OHL ANNOUNCES ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs, Tnias Mathurin of the North Bay Battalion, Eric Uba of the Guelph Storm and Davis “T-Bone” Codd of the Saginaw Spirit have been named OHL Academic Players of the Month for December.

Though the puck has yet to drop on the 2020-21 OHL Regular Season, players are striving for excellence in the classroom through their studies. The League continues to work with government and public health agencies to prepare a safe return to play. Academic players of the month are listed in correspondence with their 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

Here’s a closer look at the OHL’s Academic Players of the Month for December:

East Division: Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs is being recognized as December’s East Division Academic Player of the Month. He completed two grade 11 courses heading into the school year and currently carries an 89% average.

“Shane continues to be an exceptional role model both on and off the ice. The staff at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School can always count on Shane’s commitment to his academic studies, his maturity, and his leadership as a student,” said Kim Hulton, Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School academic advisor for the Frontenacs.

The newly-turned 17-year-old exceptional talent led the Frontenacs with a record-breaking 39 goals and 66 points in 58 games as a rookie over the 2019-20 season. He was the recipient of the Emms Family Award, was named CHL Rookie of the Year and, at 16-years-old, was recently one of 18 OHL players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp.

Central Division: North Bay’s Tnias Mathurin is December’s Central Division Academic Player of the Month. He boasts a 93% in English and as well as a 94% in Mathematics at Chippewa Secondary School and is described as a “very strong, diligent student with strong marks since grade 9.”

The 17-year-old defenceman was selected by the Battalion in the third round, 41st overall at the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. The Ajax, Ont. native scored seven goals and earned 12 assists for 19 points in 35 games with the Ajax-Pickering Raiders U16 squad in 2019-20.

Midwest Division: Eric Uba of the Guelph Storm has been named the Midwest Division’s Academic Player of the Month for December.

Uba is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Guelph where he has maintained an 88% grade in Business Math, an 86% in Life and Well-Being and a 76% in Macroeconomics. At the same time, he is also maintaining his on and off ice training regiments in preparation for the start of the 2021 season. He is described as a “very focused, determined and self-motivated student” and “an excellent role model for his teammates, exemplifying what it means to ‘embrace the best of both worlds.’’

Through 63 games over the 2019-20 campaign, the 20-year-old winger recorded a career-high 29 goals and 29 assists for 58 points.

West Division: The Saginaw Spirit’s Davis “T-Bone” Codd is the West Division’s Academic Player of the Month for December. Codd earned an 87% in his International Baccalaurette Math Studies, a 92% in International Baccalaurette Language and Literature, 91% in his U.S. Government course and 88% in Economics for a 90% overall average at Heritage High School.

Saginaw Spirit academic advisor Pamela K. Moretuzzo described Codd as an “outstanding, conscientious individual with an excellent work ethic.”

“T-Bone’s personality and attitude are infectious, and he truly leads through example while focusing on his many scholastic, athletic and community service commitments. He volunteers at numerous events in his hometown of Brighton, Michigan as well as Saginaw, Michigan. He is well liked and respected by his peers and adults alike,” Moretuzzo continued. “T-Bone is an exceptional young man. He is polite, responsible, honest, hard-working, and a role model for others. T-Bone’s work ethic and perseverance are second to none and he will undoubtedly achieve any goals he sets.”

Codd put up five goals and nine assists for 14 points through 53 games as a rookie in 2019-20. A fourth round pick of the Spirit at the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, the 17-year-old forward scored 16 goals and added 33 assists for 49 points with the Little Caesars 16U team during the 2018-19 season.

2020-21 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

Players listed in correspondence with 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

East Division:
December – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
November – Lawson Sherk (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Central Division:
December – Tnias Mathurin (North Bay Battalion)
November – Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts)

Midwest Division:
December – Eric Uba (Guelph Storm)
November – Connor Lockhart (Erie Otters)

West Division:
December – Davis “T-Bone” Codd (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Gavin Hayes (Flint Firebirds)

A total of 334 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2019-20 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3 million.  Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totalled more than $25 million.

Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPO­­­RTS than any other league.

Eric Uba – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 196 pounds

Date of birth: December 17, 2000

Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 9, 164th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: Not ranked. Mid-term: 150th North America

Kitchener Ontario native and Flint Firebirds right winger Eric Uba played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Kitchener junior Rangers during the 2015-2016 season. In 33 games, Uba scored 17 goals and added 28 helpers. He would add 6 goals and 6 assists in 13 playoff games. The Firebirds would use their 9th round pick to select him at the 2016 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

During the 2016-2017 season, Uba would ply his trade with the Ayr Centennials of the Provincial Junior Hockey League. There, he would appear in 40 games and notch 28 goals and 42 assists. He would add 7 goals and 5 assists in 16 playoff matches, helping the Centennials win the Schmalz Cup.

Uba began last season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, lacing his skates up with the Wellington Dukes. He appeared in 39 games and scored 9 goals and 13 assists. In late December 2017, Uba committed to the Firebirds and signed an agreement. While the Dukes were on the Holiday break, Uba appeared in 4 games for the Firebirds recording an assist.

Eric Uba of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Terry Wilson - OHL Images.
Eric Uba of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Terry Wilson – OHL Images.

It was a certainty that Uba (pronounced you-bah) would make the Firebirds roster full time this season, so a trade deadline deal on January 10,2018 saw the Dukes trade him to the Oakville Blades on his return to the OJHL. He appeared in 12 games for the Blades, scoring 6 goals and 6 assists. He would add 2 and 2 in 13 playoff games.

Uba would appear in all but one game for the Firebirds this season and score 19 goals while assisting on 23 others. While he finished the season a minus-13 it must be noted that the team as a whole was a minus-138 on the year. And Uba had the best plus/minus of any player on the squad to appear in at least half the Firebirds games. It is a testament to the work he puts in on the defensive side of the puck.

When breaking down his stats further, Uba scored his 19 goals on 162 shots, or 11.7%. He was at 6.7% from high danger zone areas, 22.2% from mid danger zone areas and 10.9% from low danger zone areas with the large majority (129) of his shots coming from the low danger zone areas. It shows he has confidence in his shot and that he can beat netminders from anywhere. His primary assists to secondary assists were 14-9.

At 6’ tall, his size is okay. But at 196 pounds, Uba is filled in and like most players at this level, won’t be needing to add the bulk most of them require. He is a straight line north-south player who likes to use the middle of the ice and I am sometimes left wondering how his game would translate to the middle.

Uba is a player who can be trusted to play in any situation, be it the powerplay, the penalty kill, or going up against the best the opposition has to offer. He’s smart and understands defensive responsibilities. He plays high tempo, high energy at both ends of the ice. His anticipation skills are very good and he can create turnovers, close up passing lanes and transition to the attack. He led all draft eligible players in short handed goals.

Offensively, Uba sees the ice very well and can make a very good pass. As mentioned, he can shoot the puck from anywhere. His shot isn’t exactly over powering, but it is accurate and has a deceptive release. If there is one area offensively that I’d like to see him work on it is taking the puck to the net more often and getting himself into position in those high danger zone areas to put the puck on net. Of his 162 shots on the target, just 15 came from those high danger zone areas. Maybe it’s a confidence issue or an experience issue.

Uba wasn’t on NHL Central Scouting’s pre-season or November’s Players to Watch list. But he did make their mid-term rankings at 150th among North American skaters. Based on his season since they published the list in January, he should be a bit higher. But he did get their attention. Unfortunately, the Firebirds did not make the playoffs so his opportunity to see his stock rise further may have come to an end.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

More stats form Prospect-Stats