OJHL’s Draft Eligible Players

Most of you know my previous work covering the Ontario Hockey League and its players eligible for the National Hockey League Draft. And now I take the foray into the Junior A circuit and the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

While my focus will remain with the OHL, I’ll take some time to look at what the OJHL has to offer. I’ve followed the league as much as possible, but this will be my first attempt at covering the league.

While the OJHL is predominantly known as a developmental league for the OHL and colleges in both Canada (CIS) and the United States (NCAA), they have some very recognizable names come through the OJHL on their way to the NHL.

Andrew Cogliano, Stephen Weiss, Mike Cammalleri, Cory Stillman, Raffi Torres, Dominic Moore, Justin Williams, Kevin Bieksa, Steve Eminger, Brendan & Reilly Smith and Trevor Daily are some of the better-known names to have played in the OJHL and gone on to the NHL since 2000.

While the 2016 and 2017 NHL Drafts only saw two OJHL players selected in each year, 2018 will prove interesting for no other reason than Toronto Jr Canadiens star forward Jack McBain. The star player led Canada to a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in August scoring a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the gold medal game and is projecting to be a top 15 selection at the 2018 draft.

Jack McBain
Jack McBain, Toronto Jr Canadiens. Photo courtesy of OJHL Images

Below is a team-by-team breakdown and the draft eligible players attending their team’s camps (players in bold are on the opening night rosters). Some players have already committed to US Colleges and Universities for 2018 and 2019 and you will see those listed. You will also see some players committed to OHL teams. Those players are currently at OHL team camps and could return to the OJHL if they fail to make the OHL roster.

Finally, you will see players that have been drafted by an OHL team or United States Hockey League teams. The majority of those players drafted will likely play a season in the OJHL before making the jump to the OHL or the USHL.

Bare with me if you see an error or two. I’m still building connections with the teams. But if you do see an error, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.

# Player POS Team Commitment OHL Draft / USHL Draft
12 Rory DiNiro F Aurora Tigers
19 Brennan Stapleton F Aurora Tigers
21 Tyler Davis F Aurora Tigers Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
24 Marcelo Pericao D Aurora Tigers
27 Elijah Gonsalves F Aurora Tigers London Knights (OHL)
29 Jack Irvine G Aurora Tigers
12 Ryan Sidorski D Buffalo Jr Sabres Union College (2019) Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
14 Jack Tucker D Buffalo Jr Sabres Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
16 Ethan Kirbis F Buffalo Jr Sabres North Bay Battalion (OHL)
19 Trevor Peca F Buffalo Jr Sabres Univ. of Maine (2019) Ottawa 67’s (OHL), Lincoln Stars (USHL)
33 Benjamin Kraws G Buffalo Jr Sabres Miami University (Ohio) 2019 Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
19 Mitchell Morrison F Burlington Cougars Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
29 Justin Richer G Burlington Cougars
55 Roberto Moretto D Burlington Cougars
69 Joshua Leblanc F Burlington Cougars
89 Josiah Degazon F Burlington Cougars Barrie Colts (OHL)
11 Jamie Engelbert F Cobourg Cougars
14 Madoka Suzuki F Cobourg Cougars Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
24 Jacob Black F Cobourg Cougars
7 Pierre-Luc Forget F Georgetown Raiders Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
11 John Parker-Jones F Georgetown Raiders Peterborough Petes (OHL) Peterborough Petes (OHL)
25 Justin Paul F Georgetown Raiders From Milton Icehawks (OJHL) Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL)
28 Connor McBroom F Georgetown Raiders Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
44 Josh Nixon F Georgetown Raiders
55 Luke Beamish D Georgetown Raiders Owen Sound Attack (OHL) Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
12 Troy Bowditch F Kingston Voyageurs
15 Adam Kim F Kingston Voyageurs
44 Cole Edwards F Kingston Voyageurs Colorado College (2018)
45 Zach Wheeler D Kingston Voyageurs
71 Neil Gummeson D Kingston Voyageurs
11 Nathan Balkwill D Lindsay Muskies
22 Matthew McNamara D Lindsay Muskies Peterborough Petes (OHL)
26 Clay Coles F Lindsay Muskies
27 Braydon Leeking F Lindsay Muskies Flint Firebirds (OHL), Chicago Steel (USHL)
3 Orie Mainolfi D Markham Royals
24 Sam Marit F Markham Royals
91 Bair Gendunov F Markham Royals Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
14 Justin Paul F Milton Icehawks To Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL)
16 Zac Sirota F Milton Icehawks
17 Benjamin Lindberg D Milton Icehawks
26 Wesley MacPherson D Milton Icehawks
35 Noah Battaglia G Milton Icehawks
88 Brandon Lucchesi F Milton Icehawks North Bay Battalion (OHL)
6 Sonny Martin D Mississauga Chargers
9 Christian James-MacDonald F Mississauga Chargers
11 Shane Donovan D Mississauga Chargers
22 Micheal Imperiale D Mississauga Chargers
35 Daniel Murphy G Mississauga Chargers Erie Otters (OHL)
76 Mitchell Hewitson F Mississauga Chargers Oshawa Generals (OHL) Oshawa Generals (OHL)
90 Joseph Rupoli D Mississauga Chargers Oshawa Generals (OHL) Oshawa Generals (OHL)
* Ian Vucko D Newmarket Hurricanes Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
3 Matthew MacDougall F Newmarket Hurricanes Barrie Colts (OHL),Lincoln Stars (USHL)
4 Dimitri Mikrogiannakis D Newmarket Hurricanes
8 Quinn Yule F Newmarket Hurricanes Ottawa 67’s (OHL) Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
11 Jake Cella F Newmarket Hurricanes
17 Christian Taylor F Newmarket Hurricanes Barrie Colts (OHL)
21 Nicholas Cirone F Newmarket Hurricanes
22 Adrian Nabuurs D Newmarket Hurricanes Barrie Colts (OHL)
23 Robert Cranston D Newmarket Hurricanes Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
25 Michael Aloise F Newmarket Hurricanes Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
28 Xavier Drummond F Newmarket Hurricanes Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
7 Peter Muzyka D North York Rangers Cornell University (2018)
11 Matthew Hubbarde F North York Rangers
15 Dante Fantauzzi D North York Rangers Oshawa Generals (OHL)
19 Jesse Tucker F North York Rangers Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
21 James Fletcher F North York Rangers Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
72 Jett Alexander G North York Rangers Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
55 Harrison Rees D North York Rangers Univ of Connecticut (2019) Erie Otters (OHL)
* Jack Tucker D Oakville Blades Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
7 Teth Burles F Oakville Blades Guelph Storm (OHL)
7 Jackson Doherty F Oakville Blades Owen Sound (OHL) Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
14 Matt Hayami F Oakville Blades Soo Greyhounds (OHL), Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL)
21 Thomas Maia F Oakville Blades Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
31 Christian Purboo G Oakville Blades North Bay Battalion (OHL)
72 Andrew McIntyre F Oakville Blades Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
77 Spencer Kersten F Oakville Blades Princeton Univ (2019) Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
5 Riley Valade D Orangeville Flyers Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
12 Jacob Latham D Orangeville Flyers
13 Rocco Andreacchi F Orangeville Flyers
24 Michael Hill F Orangeville Flyers Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
33 Nathan Torchia G Orangeville Flyers To Stouffville Spirit (OJHL) Oshawa Generals (OHL)
47 Aiden Timmermans D Orangeville Flyers Oshawa Generals (OHL)
57 Zach Taylor D Orangeville Flyers
2 Mitchell Doyle D Pickering Panthers Guelph Storm (OHL)
17 Joseph Franzin D Pickering Panthers North Bay Battalion (OHL)
27 Dustyn McFaul D Pickering Panthers Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
55 Mitchell Doyle D Pickering Panthers Guelph Storm (OHL)
77 Riley Girard F Pickering Panthers Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
90 Anthony Stavrou F Pickering Panthers
3 Liam Beaudoin D St Micheals Buzzers
3 Adrian Bilic D St Micheals Buzzers Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
6 Charles Mackie D St Micheals Buzzers Sudbury Wolves (OHL), Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
9 Tyler Spott D St Micheals Buzzers Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL), Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
11 Ryan Madigan F St Micheals Buzzers
13 Joseph Giovenco F St Micheals Buzzers
19 Zack Young F St Micheals Buzzers Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
26 Jonah Alexander F St Micheals Buzzers
30 Jack Watson  G St Micheals Buzzers Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
1 Nathan Torchia G Stouffville Spirit From Orangeville Flyers (OJHL) Oshawa Generals (OHL)
8 Paul O’Doherty D Stouffville Spirit Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
9 James Waldron F Stouffville Spirit Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
20 Thomas Tinmouth F Stouffville Spirit Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
26 Jacob Breckles D Stouffville Spirit Barrie Colts (OHL)
16 Matthew O’Brien F Toronto Jr Canadiens Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
18 Matteo DiGiulio F Toronto Jr Canadiens Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
19 Jack McBain F Toronto Jr Canadiens Boston College (2018) Barrie Colts (OHL), Lincoln Stars (USHL)
25 Matthew Falls F Toronto Jr Canadiens Peterborough Petes (OHL), Tri-City Storm (USHL)
30 Christian Mattiace G Toronto Jr Canadiens Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
2 Travis Mailhot D Toronto Patriots North Bay Battalion (OHL) North Bay Battalion (OHL)
4 Liam Beaudoin D Toronto Patriots To St Michaels Buzzers (OJHL)
10 Alex Kraljevic F Toronto Patriots
12 Mathew Bazarin F Toronto Patriots Erie Otters (OHL)
14 Marco Maggioni F Toronto Patriots
18 Nicholas Mounouchos F Toronto Patriots
19 Evan Benwell F Toronto Patriots Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
23 Jackson Alexeev F Toronto Patriots Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
9 Dawson Baker F Trenton Golden Hawks Sudbury Wolves (OHL) Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
13 Anthony Bastianello F Trenton Golden Hawks
15 Gage Stephney F Trenton Golden Hawks Oshawa Generals (OHL)
16 Sean Blimkie D Trenton Golden Hawks Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
20 Matt Nastasiuk F Trenton Golden Hawks Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
2 Declan Carlile D Wellington Dukes
10 Graeme McCrory F Wellington Dukes Peterborough Petes (OHL)
23 Bryson Michel D Wellington Dukes
33 Creed Jones G Wellington Dukes Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
9 Joe Roy D Whitby Fury Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
19 Matthew Sherwin F Whitby Fury Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
71 Amedeo Mastrangeli D Whitby Fury
84 Mason Snell D Whitby Fury Penn State University (2019) North Bay Battalion (OHL), Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
92 Liam Robertson F Whitby Fury London Knights (OHL)
98 Riley McCutcheon F Whitby Fury Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

OJHL Final Preview

After 6 and a half months, the final two teams are left standing as the Georgetown Raiders and the Trenton Goldenhawks will be competing in the final best of 7 series for the OJHL Buckland Cup. A true Jr A championship in the province of Ontario. Right up there with the Bogart Cup of the CCHL and the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy of the NOJHL.

 This year the best two teams are in the finals. The Southwest Conference champions, The Georgetown Raiders and the Northeast Conference Champions, Trenton Goldenhawks.

 For the Goldenhawks, they were the wire to wire team to beat in the Northeast conference and the in the OJHL. On the backend the team was lead by Daniel Urbani between the pipes who posted amazing numbers, almost video game like statistics, including a 1.69 GAA and a .930 SV%. He also posted a leagues best  5 shutouts in his 40 games played this season.

The blue line is patrolled by 6 strong individuals who may not be involved in a lot of scoring, but they definitely know how to stop the puck at the blue line and frustrate the opposition. Adam Clements was the D’s leading scorer with 7 goals and 34 points through 37 games. Jordan DaSilva, Blayne Oliver, Josh Allan, Brandon Marinelli and Nick Boddy and Chays Ruddy make up the other 6 patrolling blue liners. These 6 combined for 12 goals and 93 points. Again, not a scoring group, but definitely get the puck to the net. Even in the playoffs, this group has combined for a little more, netting 12 and racking up 34 points through 13 games… that is more back end umph per game than in the regular season.

 The Forwards are never in question. Danny Hanlon, Mitch Emerson, Hunter Fargey, Liam Morgan and Kevin Lavoie all put up 20 goals in the regular season, 115 in total. and in the playoffs, they combine for 22 through 13 games. A bit of a surprise is Lucas Brown with his team leading 8 in the playoffs who put up 12 through 44 games in the regular season.

The offence is potent, the goaltending is solid, Special teams? #1 PP in the playoffs, #1 PK in the playoffs, 32.69% and 95.45%, a whopping 128.14% combined. And this is a sport where anything over a combined 100% is great.

How do you beat the Goldenhawks? There isn’t an easy answer. Newmarket and Wellington figured it out… twice this season. But in the playoffs Trenton made good and took them both out in a combined 9 games. In fact, Wellington has given them the lone blemish in these playoffs as Trenton advanced by sweeping Kingston, playing only 13 games.

Whatever the answer is to the question how do you slow the Goldenhawks down. I am sure Greg Walters, Head Coach and GM of Georgetown will find the answer.

 Switching to the Raiders… They seem to just get better with age. And by age I mean more games under their belt. Their season wasn’t a dominate affair like many are use to seeing. For a good period of time both Orangeville and Burlington were the best team in the division, arguably the southwest conference.  As the season went on, Georgetown began to really assert their dominance, even as Buffalo climbed up the standings to compete for the top spot. In the end the Raiders claimed their 2nd straight conference title.

 In between their pipes is arguably the best goalie in the OJHL this year, Andrew Masters. If you are asking me, I say he has the advantage over Urbani. The only statistical advantage that Masters had was a greater save percentage, beating Urbani by .004 while facing 318 more shots than Urbani, an average of 8 shots more per game and although 8 shots doesn’t seem like much, take a quick look at what workload can do to a netminder. Last year Andrew Lee faced an average of 39 shots a game and had a 2-8 record. This year, he faced an average of 29 shots a game and cut his GAA by 2 whole goals from 4.84 to 2.80. Don’t tell me goalies can’t be over worked and tire out.

 But back to the point. Andrew Masters has the leg up in the net when compared to his counterpart, at least in my mind given the workload he carried.  The defence is similar to Trenton’s that the D can add to the offence, but are there to stop the opposition first and foremost. Matthew Cairns lead the blueline in scoring with 9 goals and 33 points; alongside him are Zack Dybowski, Austin Cho, Jake Payette, Kyle Allan, Wyatt Hicken and Matthew Thom. These 6 combined for 13 goals and 93 points in the regular season; additionally the 7 defenders had 320 penalty minutes this season, a testament to their tough style of play which wears down the opposition quickly.

 Up front the Georgetown Raiders are lead by Jack Jacome, younger brother to Brendan who are 1-2 in team scoring, 55 goals and 145 points between the two brothers. The Raiders had 4 forwards notch 20 goals or more and one at 19 goals on the season. The Jacomes’s alongside Josh Dickinson, Daniel Hardie, Jordan Crocker and Andrew Court are a potent top 6. Behind them are a great 3rd and 4th line that allows Greg Walters to roll all lines, any time of the game to change the momentum or give them that extra something to finish the game.

 With 4 strong lines and 7 capable D, the Raiders were 5th in PP% for the regular season .40% behind the Goldenhawks and 2nd in PK behind… you guessed it… Trenton. The Goldenhawks’ PK% in the regular season was 90.70% while Georgetown was at 87.84%. In the Playoffs, the Raiders are again, 4th in PP%, a staggering 7.01%  behind Trenton and 2nd in PK% with 91.03%. Again, a huge number but 4.42% behind the number one team… Trenton. Combined Georgetown has a 116.71% on Special teams.

 After all of this, the series comes down to a pick em. Trenton or Georgetown, flip a coin. Who do you like?

On one hand you have a very solid all around team up against a team that can get the job done behind a very solid goaltender. Arguably the best goalie in the OJHL.

The action gets underway on the 15th of April in Trenton for the odd numbered games and in Georgetown for the even numbered games. Pull up a chair, buy some popcorn and enjoy the action.

OJHL Expansion? How about getting back to contraction.

It has been well documented how the OJHL has struggled to get to the position that they are in right now. The league went through a large contraction down to 23 teams from the mid thirties and the league now sits at 22 teams, 11 per conference and two divisions, one with 5 and one with 6.

This past holiday season, there was an article that was put out that discussed the league expanding, absorbing two franchises in the GOJHL.

Although that could nicely even things out, 6 teams per division lets take a look at the possibilities of who the league will expand with:

Caledonia: A top franchise in the GOJHL for the last few years, they have a chance to three-peat this year but also currently have 14 Overage players (1995 birth years) on their team and several former OHLers that you normally would not see in the OJHL.

St. Catharines: Another annual powerhouse in the GOJHL that has a longer history of being at the top. The Falcons are generally a breeding ground for the Niagara Ice Dogs but also perennially compete for the Sutherland Cup. This years Falcons squad has 11 overage players.

Brampton: This is a younger franchise to the GOJHL and has not had much success. 42 wins in their first three seasons and currently have 14 wins heading into this weekend. So 56 wins in their 197 franchise games. Now the team has produced some OHL players and developed several Jr A players over the years. What makes this franchise so attractive is that Brampton use to have the Capitals OJHL franchise up until 2012…. When the Bombers were created….

Kitchener: No point talking about this franchise, not coming to the OJHL.

Waterloo: Same as Kitchener

London: See above… Proximity is what makes this situation not work.

Ancaster: Plausible as it is close enough to make Burlington, Hamilton and Buffalo direct division mates. The last 5 seasons as the Stoney Creek Warriors, the team was very competitive and as the Ancaster Avalanche, they have continued to have strong teams.

So how does the new OJHL look with 2 of these franchises in the mix? If you are only looking at proximity, and to be honest you should considering you do not want to make Kingston travel to Sarnia or LaSalle or even to Kitchener, London or Waterloo… then you are left with Brampton and Ancaster.

Brampton leaving the GOJHL may be difficult only because the club would have to up their spending… but then they would get to keep their players rather than have the OJHL ‘poach’ them through development. But consider the cost of travel they have… it may actually go down. Being located in Brampton, you have: Milton, Georgetown, Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto Patriots, Toronto Jr Canadiens and Orangeville all within 30 minutes of travel. 7 of the current 11 franchises in the South West conference are within a half hour of travel. Burlington is 40 minutes away, so is North York and only Buffalo will be over an hour of travel… approx. 120 minutes, depending on border traffic. So Brampton would be a viable franchise to add to the league… and considering the commissioner mentioned that it would be two franchises, you have to look at an Ancaster as being the closest Golden Horseshoe Conference team to the current league and say they would be the best candidate to take in to keep future costs low.

If Ancaster joins, the closest opponent would be Burlington at 25 minutes away. Currently Caledonia is that close to them, and the rest of the division is about an hour away. The same time it would take to get to the farthest opponent in the South West Conference.

So a lot of this makes sense and could really help the league fight the expansion of the ‘outlaw’ Jr A league in town… although the owners do a good enough job of messing that up themselves.

However, what is it that I wrote at the beginning? How about contraction?

Now I am not advocating for specific franchises to shut their doors. But lets look at the league with only 20 teams not 22. It would be more inline to what the OHL is. Not that the OJHL has ever strived to be what the OHL is, and lets face the fact that the OHL is not a perfect league thanks to many obstacles that has been thrown in their way the pat few seasons.

But consider taking away two franchises. I would have initially said Hamilton and Mississauga. But Hamilton moved to a better market in Markham and well… Mississauga is Mississauga. And if you had to take Geography into account, you may have a better argument for Milton. Now Milton is a storied franchise and in the mid 90s won 7 of 9 division titles from 1994-2003 and in the last 9 seasons, the franchise has not finished better than 4th once, finishing 3rd and missing the playoffs 4 times, and this season will be 5 in the last 10 seasons.

Now if you got rid of Mississauga, nobody would probably miss them, there is a lot of history that will die, but that can be said for a lot of OJHL franchises that have been around for over 20 years. If it isn’t championships, or conference titles it is the alumni list. And many clubs have tremendous alumni.

So if you were to choose Mississauga from the South West Conference who would it be from the North East… well to go historically, the Lindsay Muskies have not been a premier franchise in many years. Even though they have new owners this season in former NHLer Jeff Beukeboom and an Uxbridge businessman Dave Knapp. The team hasn’t made the playoffs for three seasons, doesn’t have a long alumni list and is just ‘out of the way’ based on geography.

But again, forget the naming of franchises because you can pick one of many and make a reason.

Getting down to 20 will help build up the talent pool. Think of the 44 players who will have no place to play if two teams contract. Now think of each team taking 2 or 3 of these players and bolstering their 3rd forward line or adding to their bottom D pairing and how much better these clubs will be, how much better the overall competition will be, how much more attention will be directed their way as they have lifted the competitive playing field of this league, and think about how much better the league can focus on players in less markets and help advertise their players so people will be enticed to see them more often.

It is a compelling thought either way. Add two teams and help the one conference, the ‘poorer’ conference become competitive with less travel or contract two teams and raise the talent pool and hope that when the ‘Outlaw’ league comes to those towns, they fail like they probably will anyways and prove that it is truly the players that help make the franchise, and that talent will always win out.

Uneducated Hot Take – Jr A Trade Deadline: OJHL

By Brandon Sudeyko

Another trade deadline has come and gone and it is time for some quick takes on what the team’s achieved or tried to achieve. Some succeeded and others didn’t. So let’s go back to the beginning of January so we can chat about most teams.

Aurora – The Tigers made two transactions. They sent defenceman Alex Boudreau to Whitby, presumably for cash and they upgraded the blue line by resigning former Tiger Noah Delmas. The two year OJHL veteran can add a boost to the blue line while Aurora tries to figure out how to keep shots from the net and pucks out of the back of it.

Buffalo – The Jr Sabres released Christian Zimmerman… But they are still a favourite in the SW Conference. Moving on…

Burlington – The Cougars made Cougar type moves. Assigned a player to Jr B, released a defenceman and traded for a probably better defenceman who played in the BCHL. Plus side to the addition of Griffin James is he is 6’4″ and almost 200lbs. As long as he can stop the opposition, it is a plus.

Cobourg – The other Cougars made three moves, adding three forwards. Austin Kozluk from the Q. Justin Bennett from Pickering & Zach Viminitz from Whitby. Not bad forward moves, but Cobourg is sitting 7th in the conference and are 7th in goals against… Probably could have used a D upgrade. How much fun can you have playing pond hockey against Trenton.

Georgetown – They added Ryan Takamatsu who can put pucks in the net. But there is still one puck for 5 guys on the ice… On the other hand, Andrew Masters knows how to stop the puck… So there is that.

Kingston – They did nothing. Sit second in the league behind Trenton. 4th in goals for, 7th in goals against and Anthony Rinaldi is 2nd in League scoring… Full steam ahead.

Lindsay – The Muskies downward spiral continues as they release Adam McPhail who they added at the end of December and trade Stuart Fierheller to the CCHL. They needed scoring and they didn’t add. They need defence and they didn’t add… next year is almost here.

Markham – With all their in season trades, how do they still have cards? Add a former Red Wing in Laine McKay to add more scoring. They added Scott Smith who bounced around the OJHL, OHL and found stability in Jr C for the future and traded D Shawn Tessier to North York because you can score more than the other team. Where is the team going? Probably in a lengthy playoff battle against Aurora.

Milton – They may have already turned over the entire roster once this year. Sit at the bottom, no real prospect of moving up this season and they assign a player to Jr B.

Mississauga – see above…. Didn’t add guys, didn’t move guys. Will make it through the season, and cheers to 2016/17.

Newmarket – The Hurricanes have been rebuilding since their run a few seasons ago. They are poised to breakout next season with 16 players being a 1996 or 1997. But they need a goalie. So at the deadline they released Connor Ryckman… that is the opposite of what they need for next season.

North York – Earlier you read that the Rangers got rid of Ryan Takamatsu to conference opponent Georgetown. But at least they replaced the 97 with 1996 F Chris Sekelyk. 35 goals in 91 games for Pickering with 73 total points. The Rangers need the scoring to help our their goaltender who is having his best statistical season but sits with a 10-17-1 record. Rangers have 9 one goal losses.

Oakville – They sit on top of the South division, and made no moves. Here comes the division title.

Orangeville – The team that was poised to make a big splash this year is wading in the shallow end. Did nothing at the deadline, may do the same in the second season.

Pickering – The black cats ushered out 4 players and brought in one since the beginning of 2016. They have the worst Goals Against in the conference. Sit second last in the Northeast. Traded away 29 goals and 66 points. But with 8 1997’s and 2 1998’s they are hoping to prepare for next season.

St. Michaels – 7 1997 players, 7 1998 players, and 4 1999 players make up this roster. The Buzzers made no moves, sit 8th in the conference and are trying to hold on. Look for an upset in the playoffs and a lot of noise next season.

Stouffville – I don’t know what Stouffville is. They made no moves, near the bottom of the conference, and have no OA players… There out come is the answer to a magic 8 ball question. Next year is almost here.

Toronto Jr Canadiens – TJC Fleeced the Patriots in their deadline deal. Getting 3 Patriots players for two… middle of the pack forwards. Ursitti has 2 OJHL titles, Beck has one, and Siddall came from Trenton prior to playing this season with the Patriots. 15 games to go, 30 points at stake and 5 points behind Oakville for the division lead. Watch them take over the Blades top spot. But the question remains… how the heck did they pull off this deal? Pay attention to the off season and who does what between these two teams.

Toronto Patriots – The Patriots looked like they were turning a corner before trading away 3 key pieces and getting 2 pieces back. They also added Rudi Ying who played in two WJC U18 Division 2 tournaments for China scoring 11 goals in 10 games. Who knows what the Patriots are trying to do. Winning doesn’t seem to be one of the things they are trying to do. Not with that trade to get back a 97 and 98 forward for three players.

Trenton – arguably the best team in the league did nothing at the deadline. Do they really need to improve? Did the rest of the league do enough to close the gap? Remember 2012/2013 when Trenton won the league and bowed out in 4 straight to Cobourg in the first round? The Cougars are currently sitting in 6th place right now…..

Wellington – The Dukes upgraded their net with Sam Tanguay, bolstered their forward depth with Matt Adams and the return of Greg Smith. A few points back of 3rd in the conference and hot on the heels of Kingston. Time for an East Division show down at the top, look out Kingston and Trenton.

Do the Cougars Still Have Teeth?

By Brandon Sudeyko

Every now and again, you got to speak up when something doesn’t make sense and lets take a look at the Burlington Cougars because something just doesn’t seem right with that they are doing.

For a few years this franchise has just been on the verge of being called a joke. Since 2012/13, when the league contracted, Burlington was entering their down turn as they finished 8th in the conference and had a 4-0 exit in the first round of the playoffs.

In the next two seasons the Cougars finished a combined, 21-78-2-6 in 107 games.

That is just terrible. But really they are not alone, from 2012-2014 the Hamilton Red Wings finished 23-80-1-4 in 108 games and you can’t forget Orangeville who had a record of 22-80-1-5 in 108 games…. Really there are lots of examples of two extremely bad years for Jr A clubs and then they have this major upswing… it is junior hockey after all… but more on that later, lets just stick with the Cougars.

So here they are after two pitiful years, 4 years without a winning record, siting 4th in the South West Conference with 20 games left to play. And they are making roster moves… but these moves don’t make that much sense.

Burlington had a good offseason with the acquisition of Jordan Peacock and Nathan Gomes from the Caledonia Corvairs of the GOJHL, both won the Sutherland Cup with the Corvairs last season. Anthony Sorrentino, Brady Cranwell and Michael Fallero were other additions over the summer and the Cougars started 6-0 before dropping their next three… then the team started making changes.

Adding Shawn Tessier before trading him only 10 days later. Adding Greg Allen before trading him 44 days later. Acquiring Austin Washkurak and holding on to 3 goaltenders for 24 days and releasing/selling Daniel Volpe to Jr B. Since the Cougars started 5-3-1, the team went 4-7 to the end of October while making 8 transactions.

The team settled down in November picking up 15 of 18 (7-1-1) available points. The team dropped a needed win against Georgetown at the start of December and picked up their next 4 W’s before the Holiday break.

In the mean time the team decides to send Jack Jeffers, their leading scorer to Orangeville for James McLaughlin. Also acquiring Stefano Alonzi from Mississauga and Anthony Baxter and Philip Lagunov from Milton.

So the team is doing good and they are heading back up the standings… so what is the complaint about? What is with these backwards moves?

What do I mean by that? You have so many OA spots for a Jr A roster and you are using two for your goaltenders while splitting their playing time. You trade your leading scorer for another team’s leading scorer. At best a lateral move. You pick up Mississauga’s Captain who really is the equivalent to Daniel Volpe in the sense he will get you those hard points in the dirty areas and acquire Anthony Baxter who is replacing Greg Allen.

Granted that these players personality’s may dictate that they need to be moved out but to bring in the same type of players, who are the exact same makeup, with an unknown disposition to your club is just playing with fire.

Currently sitting third in the division the franchise may be playing with fire with all these moves. With 10 of their last 20 games against opponents with a record under .500 it looks like all this won’t matter. But why go through all the hassle when you had the team in place. If they end up falling down the standings, you know where you can point the finger.

“Breaking Away” O’Sullivan and his connection to a great coach

By Brandon Sudeyko

When discussing how effective a coach is, many will point to the X’s and O’s or the depth of talent that they have or the most important measuring stick… the number in the W column.

What seems to get missed in every conversation is what a coach can do for a player off the ice. Obviously a coach is around to develop talent but they have a big responsibility to develop a teenager into a young adult and an upstanding citizen. Why wouldn’t the coach have that much of an impact on a player? Between practices and games, the coach is with his team approximately 10-15 hours a week. Given the nature of the hockey schedule, that is upwards of 450+ hours which is equivalent to a Monday-Friday 9-5 job for a month

This point of how important a coach is off the ice came to light in Patrick O’Sullivan’s book, Breaking Away, in which he chronicles his Junior hockey life with an verbally and physically abusive father. The book itself is a tough read but very informative and should be on a must read list.

O’Sullivan had a prolific junior career all the way up to the OHL where he played under Don Cherry for the Mississauga Ice Dogs. O’Sullivan was the 2002 OHL and CHL Rookie of the year, He was a member of the 2004 USA Junior team that won the gold medal in Finland. O’Sullivan still holds the record for games, goals, assists and points for the Mississauga/Niagara OHL Franchise. In his professional career, he was named the 2006 AHL Rookie of the year and holds the same goals, assists and points record with the Houston Aeros franchise.

In his story, a specific chapter stands out entitled, ‘WASHKURAK’. A couple pages devoted to one man, Joe Washkurak, former Mississauga Ice Dogs assistant coach when O’Sullivan was a member of the OHL franchise, and current Mississauga Chargers head coach in the OJHL.

In the chapter, O’Sullivan points out Joe’s background as a social worker, and how he worked with families of domestic abuse. The chapter is a look back as Patrick reconnects with Joe in November of 2014, but discuss a key moment how Joe helped out O’Sullivan through the rough period in his life. The assistant coach helped him move into a new billet home, providing security and safety for the young man and just providing any help possible to keep distance between O’Sullivan and his father.

There is a particular part in the chapter that is heart breaking as a moment of hesitation occurred but seemingly clicked at the same time. O’Sullivan mentions that he doesn’t hold any of his coaches responsible for not doing enough but points out that Joe seems to always blame himself for not doing more. And that last part not only tugs at the heart strings but shows that Coaching Junior players, no matter what sport, has to be more than X’s and O’s. The mark of a great coach isn’t about how many banners are hanging in the rafters. It is taking those past experiences and using your knowledge to help mould the young players and turn them into fine young men and be that sounding board. Be that support that they need. Be that substitute parent when they are at the rink.

Joe Washkurak is a great coach who doesn’t get his due because of the W-L record that is attached to the Mississauga Chargers. He develops talent not only for the OHL, but for the CIS and NCAA. In the coaching circles he is highly regarded and when you ask players, behind all of his gestures when he is behind the bench, he truly cares for the players standing in front of him.

The players who don the Mississauga Chargers jersey are lucky to have a coach like Joe Washkurak, and after the reading of the book, they may get a strong sense of how invaluable he can be.

The Chargers have a great one, and one who is often overshadowed.