaw 2012), Connor McDavid (Erie 2014), Dylan Strome (Erie 2015), and Mike Amadio (North Bay 2016) are among the most recent winners.

Suzuki will be formally presented with the William Hanley Trophy at the 2018-19 OHL Awards Ceremony set for Wednesday June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Sportsman of the Year, an honour he received in 2017, to be presented in Halifax on May 25 as part of the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.

67’s Andre Tourigny Named OHL Coach of the Year

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s is the 2018-19 recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year.

With Tourigny behind the bench the 2018-19 67’s set a new franchise record with 106 points to claim their fourth Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the OHL’s first place team.  They tied the franchise record of 50 wins set in 1983-84 with the league’s stingiest defence, one that surrendered just 183 goals.  The 67’s won a league-high 29 games on home ice including a string of 14 straight from December 28 to March 3. The 29 home wins are also the most by the club since 1982-83.

“It’s a tremendous honour that I share with all of our coaches (Mario, Norm, Charles, Derek, Evan, Kyle, Sean, Gordon, Marc, and Andrew) and our players,” Tourigny said. “I believe it reflects upon the environment our team provides to our players. Thanks to our owners, along with management staff James and Jan, we have the opportunity to work in a fantastic environment.”

Tourigny joined the 67’s as Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations prior to the franchise’s 50th anniversary season in 2017-18.  The 44-year-old Nicolet, Quebec, native became the ninth coach in 67’s history with an impressive track record behind the bench primarily in the QMJHL where his career began as an Assistant Coach with the Shawinigan Cataractes in 1998.  He joined the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies as Head Coach and General Manager in 2002 where he spent 11 seasons and set a QMJHL record for most games coached with one franchise at 693 and earned Coach of the Year honours in 2005-06.  He moved up to the NHL ranks and spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-15, then one season with the Ottawa Senators in 2015-16.  He returned to the QMJHL for one season as Head Coach of the Halifax Mooseheads in 2016-17 before returning to the nation’s capital.

“Andre’s caring approach and tireless work ethic have resulted in every player on our team taking positive steps forward this season both on and off the ice,” said 67’s General Manager James Boyd. “Andre’s leadership and collaborative spirit have had a positive effect throughout our organization and for these reasons he is most deserving of the OHL Coach of the Year award.”

The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year as selected by his peers since 1972.  The award is in recognition of the contributions of Matt Leyden, past President of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1965-67, and former manager of the Oshawa Generals who spent more than 50 years with the team.

In a first round of balloting, teams vote for the top coaches within their own conference. The top three nominees from both the Eastern and Western conferences are declared finalists. A second round of voting is then conducted on a league wide basis where teams vote for any of the six finalists. At no time during the voting can a team select their own candidate. Coaches receive five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.

Tourigny led the voting process with 71 out of a possible 95 points ahead of runner-up Cory Stillman of the Sudbury Wolves who received 26 voting points, and Dale Hunter of the London Knights who finished in third place with 24 voting points.

He becomes the first 67’s recipient since the legendary Brian Kilrea who holds the league record with five Coach of the Year honours winning in 1981, 1982, 1996, 1997, and 2003.  Kilrea is one of 10 coaches who have won the award multiple times along with Bert Templeton, Terry Crisp, George Burnett, Craig Hartsburg, Peter DeBoer, Gary Agnew, Bob Boughner, Dale Hunter, and Mike Vellucci.  The five most recent recipients include Drew Bannister of the Soo Greyhounds in 2018, Ryan McGill of the Owen Sound Attack in 2017, Kris Knoblauch of the Erie Otters in 2016, Sheldon Keefe of the Soo Greyhounds in 2015, and D.J Smith of the Oshawa Generals in 2014.

The Matt Leyden Trophy will be formally presented to Tourigny at the 2018-19 OHL Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year to be announced on Saturday May 25 in Halifax as part of the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.

Kyle Keyser: The Future Has Arrived

Kyle Keyser grew up in the heat of the Florida sun, but once between the pipes its ice water running through his veins. Coming from Cold Springs, Keyser had to work twice as hard as the kid from Michigan or Ontario just to get noticed.

The opportunity to strap on the pads for Victory Honda Under-16 AAA squad in Plymouth, Michigan was just what the Doctor ordered. The squad boasts alumni such as Alex DeBrincat and Ian Cole. During the 2014-2015 season, Keyser posted a sparkling 2.27 goals-against-average and a .916 save-percentage. Those numbers were even more impressive in the playoffs with a 1.38 goals-against-average and .942 save-percentage.

And, oh yeah, he even got in a game with the Under-18 squad and you guessed it, he shut out the opposition.

Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Prior to the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Oshawa Generals General Manager Roger Hunt made no secret about the fact his Generals were targeting Keyser. But before he could make his selection in the fourth round, the Flint Firebirds pounced and selected Keyser with the 74th overall pick, 4 spots ahead of the Generals next pick.

Keyser would make the Firebirds’ squad straight out of camp, but to call that first season tumultuous would be an understatement. There were some issues surrounding the Firebirds squad that led to a five-year suspension on their owner, we won’t re-hash here, but they are well documented. Still, Keyser posted a 4.37 goals-against-average and a .880 save-percentage. And yes, all things considered, those are respectable numbers.

As the 2016-2017 season approached and a cloud hanging over the Firebirds, Keyser decided to ask for a trade. We know that there are those that frown upon a player asking for a trade. Yet, a player has to do what is best for them, especially at that stage of their career. And Keyser is as smart off the ice as he is on the ice as evidenced by his winning the Ivan Tennant Award as the League’s top High School Academic Player

It should come as no surprise that the first person come calling was Roger Hunt and the Generals. Hunt sent the Firebirds their own second round pick in the 2017 Draft back in return for Keyser.

Keyser’s acquisition wasn’t supposed to have an immediate impact with the Generals – It was an acquisition for the future as the Generals were preparing to launch a bid to host the 2018 Memorial Cup. Jeremy Brodeur (yes that’s Marty’s son) was the incumbent number one goaltender in his overage year. Logan Gauthier was penciled in as his backup. But a preseason injury to Gauthier opened the door for Keyser, and as they say, the rest is history.

That 2016-2017 season was Keyser’s draft year. He posted a 3.40 goals-against-average and .891 save-percentage. But as always the case, it was the playoffs that gave proof that Keyser rises up in the big games and is the definition of a money-goaltender.

In our rankings here at OHL Writers, we had Keyser ranked third among OHL Goaltenders (behind Michael DiPietro and Matthew Villalta) for that 2017 Draft. NHL Central Scouting saw it fit to rank him 11th in their final rankings, but we felt confident he was easily a top 10 prospect.

But on June 23-24, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Kyle Keyser’s name wasn’t called.

On October 3, 2017 Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney came calling and signed Keyser to a three-year Entry-Level Contract. Under the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, undrafted players can be signed as free agents before the NHL season begins.

The Bruins, who drafted Keyser’s teammate Jack Studnicka in the second round at that same draft, had kept eyes on Studnicka throughout the season and it is evident they saw enough of Keyser to swoop in and sign him to his contract before anyone else stepped up to the plate.

Before entering the 2017-2018 season, Keyser would attend the Bruins Development camp and he did not disappoint the Bruins brass, nor their fans. Keyser would go on that season to post a 3.16 goals-against-average and .904 save-percentage.

But it was a move the Bruins made after his OHL season ended that caught many a Bruins fans by surprise.

The Bruins brought Keyser up to the NHL as their third goaltender during their two round playoff run in 2018 and the learning experience he gained from that can’t be overstated. Keyser credited Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin for not only being helpful in helping him with any on ice questions and thoughts, but also how to act off the ice. This article by Matt Kalman goes into great detail on his time with the Big Bruins.

That was a move I expected the Bruins to repeat once again this playoff run:



But as Providence Bruins guru Mark Divver tweeted, there could be injuries at play effecting the decision making



The season that just ended saw Keyser take his game to another level. He appeared in 47 regular season games and posted a 2.75 goals-against-average and .915 save-percentage and was often found on the OHL highlights for the Jane’s Saves of the Week.

It was during the playoffs where Keyser stood on his head knocking out rivals Peterborough and Niagara (who were the overwhelming favorites). By the time the third round had begun, Keyser had the best save-percentage of any starter on over 25 years.

It was going to take a miracle to get past top ranked Ottawa in the Conference Finals and Kyle Keyser was the best chance the Generals had to take even one game in this series. And he gave them just that – a chance. The Generals were outshot 163 to 99 in the series and when you are facing 40 shots a night, well, you get the picture.

His ability to steal a game was no more evident then in game 4 of the series against Ottawa. The 67’s outshot Oshawa 44 – 22 and held a 1-0 lead going into the third period. The Ottawa barrage came in the third where they fired 19 shots on goal. With 34 seconds remaining and Ottawa on the powerplay and DiPietro on the bench for an extra attacker, Ottawa would tie the game and send it into overtime. But you can’t stop them all. And the 67’s would win the game 20 seconds into overtime.

No one was more heartbroken then Kyle Keyser. He should hold his head up high. He did more then could be expected and we believe the are great things ahead for him as he turns professional.

The accolades Keyser received from the OHL hockey minds were there as well. In the OHL’s Coaches Poll, where they only vote on two categories for goaltenders, Keyser was picked as the best puck-handling goaltenders in the Eastern Conference after finishing second last year and he finished second for the second straight year as the best shootout goaltender.

Today, OHL General Managers voted him second as Goaltender of the Year behind Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Finally, we have to bring up the World Junior Championships. I was adamant in my belief that Keyser should be the starter for the Americans, and he rightfully earned the opportunity to start the tournament. He appeared in two games for Team USA but lost the crease to Cayden Primeau. But it wasn’t because of his performance. Keyser was dealing with an illness leading up to game three and he never took to the crease again.

So, what can the fans of the Providence Bruins, and eventually the Boston Bruins look forward too?

Well, you are going to be hard pressed to find a more competitive netminder at this level and one that puts the necessary work in to become all that he can be. I know the Keyser family is extremely grateful for the opportunity the Bruins gave Keyser, and his “I won’t let you down mentality” combined with his competitiveness and work ethic will make him a force to contend with.

Kyser is an athletic netminder with superb lateral movement and quickness to go post-to-post. He darts out to the top of the paint quickly to take away the net. His angles and ability to direct shots out of the danger zones are very good. His glove is also very good and he is superb with his blocker – with an uncanny ability to “punch” the puck to a teammates tape all the way out to the blue line.

At 6’2” Keyser has good size. He tracks the pucks extremely well and if he can’t see over a screen, is able to track it looking around the screen. When the puck is below the goal line, his head is constantly always on a swivel, knowing where not only where the opposition is at all times, but where his teammates are as well so that if he has the opportunity to put the puck in a place for his teammates to retrieve it, he knows where they are.

When it comes to goaltenders, proper development and sufficient time to develop are keys. I for one am in favor a lot of times with a goaltender spending a year in the ECHL before going to the AHL for further development. In the ECHL Keyser would get more starts and face more pucks and still receive the coaching from the Bruins goaltending coaches.

But the Bruins are in a position where they are going to have to make some decisions. They are set at the NHL for at least another year with Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. But the situation in Providence is a little different. They’ll have to make a decision on Zane McIntyre who will become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent on July 1. There is also Daniel Vladar in Providence and if McIntyre is brought back, those two will battle it out for ice time. That means Atlanta (if the Bruins extend their affiliation with them) might be a spot for Keyser. Or they could loan him to another AHL team much like the St Louis Blues loaned Jordan Binnington to Providence a year ago.

I have no doubt the Bruins will make the right decision for everyone involved.


Wolves’ Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen Named OHL Goaltender of the Year

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves is the 2018-19 recipient of the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year award.

Luukkonen becomes the first member of the Wolves to earn the award after tying for the league lead with 38 wins and six shutouts, while posting the OHL’s third best goals-against-average with a mark of 2.50 and the best save percentage at .920.  His GAA, SV%, and shutout total established new franchise records backstopping the Wolves to their most successful season since 1994-95.

“I am very honoured to be named OHL Goaltender of the Year,” Luukkonen said. “I want to thank my teammates and all of the Wolves fans who stood behind us the whole year. I also want to thank our owner Dario Zulich and our General Manager Rob Papineau for taking a chance with me, and drafting me in the Import Draft and for creating an amazing environment for all our players to play in. To Coach Cory Stillman, Goalie Coach Alain Valiquette, Athletic Therapist Dan Buckland and the rest of the Sudbury Wolves organization, I want to say thank you for pushing me and believing in me. I am also very thankful for my billets Tammy and John Valtonen this season who gave me a second home.”

A 20-year-old from Espoo, Finland, Luukkonen joined the Wolves as the third overall pick in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.  He played to an overall record of 38-11-2-2 helping the Wolves finish second in the Central Division standings with 43 wins and 91 points.  He began his OHL career with five consecutive wins and produced impressive streaks of 11 and eight throughout the 2018-19 campaign.  His 38 wins are the second most in a single season in franchise history behind only Jim Bedard who won 40 games in 1975-76.  Luukkonen was also recognized in the annual OHL Coaches Poll tying for Best Puck Handling Goalie and winning the Best Shootout Goalie in the Eastern Conference vote.  The second round pick by the Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft represented his country on the international stage winning gold at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, and following the Wolves playoff run made his professional debut on April 14 making 32 saves in a victory for the AHL’s Rochester Americans.

“We are extremely proud and happy for Ukko on winning this award,” said Wolves General Manager Rob Papineau. “We knew when we drafted Ukko that we were drafting a great goaltender. It quickly became very obvious that he was also an outstanding teammate and individual who is an amazing leader. His character is as great as his ability to stop pucks. The impact he has had on our players and our organization on what it takes to be the best and to be a pro will remain with our team for years into the future. His dedication, his focus, and his preparation both on and off the ice are second to none.  His support of the community of Greater Sudbury and the significant Greater Sudbury Finnish population as well as the time he made available for young fans was remarkable. We thank Ukko for his time in Sudbury and we wish him tremendous continued success with the Buffalo Sabres and throughout his entire career.”

The OHL Goaltender of the Year is awarded to the league’s most outstanding goaltender as selected by OHL General Managers.  Teams were not permitted to vote for a goaltender from their own hockey club.  Goaltenders received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.

Luukkonen was the unanimous choice by OHL General Managers receiving the maximum 95 points in the voting process representing 19 first ballot selections.  Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals finished in second place with 44 voting points, followed by Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov of the Saginaw Spirit with 19 voting points.

The award was first presented in 1987-88 to Rick Tabaracci (Cornwall) with other notable winners including Manny Legace (Niagara Falls 1993), Craig Anderson (Guelph 2001), Steve Mason (London 2007), the league’s only back-to-back winner Mike Murphy (Belleville 2008 and 2009), Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound 2013), Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth 2014), Lucas Peressini (Kingston 2015), Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie 2016), Michael McNiven (Owen Sound 2017), and Michael DiPietro (Windsor 2018).

Luukkonen will be formally presented with the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year Award on June 5 at the OHL Awards Ceremony held at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.  He is also the OHL’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Year to be announced on Saturday May 25 in Halifax at the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.