Shane Wright restores the prestige of the ‘exceptional status’ pick

The list of players who have been granted exceptional status to play in the Canadian Hockey League at the age of 15 was once as short as it was impressive.

First, there was John Tavares in 2009. Then Aaron Ekblad in 2011. And Connor McDavid in 2012.
Those first three were considered no-doubters —truly exceptional talents. All would go on to become No. 1 overall picks in the NHL.

Then came Sean Day in 2013 and Joe Veleno in 2015, and all of a sudden the word “exceptional” lost its meaning.

Day, who wasn’t even a top-three pick in the OHL, was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the New York Rangers. He is now playing in the ECHL.

Veleno, the 30th overall pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2018, spent an extra year in junior after his draft year and all of this past season in the American Hockey League where he tied for seventh in team scoring.

So, when Shane Wright was granted exceptional status last year — following denials to 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes and several others — what he was really being granted was exceptional comparison. Scouts were certainly hoping he would become the next Tavares or McDavid. But at the same time, they couldn’t be sure if the 5-foot-11 centre would be the next Day or Veleno.

Read the full article from the Toronto Sun here.

Martin Chromiak – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 181 Pounds

Date of birth: August 20, 2002

Hometown: Ilava, Slovakia

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 35 Euro

30 N.A.

Kingston Frontenacs winger Martin Chromiak has a history of playing above his age group. It began as a 14-year-old playing in an Under-18 League in his native Slovakia going back to the 2016-2017 season.

During the 2017-2018 season, Chromiak began the season in the Slovak Under-16 League, tearing it apart with 29 points in just 11 games, so up a level he went to HK Dukla Trencin Under-18 squad. In 22 games he scored 16 goals and 15 assists, then tallying 6 goals and 4 assists in 11 playoff games helping the Trencin capture Slovakia’s Under-18 Championship.

The 2018-2019 season saw Chromiak begin the hockey season with HK Dukla in Slovakia’s Under-18 League. After just 4 games in which he scored 3 goals and added 9 assists, it was evident that the competition was below his abilities. So, as a 16-year-old he joined HK Dukla Under-20.

Things weren’t much different moving up for Chromiak He laced up the skates for 39 games and potted 22 goals and 24 helpers playing against older players, then added 9 goals and 8 assists in 15 playoff games and helping lead the Trencin to the Under-20 Championship. He even got into 2 games in Slovakia’s Tipsport Liga (Extraliga), Slovakia’s top league.

 

Chromiak, Martin
Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Ian MacAlpine / Kingston Whig-Standard

Chromiak has had plenty of international experience. He has appeared in the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup on two occasions. 2018 saw him score 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 games and in 2019 he scored 2 goals and 3 assists in 4 games. He’s also represented Slovakia in Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 international competition.

This season saw Chromiak begin with HK Dukla Under-20 squad, but his offence took a nosedive to just 5 goals and 1 assist in 32 games. Maybe there was some complacency in his game. On December 28, 2019, Chromiak committed to joining the Frontenacs for the remainder of the OHL season and he did not disappoint, scoring 11 goals and 22 assists in 28 games.

Chromiak has superb vision to go along with high end passing abilities. He is excellent with the puck on his stick, protecting it well and an ability to slow things down and let plays develop or give his teammate the time to get to high danger areas and then set them up with a perfect tape-to-tape pass.

Chromiak can play both wings, but is most dangerous on the left side, especially on the powerplay where he can run things with his superb playmaking skills. But Chromiak is not just a playmaker. He has an excellent wrist shot and snap shot that is deadly accurate. However, if he is going to predominantly play the left side as a right shot, I would like to see him improve on his one-timer.

Technically, Chromiak is a good skater but I would like to see him continue to work on his acceleration – or separation gear to be precise. But that doesn’t keep him from challenging defenders one-on-one and he has some success in those situations. That said, he is so smart that he finds the areas he needs to on the ice and he gets there with or without the puck.

At 6’1” Chromiak has some good size and I would like to see him engage more physically along the walls battling for pucks and driving to the net with or without the puck. Defensively his game is a work in progress and as one of the youngest players in the draft, that is to be expected. But he has shown that he understands positioning and now it’s a matter of putting in the effort.

Chromiak has been a fast rider in this draft class, and with good reason: his dynamic offensive abilities. He’ll be in a good position with Kingston next season to further develop with a very good, young team.

Zayde Wisdom – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 195 Pounds

Date of birth: July 7, 2002

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 4, 73rd overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 90 N.A. 54 N.A.

Perhaps no other player has caught the attention of the scouting world and moved up the rankings as much as Kingston Frontenacs’ Zayde Wisdom has. Wisdom was an after thought on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch Lists in the preseason and November and jumped all the way to 90th among North American Skaters on their mid-term report.

In fairness to Central Scouting, they weren’t the only ones to “miss the boat”. We here at OHLW didn’t include him on our preseason list, but moved him up to a C prospect on our list (4th, 5th or 6th round prospect) in November. The 90th ranking by Central Scouting sets Wisdom as a late 4th or early 5th round pick when you take into consideration Goaltenders and Europeans.

Zayde Wisdom of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Zayde Wisdom of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Wisdom played his Minor Midget AAA hockey during the 2017-2018 season with the Toronto Junior Canadiens where he appeared in 57 games, scoring 15 goals and adding 38 assists. Wisdom had a superb OHL Cup Tournament with 3 goals and 5 helpers in 7 games and helping the Junior Canadiens capture the OHL Cup.

Wisdom played his first Ontario Hockey League game a season ago and played in a total of 60 contests for the Frontenacs. He scored just 3 goals and assisted on 10 others on a team that finished last overall, scored the fewest goals (68 fewer than the next closest) and the second most goals surrendered.

Wisdom wrote a different story this season as a young Frontenacs team improved. He finished the year with 29 goals and 30 assists in 62 games. His 59 points were second only to junior phenom to be Shane Wright on the team. But that is the question many pundits are asking themselves: Just how much was Wisdom the beneficiary of playing with Wright?

That’s not an easy question to answer. To play with a player of Wright’s calibre, you need to be able to think the game at a high level to do so. And you need to put yourself in position when defences are keying in on your best player. Consider this: through the first 10 games while Wright, who was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada, was getting acclimated to the OHL and going against older players, it was Wisdom who was carrying the offence for the Fronts.

Wisdom is a good skater with good speed and is markedly improved from a year ago. He is able to get on the forecheck quickly and create havoc. He darts into lanes quickly and without hesitation. He’s a small guy at 5’9” but built like a tank. Quite simply he is the little engine that can with a motor and work ethic that never hits pause.

Wisdom is not afraid to go to the dirty areas, in fact, he has a superb net front presence. You’ll find he parks himself in front of the blue paint and yes, he is hard to move. But he’ll also score the majority if his goals from the top of or in the paint. But he also has an excellent shot and release that can beat a goaltender from the high slot or coming down his wing. Frankly, with his ability to find open ice combined with his shot, we are a little bit surprised he doesn’t score more of those goals.

Wisdom has also improved on his puck possession and has learned the importance of maintaining possession in today’s game. He is strong on his feet and hard to separate from the puck. His body is always in a good position to protect the puck. We would like to see his playmaking skills improve. To put it in hockey terms, would like to see his hands catch up to his feet and his head.

We see Wisdom topping out at the NHL level as a third line winger who will provide energy and some offense. He will be able to move up and down the lineup in a pinch.

What we all know for sure is that there have been a lot of eyes on Wright this season. And that bodes well for Wisdom because the more you see him, the more you realize what assets he can bring to the NHL. And all the rankings available are showing just that.

OHL ANNOUNCES TOP PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in February 2020, including Kingston Frontenacs forward Shane Wright and London Knights teammates Alec Regula and Brett Brochu.

OHL Player & Rookie of the Month – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs):
First overall OHL Priority Selection choice and exceptional status forward Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs has been recognized as both the OHL Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for February. The 16-year-old led the League with 14 goals while adding 10 assists for 24 points over 13 contests as his Frontenacs got back into the playoff hunt with five victories to pull into a tie for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Wright lit the lamp in 10 of his 13 February outings, netting three multi-goal efforts along the way. He opened the month with two goals and an assist in a 5-3 road loss to the Barrie Colts on Feb. 1st before registering another multi-goal showing with a pair in a 4-3 win over the Peterborough Petes on Feb. 5th. Wright went on to string together three straight three-point performances on Feb. 9th, 12th and 14th, tallying a goal and two assists in each game. He stepped up with the overtime winner as the Frontenacs defeated the Oshawa Generals on Feb. 21st. Wright saved his biggest performance of the month for last, surpassing Bernie Nicholls for the Frontenacs’ all-time franchise rookie goal-scoring mark with his 39th of the season as part of his first career OHL hat-trick in a 6-1 road win over the Flint Firebirds. Wright received star of the game recognition five times over the course of the month.

A product of Burlington, Ont., Wright leads OHL rookies with 39 goals and 66 points over 55 games this season. His 66 points are equal to Connor McDavid‘s total over 63 games as an exceptional status rookie with the Erie Otters in 2012-13. The 2004-born talent captained Team Canada Black at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, recording seven points (4-3–7) over five games. He was selected first overall by the Frontenacs last spring after being named GTHL Player of the Year with 150 points (66-84–150) over 72 games as a member of the OHL Cup champion Don Mills Flyers.

OHL Defenceman of the Month – Alec Regula (London Knights):
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alec Regula of the London Knights is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for February, leading all blueliners with 11 goals while adding seven assists for 18 points over 11 contests with a plus/minus rating of plus-10. Regula recorded points in 10 of his 11 February outings, starting the month with a two-goal showing on Feb. 1st in Sarnia. He matched a season-high with three points including a goal and two helpers in a 6-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers on Feb. 14th, chipping in with a pair of assists a night later as London defeated Kingston 7-5. After recording a goal and an assist in a win over the Windsor Spitfires on Feb. 20th, Regula became the first Knights defenceman to score a hat-trick since March 2009 when he netted three on Feb. 21st against Guelph. Regula finished February on a high note, picking up a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Soo Greyhounds on Feb. 28th.

A 19-year-old native of West Bloomfield, Mich., Regula leads OHL defenders with 26 goals while adding 31 assists for 57 points over 53 games this season. The 6-foot-4, 207Ib. third-year veteran sits owns a team co-leading plus-34 rating and his 26 goals are the most by a Knights rearguard since Dennis Wideman potted 27 during the 2001-02 season. Regula has accumulated 121 points (44-77–121) over 186 career regular season games with the Knights dating back to 2017 after he was selected in the fourth round (74th overall) of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection. He was a third round (67th overall) pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2018 NHL Draft before being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks in an October 2019 move that saw OHL graduate Brendan Perlini go the other way. The Blackhawks signed Regula to a three-year entry level contract in November.

OHL Goaltender of the Month – Brett Brochu (London Knights):
For the second straight month, London Knights rookie Brett Brochu has been recognized with OHL Top Goaltender honours. Brochu led all netminders with a 2.36 goals-against average to go with a 7-1-0-0 record and .926 save percentage over eight games. He put together a season-high 43 saves on Feb. 17th in Ottawa as the Knights defeated the CHL’s top-ranked 67’s 4-2, with the rookie earning second star honours. Brochu built off that, stopping 36 of 38 on Feb. 20th in Windsor as the Knights defeated the Spitfires 4-2. He rounded out the month with a record-setting 29th win on Feb. 28th, making 26 saves against the Soo Greyhounds to pass Ryan MacDonald on the Knights’ all-time list for wins by a rookie goaltender.

A 17-year-old native of Tilbury, Ont., Brochu has won 19 of his last 20 outings for an overall record of 29-6-0-0 with the league’s third-best 2.50 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and two shutouts over 39 games. His 29 wins are the most by an OHL 17-year-old rookie since Niagara’s Andrew Loverock won 31 during the 2006-07 campaign. The 5-foot-11, 156Ib. puckstopper was London’s sixth round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. He spent last season with the Dresden Kings Jr. C club, earning PJHL Stobbs Division Rookie of the Year honours.

2019-20 OHL Performers of the Month:

Player of the Month:
February – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
January – Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
December – Cole Schwindt (Mississauga Steelheads)
November – Jan Jenik (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Defenceman of the Month:
February – Alec Regula (London Knights)
January – Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s)
December – Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s)
November – Connor Corcoran (Windsor Spitfires)
October – Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s)

Rookie of the Month:
February – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
January – Brett Brochu (London Knights)
December – Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes)
November – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
October – Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes)

Goaltender of the Month:
February – Brett Brochu (London Knights)
January – Brett Brochu (London Knights)
December – Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
November – Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
October – Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)

OHL Writers’ Draft Eligible Player of the Month for February

Much like it was for us in the month of January, selecting one performance over another  for our draft eligible player of the month was a difficult task once again in February. And this time, we have a different outcome.

Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s becomes the third time winner as our choice as the top performer among players eligible for the National Hockey League Draft.

Rossi, who leads the Ontario Hockey League in assists (73) and points (108) appeared in 13 games through the month of February and tallied 6 goals to go along with 17 assists. Despite putting up amazing offensive numbers in those 13 games, Rossi was only named a game’s star twice, receiving 1 first star honor and one second star mention.

Rossi, Marco
Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by OHL Images

Following close behind Rossi was teammate Jack Quinn who potted 8 goals while assisting on 11 others through February. But unlike Rossi, the powers at be found Quinn to do enough to be named the game’s second star on 4 different occasions.

Also considered was Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit with 8 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. Honorable mention has to go to James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads with 6 goals and 7 assists in 10 games and Kingston Frontenacs’ Zayde Wisdom with 7 goals and 9 assists in 13 games played.

In goal, Brett Brochu continues to shine. Brochu appeared in 8 games with a 7-1-0-0 record while stopping 244 of 264 shots for an impressive .924 save percentage and a 2.38 goals-against-average.

OHL Writers Draft Eligible Players of the Month

February – Marco Rossi – Ottawa 67’s

January – Cole Perfetti – Saginaw Spirit

December – Marco Rossi – Ottawa 67’s

November – Marco Rossi – Ottawa 67’s

October – Cole Perfetti – Saginaw Spirit

OHL THIS WEEK: JANUARY 3 TO 5, 2020

Press Release

 

OHL This Week

Toronto, Ont. – Welcome back, it’s 2020! Here’s a look at what’s happening across the Ontario Hockey League this week.

HAPPY NEW YEAR – A DECADE OF OHL CHAMPIONS:
There’s lots to look back on from the past decade. The OHL spent the days leading up to New Year’s Eve recounting past champions and some of the greatest moments of the past 10 years.
WATCH • DECADE IN REVIEW

HAYTON’S PAIR PROPELS CANADA PAST SLOVAKIA IN QUARTERFINALS:
Soo Greyhounds graduate Barrett Hayton scored a pair of goals to lead Canada past Slovakia 6-1 and into the semi-finals at the 2020 World Juniors. Canada will now face off against Finland in Saturday’s semi-final game with a 1pm ET puck drop.
READ MORE

OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER:
Mississauga’s Cole Schwindt, Ottawa’s Noel Hoefenmayer, Peterborough’s Mason McTavish and Kitchener’s Jacob Ingham are OHL Top Performers for November 2019.
READ MORE

KNIGHTS’ EVANGELISTA ADDED TO KUBOTA CHL/NHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME:
London Knights forward Luke Evangelista has been added to the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He’ll replace injured Oshawa Generals forward Oliver Suni. Evangelista has 33 points (14-19–33) over 35 games with the Knights this season after being the club’s first round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.
READ MORE

ROOKIE PHENOM WRIGHT TAKING THE LEAD IN KINGSTON:
At 15-years-old, Kingston Frontenacs rookie star Shane Wright has been entrusted with an ‘A’ on his jersey. The OHL’s Sarah Jean Maher caught up with Wright and his Frontenacs teammates this past week.
READ MORE

67’s, PETES AND STORM IN KIA CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:
The Ottawa 67’s remain the second-ranked team in the CHL this week while the Peterborough Petes and Guelph Storm are also inside the Top 10. The Windsor Spitfires and Saginaw Spirit both received honourable mentions.
FULL RANKINGS

KIA CHL TOP 10 SPOTLIGHT – SAGINAW SPIRIT:
As the season enters its second half, the Saginaw Spirit are recognized as an honourable mention in the latest Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings. The Spirit are currently riding a six-game winning streak and sit tied atop the West Division.
READ MORE

67’s’ GARREFFA NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Joseph Garreffa of the Ottawa 67’s is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week of games spanning December 18-29 with 10 points over three contests.
READ MORE

GARREFFA, HOEFENMAYER AND SCHWINDT NAMED TO VAUGHN CHL TEAM OF THE WEEK:
Ottawa 67’s teammates Joseph Garreffa and Noel Hoefenmayer join Mississauga Steelheads forward Cole Schwindt on the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week.
READ MORE

VAUGHN SAVES OF THE WEEK – JAN. 1, 2020:
The first 2020 edition of Vaughn Saves will have you coming back for more! Check out big stops from the Oshawa Generals duo of Zachary Paputsakis and Andrew MacLean, Hamilton’s Zachary Roy, Sault Ste. Marie’s Bailey Brkin, Peterborough’s Hunter Jones, Barrie’s Jet Greaves, Ottawa’s Cedrick Andree, Windsor’s Xavier Medina and Kitchener’s Jacob Ingham.
WATCH

OHL WEEKEND NOTEBOOK: DEC. 30, 2019:
The OHL Weekend Notebook recaps the weekend that was with news, information and interesting facts from both on and off the ice. Here are 10 of the leading stories from this past weekend.
READ MORE

CHROMIAK, MCGURN SCORE FIRST OHL GOALS:
The latest instalment of OHL Milestone Moments features two young forwards who scored their first OHL goals this past week. Kingston Frontenacs forward Martin Chromiak scored in his OHL debut on Thursday after London’s Sean McGurn found the back of the net on New Year’s Eve.
WATCH

SPIRIT’S DUHART REPRESENTS OHL IN CHL SHOWDOWN:
Saginaw Spirit forward Dalton Duhart is this week’s OHL representative in CHL Showdown, a weekly contest that features one great play from all three leagues.
WATCH & VOTE AT CHLSHOWDOWN.CA

#PLAYERSFIRST – HOLISTIC APPROACH TO PLAYER DEVELOPMENT:
The OHL’s holistic approach to player development allows it to produce great hockey players as well as well-rounded young men. The League and its member teams strive to develop the whole person through education, awareness and community involvement.
FACT OF THE WEEK • ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR MINOR MIDGET TOP-10 RANKINGS:
The Quinte Red Devils remain on top of the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Minor Midget Top-10 Rankings after finishing in the final four of last weekend’s Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic. The Toronto Titans, Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and Toronto Nationals are also on the rise inside the Top-5.
FULL RANKINGS

67’s EARN FRANCHISE RECORD 15TH CONSECUTIVE WIN:
The Ottawa 67’s set a new franchise record on Thursday, defeating the Kingston Frontenacs 8-4 for their 15th consecutive win. Ottawa’s 15-game winning streak surpasses the franchise’s prior mark set during the 1998-99 season.
READ MORE

STORM’S PHILLIPS RETURNS FROM KINGS ORGANIZATION:
The Los Angeles Kings have reassigned overage defenceman Markus Phillips back to the Guelph Storm where he won an OHL Championship last spring. The 20-year-old defenceman has spent the majority of this season with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, recording six assists over 20 games.
READ MORE

67’s’ OKHOTYUK SIGNS WITH DEVILS:
The New Jersey Devils have signed Ottawa 67’s defenceman Nikita Okhtoyuk to a three-year entry level NHL contract. The 19-year-old defenceman has six assists in an injury-shortened 12 game season to this point after being New Jersey’s second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-1 defenceman recorded 17 points (2-15–17) with the 67’s last season.
READ MORE

ATTACK’S DUDAS SIGNS WITH KINGS:
The Los Angeles Kings have signed Owen Sound Attack captain Aidan Dudas to a three-year entry level NHL contract. The Owen Sound Attack captain is currently representing Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Parry Sound, Ont. native has 30 points (11-19–30) in Owen Sound this season.
READ MORE

TOP CHL IMPORT DRAFT SELECTION MARTIN CHROMIAK COMMITS TO FRONTENACS:
The Kingston Frontenacs have received a commitment from 2019 second overall CHL Import Draft selection Martin Chromiak. Chromiak spent the beginning of this season with HK Dukla Trencin of the Slovakian Tipsport Liga. While playing against men in a professional league he scored five goals and an assist in 32 games.
READ MORE

5 QUESTIONS WITH JAMIE DRYSDALE:
Defenceman Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters shares his thoughts about being named to Canada’s National Junior Team and playing in his NHL Draft season.
READ MORE

HOW OWEN BRADY’S CANCER DIAGNOSIS DIDN’T STOP HIS NHL DREAM:
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman spoke with Oshawa Generals prospect Owen Brady as part of the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour’s coverage this past weekend in Whitby, Ont. Friedman chats with Brady about his journey through an osteosarcoma diagnosis followed by a brave fight and current recovery as he looks to make a return to the ice.
WATCH AT SPORTSNET.CA

ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR VISITS COBOURG:
The Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour shifts to Cobourg, Ont. this weekend after last weekend’s stop in Whitby covered such stars as OHL graduate James Neal. Cobourg is the home of OHL graduate and three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams. Visit hometownhockey.com for all of this weekend’s coverage.

COMMUNITY CORNER:

Quinton Byfield Bobblehead Night in Sudbury: He won’t be in the lineup, but there’ll be plenty of his bobbleheads at the Sudbury Community Arena on Friday as the Wolves host Quinton Byfield Bobblehead Night at home to the Barrie Colts. The first 1,000 fans into the arena on Friday will received a free Quinton Byfield Bobblehead!
READ MORE AT SUDBURYWOLVES.COM

Firebirds Fight Hunger: The Flint Firebirds have partnered with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for the team’s fifth annual “Firebirds Fight Hunger” campaign. Fans are encouraged to bring in a minimum of five non-perishable food items to be donated during Friday’s game against the visiting Oshawa Generals, as well as Saturday’s tilt against the London Knights.
MORE DETAILS AT FLINTFIREBIRDS.COM

Storm presents “Angels in the Stands”: As the Storm host the Peterborough Petes on Friday, January 3rd, they’ll be presenting their first annual “Angels in the Stands” game in support of Michael House. Michael House provides pregnancy and parenting support services to pregnant and parenting women in the community. There will be contests held and “Holiday Hoopla” Fan Bags containing Guelph Storm baseball caps and other fun items available for purchase. All donations will go toward Michael House.
READ MORE AT GUELPHSTORM.COM

Ted Lindsay Night in Saginaw: The Saginaw Spirit pay homage to a Detroit Red Wings all-time great on Saturday on Ted Lindsay Night at the Dow Event Center. Fans will have the opportunity to have their photo taken alongside the Ted Lindsay MVP Trophy in the Red Room prior to game time.
FULL DETAILS AT SAGINAWSPIRIT.COM

67’s host Teddy Bear Toss: Sunday’s tilt against the visiting Erie Otters is the Ottawa 67’s Teddy Bear Toss game, where fans are welcome to bring new or gently used stuffed animals to be launched onto the ice following the first Ottawa goal, where they will then be collected and later donated. Bears will also be available for purchase.
MORE INFO AT OTTAWA67s.COM

Isaac Nurse Bobblehead Night in Hamilton: The first 1000 fans to arrive for Sunday’s matchup between the host Hamilton Bulldogs and the Niagara IceDogs will receive an exclusive Isaac Nurse Bobblehead, one of three different bobbleheads available at Bulldogs games this season.

ALUMNI NOTES:

3 OHL grads win Spengler Cup with Canada: Three OHL graduates are Spengler Cup champions after representing Canada at the annual clash in Davos, Switzerland. Canada returned to the top of the podium after settling for second place last year, winning their 16th event title and fourth in the past five years. OHL graduates Brendan Burke (Univ. of Alberta/London Knights), Dustin Jeffrey (Lausanne HC/Soo Greyhounds) and Mathew Maione (Dinamo Riga/Niagara IceDogs) were part of the Canadian squad.

Stephens scores first NHL goal: Former Saginaw Spirit and London Knights forward Mitchell Stephens scored his first career NHL goal on Saturday. The 22-year-old helped the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4, scoring in his eighth career contest. A second round pick of the Lightning in the 2015 NHL Draft, Stephens had registered 10 points (5-5–10) in 24 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch to start the season and now has a goal through 11 contests with the Lightning. Stephens played in the OHL from 2013-17, spending three and a half seasons in Saginaw before finishing his career in London. The Peterborough, Ont. native put up 160 points (73-87–160) over 209 career regular season contests.

Marchment makes NHL debut: Mississauga Steelheads graduate Mason Marchment made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The 24-year-old from Uxbridge, Ont. was called up by the Leafs earlier this week after recording four points (2-2–4) in 11 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies to start the season. Marchment, who was a Calder Cup champion with the Marlies in 2018, played two OHL seasons between Erie, Hamilton and Mississauga from 2014-16. He is the son of OHL graduate and long-time NHL defenceman Bryan Marchment.

Smith makes NHL debut: It was a long time coming for Dalton Smith, but the Ottawa 67’s graduate made his NHL debut at 27-years-old on New Year’s Eve as the Buffalo Sabres fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4. Smith, who has spent parts of eight seasons in the minors since graduating from the 67’s in 2011-12, was sent back to the the AHL’s Rochester Americans following the game, but will always have the memory of his first NHL contest. The 6-foot-2, 217Ib. winger spent four seasons in Ottawa from 2008-12, recording 105 points (50-55–105) over 196 career regular season contests. He was a second round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010.

11 OHL grads named to AHL All-Star rosters: A total of 11 OHL grads have been named to AHL All-Star Game rosters including Andrew Aggozzino (WBS Penguins/Niagara IceDogs), Reid Boucher (Utica Comets/Sarnia Sting), Kyle Capobianco (Tucson Roadrunners/Sudbury Wolves), Morgan Frost (Lehigh Valley Phantoms/Soo Greyhounds), Joey Keane (Hartford Wolf Pack/London Knights), Rasmus Sandin (Toronto Marlies/Soo Greyhounds), Michael Sgarbossa (Hershey Bears/Sudbury Wolves), Anthony Stolarz (San Diego Gulls/London Knights), Jack Studnicka (Providence Bruins/Niagara IceDogs), Chris Terry (Grand Rapids Griffins/Plymouth Whalers), Owen Tippett (Springfield Thunderbirds/Saginaw Spirit). Former OHL coaches behind the bench will include Kris Knoblauch (Hartford Wolf Pack/Erie Otters) and Jay Varady (Tucson Roadrunners/Kingston Frontenacs) as well as OHL playing graduate Chris Taylor (Rochester Americans/London Knights). The 2020 AHL All-Star Classic is set for January 26-27 in Ontario, California.
READ MORE AT THEAHL.COM

Dansk named AHL Goaltender of the Month: Erie Otters graduate Oscar Dansk is the AHL Goaltender of the Month for December, going 7-0 with a 1.57 goals-against average and .943 save percentage with the Chicago Wolves, top affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights. Dansk is 11-6 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .903 save percentage in Chicago this season. The 25-year-old played two seasons in Erie from 2012-14, going 40-32-4-3 with a 3.25 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He was a second round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012.

Timmins’ game continuing to come around: Soo Greyhounds graduate Conor Timmins has battled injury since graduating from the OHL in 2018. The 21-year-old Colorado Avalanche prospect is finding success in 2019-20 though, recording 13 points (3-10–13) in 22 games with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. TheAHL.com’s Demitri Herrera takes a closer look at where Timmins fits into Colorado’s plans as he continues to develop in their farm system.
READ MORE AT THEAHL.COM

Parsons named ECHL Goaltender of the Week: London Knights graduate Tyler Parsons is the ECHL Goaltender of the Week, going 2-0 with a shutout and a 1.00 goals-against average for the Kansas City Mavericks. The 22-year-old is 6-3 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 10 games with Kansas City this season. The Chesterfield, Mich. native is a Calgary Flames prospect who was selected in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Parsons, who won a Memorial Cup with London in 2016, played three OHL seasons with the Knights from 2014-17, going 75-25-4-6 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

Maletta makes return to ice with Brock Badgers: It’s been a long road back for OHL graduate Jordan Maletta, but the 24-year-old, who once signed a three-year entry level deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has returned to the ice with the Brock Badgers Men’s Hockey program. Maletta suits up under former Niagara IceDogs head coach Marty Williamson in St. Catharines after missing out on the entire 2018-19 season. The 6-foot-3, 215Ib. centreman played two pro seasons in the Columbus organization before being sidelined with an injury. The former first round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection played five OHL seasons between Windsor and Niagara, recording 191 points (82-109–191) over 314 regular season games.

KEY MATCHUPS:

Peterborough Petes at Guelph Storm
Friday, January 3rd

Coming off a 5-0 loss, their third defeat in four games since returning from the holiday break, and trailing two points behind the league-leading Ottawa 67’s, the Peterborough Petes will be as hungry as ever for victory when they head to Guelph Friday evening for their second game of the New Year.

This will be the second meeting of the two clubs, with Guelph having claimed victory in their first tilt just recently on Dec. 28 by a 3-2 OT tally. Former Pete Pavel Gogolev notched the overtime winner against his previous team just 12 seconds in.

Rookie Mason McTavish continues to impress, skating in with 32 points to his name through just as many games atop the rookie scoring list. He netted his first career hat trick and career-high five point showing last weekend in his club’s 7-3 trampling over the Niagara IceDogs.

Guelph skates into the match having won six of their last 10 games. Gogolev leads the team with 57 points (27-30-57) and goals in his last nine games. He’s followed by Montreal draft pick Cam Hillis and then Eric Uba, who’s picked up seven points (2-5-7) in his last four games.

Saginaw Spirit at Kitchener Rangers
Friday, January 3rd

Two must-see Western Conference teams in Saginaw and Kitchener will go head-to-head on Friday evening at the Aud, looking to build on their win streaks and kick off the New Year in the win column.

The Rangers have won 11 of their last 12 games and are heading into Friday’s tilt on a three-game win skid that has seen multi-point performances from their leading trio of Riley Damiani, Jonathan Yantsis, and Greg Meireles. In fact, Meireles, a sixth round draft pick of the Florida Panthers last June, has picked up points in his last seven games. Jacob Ingham has continued to stand tall between the pipes with 11 wins in his last 13 starts and two shutouts within the last month.

Saginaw rolls in with six straight wins under their belt. In the absence of many of the league’s top scorers to their respective World Junior squads, top NHL Draft hopeful Cole Perfetti has seamlessly continued to soar among the league’s point leaders, heading into Friday’s game with an eighth-best 55 (20-35-55) to his name. He’s amassed points in his last five games.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE:

Friday January 3rd:
Oshawa at Flint – 7:00pm
Erie at Kingston – 7:00pm
Owen Sound at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Barrie at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Windsor at Soo – 7:07pm
Peterborough at Guelph – 7:30pm
Saginaw at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Mississauga at London – 7:30pm

Saturday January 4th:
Kingston at Hamilton – 4:00pm
London at Flint – 7:00pm
Kitchener at Niagara – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Windsor at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Sarnia at Soo – 7:07pm
North Bay at Barrie – 7:30pm
Guelph at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday January 5th:
Kitchener at Guelph – 2:00pm
Niagara at Hamilton – 2:00pm
Peterborough at Mississauga – 2:00pm
Windsor at North Bay – 2:00pm
Erie at Ottawa – 2:00pm
Sarnia at Saginaw – 5:30pm