OHL ANNOUNCES ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced Academic Players of the Month for January including Jett Luchanko of the Guelph Storm, Mason Vaccari of the Kingston Frontenacs, Joey Willis of the Saginaw Spirit and Wyatt Kennedy of the North Bay Battalion.

East Division: Kingston Frontenacs rookie netminder Mason Vaccari is the OHL East Division Academic Player of the Month for January.

Vaccari is achieving an overall average of 94 percent across three university-level courses, with a 92 percent average in Financial Accounting and a 95 percent average in both Canadian Law and Advanced Functions at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School.

“Mason is as laser focused a student as he is a goalie,” said Frontenacs academic advisor Kristi LeSarge. His math teacher, Joanne Van Nest shared that “Mason has maintained his 95% in her Advanced Functions course, which is amazing considering his demanding schedule and the challenging nature of the Advanced Functions material. He is a conscientious, dedicated, mature student and an all-around nice, humble person.”

The 17-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. has played 17 games this season, recording a 3.08 goals-against-average and .908 save percentage for the Fronts. In the 2021-2022 season, Vaccari played 16 games for the OJHL’s Coburg Cougars, accumulating nine wins. The 5-foot-9, 178lb. goaltender was Kingston’s fourth round (61st overall) pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.

Central Division: North Bay Battalion defenceman Wyatt Kennedy is the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for January.

Kennedy is currently achieving academic excellence in grade 12 level courses, including high grades in Equity and Social Justice, Business Leadership and Careers at Chippewa Secondary School.

“Wyatt is described by his teachers as a kind, polite and courteous leader, who is an equally strong student,” said Battalion academic advisor Stephanie Silverthorn. “He is respected by staff, students, and his teammates. Wyatt’s approach to learning is positive and his work habits are strong. He regularly shows initiative, is conscientious and displays a principled and open-minded approach within the classroom while managing his time between the ice and school.”

The 17-year-old from Vars, Ont. has played 46 games this season, recording two goals, four assists and six points for the Battalion. The 6-foot-5, 186Ib. blueliner was selected in the third round (50th overall) by North Bay in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.

Midwest Division: Guelph Storm rookie forward Jett Luchanko is the OHL Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for January.

Luchanko is achieving an 85 percent average in grade 11 university-level Physics, Mathematics and English at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School.

“Jett’s ability to effectively balance the demands of his academic course load with his on-ice commitments is a direct reflection of his strong work ethic and commitment to excellence,” said Storm academic advisor Coleen Driscoll. “He is to be commended for his conscientious and dedicated approach to his studies.”

The 16-year-old from London, Ont. has played 33 games this season, recording three goals, six assists  and nine points for the Storm. The 5-foot-10, 165Ib. right-winger was selected in the first round (12th overall) by Guelph in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection from the London Jr. Knights U16 program.

West Division: Saginaw Spirit rookie forward Joey Willis is the OHL West Division Academic Player of the Month for January.

Willis is achieving an overall first semester average of 87 percent, with an 88 percent average in grade 12 English, 83 percent average in Advanced Placement Environmental Science, 88 percent average in Marketing, 81 percent average in Advanced Placement Statistics and a 93 percent average in Work Based Learning at Heritage High School.

“Joey is a very hard working student with an outstanding work ethic,” said Saginaw’s academic advisor Pamela Moretuzzo. “He is scholastically gifted and very dedicated to his studies. Joey is a strong-willed and driven individual. He commits a great deal of time in and out of school to be successful in his academics, as he is currently taking two Advanced Placements courses and often attends additional study sessions outside of his class hours to improve his understanding of the course material.  He is a well-rounded, conscientious individual.”

“Joey is also committed to improving his hockey skills as a member of the Saginaw Spirit team. As a rookie, he is currently second in scoring for first year players,” Moretuzzo continued. “Joey welcomes hockey, academic, and personal challenges and works diligently to accomplish his goals. He has outstanding sportsmanship and a positive attitude both on and off of the ice.”

The 17-year-old from Elmhurst, Ill. has played 45 games this season, recording nine goals, 17 assists and 26 points for the Spirit. The 5-foot-10, 170Ib. centreman was selected in the fourth round (79th overall) by Saginaw in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.

2022-23 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

East Division:
January – Mason Vaccari (Kingston Frontenacs)
December – Callum Cheynowski (Hamilton Bulldogs)
November – James Guo (Peterborough Petes)
October – Brad Gardiner (Ottawa 67’s)

Central Division:
January – Wyatt Kennedy (North Bay Battalion)
December – Grayson Tiller (Barrie Colts)
November – Finn Harding (Mississauga Steelheads)
October – Kieron Walton (Sudbury Wolves)

Midwest Division:
January – Jett Luchanko (Guelph Storm)
December – Nathan Sauder (Erie Otters)
November – Braedyn Rogers (Owen Sound Attack)
October – Denver Barkey (London Knights)

West Division:
January – Joey Willis (Saginaw Spirit)
December – Tristan Bertucci (Flint Firebirds)
November – Bronson Ride (Windsor Spitfires)
October – Alex Kostov (Soo Greyhounds)

The OHL continues to produce student-athletes that move on to both professional and U SPORTS men’s hockey endeavors.

A total of 349 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2021-22 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3.5 million. Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totaled more than $25 million.

A total of 217 OHL Alumni were included on U SPORTS men’s hockey rosters to open the 2022-23 season.

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.

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HARDIE AND VACCARI NAMED OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced Top Performers of the Week for the week of regular season games ending Sunday, January 22, 2023.



Steelheads’ James Hardie Named Cogeco OHL Player of the Week

James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads is the Cogeco OHL Player of the Week, recording two goals, eight assists and 10 points in four games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-4.

Helping guide the Steelheads to a 3-1 showing last week, Hardie got things started with Mississauga’s lone goal in a 2-1 road loss to the Erie Otters on Monday. The Steelheads bounced back on Thursday with a 6-2 win over the Niagara IceDogs as Hardie put together the first of two consecutive four-assist outings. He registered another four assists on Friday, helping linemate Zander Veccia score his first OHL hat trick as the Steelheads defeated the Central Division-leading North Bay Battalion 5-4. Hardie contributed another goal on Sunday as the Steelheads closed out the weekend with a 5-4 win over the IceDogs on home ice. Currently riding a 10-game point streak, seven of Hardie’s eight assists last week were primary helpers.

A 21-year-old native of Innisfil, Ont., Hardie currently sits eighth in OHL points with 57 (28-29–57) through 41 games this season. His 181 shots on goal are the fourth-highest total in the League. Mississauga’s fist round (8th overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection is the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer (118) and point producer (219) in his 230 career regular season contests. Hardie attended rookie camp with the Boston Bruins last September.

Also given consideration for the award this week were Steelheads teammate Zander Veccia who recorded five goals, four assists and nine points in four games. Edmonton Oilers prospect Matvey Petrov of the North Bay Battalion was also a standout, recording five goals and two assists over three outings.

2022-23 Cogeco OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan. 16 – Jan. 22: James Hardie (Mississauga Steelheads)
Jan. 9 – Jan. 15: Colby Barlow (Owen Sound Attack)
Jan. 2 – Jan. 8: Bryce McConnell-Barker (Soo Greyhounds)
Dec. 26 – Jan. 1: Connor Lockhart (Peterborough Petes)
Dec. 12 – Dec. 18: Evan Vierling (Barrie Colts)
Dec. 5 – Dec. 11: Ryan Gagnier (Oshawa Generals)
Nov. 28 – Dec. 4: Quentin Musty (Sudbury Wolves)
Nov. 21 – Nov. 27: Jorian Donovan (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Nov. 14 – Nov. 20: Matthew Poitras (Guelph Storm)
Nov. 7 – Nov. 13: Brody Crane (London Knights)
Oct. 31 – Nov. 6: Matvey Petrov (North Bay Battalion)
Oct. 24 – Oct. 30: Deni Goure (Owen Sound Attack)
Oct. 17 – Oct. 23: Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 10 – Oct. 16: Matthew Maggio (Windsor Spitfires)
Oct. 3 – Oct. 9: Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit)
Sept. 29 – Oct. 2: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
 



Frontenacs’ Mason Vaccari Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Mason Vaccari of the Kingston Frontenacs is the OHL Goaltender of the Week, going 2-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.

Vaccari backstopped the Frontenacs to back-to-back road wins, starting with a 45-save effort on Monday in Peterborough to earn third star recognition as the Frontenacs defeated the Petes 2-1. The rookie netminder was excellent again on Saturday, making 25 saves in a 6-2 victory over the Niagara IceDogs. Vaccari saw relief duty on Sunday afternoon in Guelph, stopping eight of nine shots as the Frontenacs fell 6-2 to the Storm.

An 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., Vaccari owns a 9-6-0-0 record with a 3.22 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in his first 16 games with the Frontenacs this season. The 5-foot-9, 178Ib. netminder spent last season with the OJHL’s Cobourg Cougars, going 9-7-0 with a 3.85 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in 16 games. Vaccari was Kingston’s fourth round (61st overall) pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection from the Vaughan Kings U16 program.

Kitchener Rangers netminder Marco Costantini was also given consideration for the award, recording two wins, a 2.00 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in victories over Ottawa and London last week.

2022-23 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan 16 – Jan. 22: Mason Vaccari (Kingston Frontenacs)
Jan 9. – Jan. 15: Matteo Drobac (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Jan. 2 – Jan. 8: Max Donoso (Ottawa 67’s)
Dec. 26 – Jan. 1: Michael Simpson (Peterborough Petes)
Dec. 12 – Dec. 18: Marco Costantini (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 5 – Dec. 11: Owen Flores (Niagara IceDogs)
Nov. 28 – Dec. 4: Dom DiVincentiis (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 21 – Nov. 27: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Nov. 14 – Nov. 20: Michael Simpson (Peterborough Petes)
Nov. 7 – Nov. 13: Joe Ranger (Sudbury Wolves)
Oct. 31 – Nov. 6: Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit)
Oct. 24 – Oct. 30: Carter George (Owen Sound Attack)
Oct. 17 – Oct. 23: Collin MacKenzie (Ottawa 67’s)
Oct. 10 – Oct. 16: Ivan Zhigalov (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 3 – Oct. 9: Alessio Beglieri (Mississauga Steelheads)
Sept. 29 – Oct. 2: Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)


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.

OHL Writers Draft Eligible Player of the Month for October

Ryan Abraham of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Because COVID cancelled the entire 2020-2021 season meaning a large number of Ontario Hockey League players were about to go into the 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft as draft re-entries, we did things a little differently here at OHL Writers.

In years past, we always name our Draft Eligible Player of the Month. But because of the sheer number of players eligible last season, we decided that would name a draft eligible forward, defencemen and goaltender. Many of you had written to us to let us know you preferred it that way and asking us to keep it the same going forward. So, here we are doing just that!

Of course, this is the first full month of the season, so this is our first list of the season. Here we go:

Draft Eligible Forward of the Month: Ryan Abraham – Windsor Spitfires

Windsor Spitfires center Ryan Abraham is a draft re-entry who had a phenomenal month of October. His 18 points in 12 games (6 goals, 12 helpers) led all draft eligible players and third best in the OHL. The 5’8”, 168-pound pivot had 6 multi point games, including 5-consecutive to close out the month. His 58.2% in the faceoff circle was second among draft eligible players.

Also considered was Saginaw Spirit forward Calem Mongone. Through 13 games, Mongone has 4 goals and 12 assists. His 16 points ranks him third among Spirit players in scoring and second among draft eligible players.

Draft Eligible Defenceman of the Month: Hunter Brzustewicz – Kitchener Rangers

On defence we chose none other than Hunter Brzustewicz of the Kitchener Rangers. Despite not scoring a goal, his prowess with setting up his teammates set him apart with 13 points (all assists of course) in just 11 games. That’s tops for draft eligible defencemen and third in the entire league among all defencemen. The 6-foot 188-pound blueliner is second in scoring on his squad as well.

Also considered was Chas Sharpe of the Mississauga Steelheads. Sharpe had 2 goals and 9 assists in 12 games in October and trails only Brzustewicz in points among draft eligible defencemen.

Draft Eligible Goaltender of the Month: Collin MacKenzie – Ottawa 67’s

This was not an easy choice, but we chose Collin MacKenzie because he has a perfect 4-0-0 record and led all draft eligible goaltenders with a 1.36 goals-against-average and .942 save percentage. I will agree playing on an Ottawa team that looks unbeatable for now has helped in terms of number of pucks he has faced and the quality of shots, he has also looked the part.

Also considered was Mason Vaccari of the Kingston Frontenacs who posted a 3-0-0 record to go along with a 2.00 goals-against-average and .935 save percentage.

24 OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO HOCKEY CANADA UNDER-17 ROSTER FOR INAUGURAL CAPITAL CITY CHALLENGE

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to congratulate 24 OHL players named by Hockey Canada to the Under-17 roster set to participate at the inaugural Capital City Challenge, a four-team tournament featuring three men’s under-17 teams and Canada’s National Women’s Team to take place November 26 to December 1 at TD Place in Ottawa.

The 66 players named to compete in the event will be divided into three teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red and Team Canada White – and will compete against Canada’s National Women’s Team as part of its centralization schedule. The rosters for Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red and Team Canada White will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The under-17 roster was selected by Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), senior vice-president of hockey operations, Alan Millar (Tottenham, Ont.), director of player personnel, and Byron Bonora (Brooks, Alta.), head scout for the U17 program. U17 Program of Excellence management group lead Philippe Boucher (Saint-Apollinaire, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) and manager of hockey operations Benoit Roy (Sudbury, Ont.), as well as regional scouts Pierre Cholette (Quebec), Rob Simpson (Ontario), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic) and Darrell Woodley (Ontario), also provided input with support from Hockey Canada’s 13 Members.

“We are excited to unveil the 66 players that will suit up for our three men’s under-17 teams at the Capital City Challenge and have the unique opportunity to compete against Canada’s National Women’s Team in Ottawa,” said Salmond. “Although this has not been a traditional year for our Program of Excellence and the under-17 group, we are excited to introduce these athletes to an event that replicates short-term, international competition.”

In addition to the 24 OHL players selected, a total of nine OHL hockey operations personnel have been named to the staffs of the three Canadian squads including Team Red director of operations Kyle Raftis (Soo Greyhounds), Team White head coach Rob Wilson (Peterborough Petes), assistant Chad Wiseman (Guelph Storm) and Team Black assistant coach Jordan Smith (Soo Greyhounds).

24 OHL Players Named to 2021 Capital City Challenge:

*player committed to Ontario Hockey League club

Goaltenders (3):
Joseph Costanzo (Niagara IceDogs)
Nathaniel Day (Flint Firebirds)
Mason Vaccari (Kingston Frontenacs)*

Defencemen (6):
Beau Akey (Barrie Colts)
Cam Allen (Guelph Storm)
Tristan Bertucci (Flint Firebirds)
Oliver Bonk (London Knights)*
Alexis Daviault (Sarnia Sting)
Olivier Savard (Saginaw Spirit

Forwards (15):
Denver Barkey (London Knights)
Chris Barlas (Ottawa 67’s)
Colby Barlow (Owen Sound Attack)
Easton Cowan (London Knights)*
Nick Lardis (Peterborough Petes)
Luke McNamara (Saginaw Spirit)
Ethan Miedema (Windsor Spitfires)
Luke Misa (Mississauga Steelheads)
Owen Outwater (North Bay Battalion)
Alex Pharand (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Luca Pinelli (Ottawa 67’s)
Carson Rehkopf (Kitchener Rangers)
Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Matthew Soto (Kingston Frontenacs)
Carey Terrance (Erie Otters)

Team Staff (Canada Black):
Assistant Coach – Jordan Smith (Soo Greyhounds)
Athletic Therapist – Marie-Pierre Néron (Ottawa 67’s)

Team Staff (Canada Red):
Director of Operations – Kyle Raftis (Soo Greyhounds)
Goaltending Coach – Franky Palazzese (Sarnia Sting)
Video Coach – Nick Biamonte (Guelph Storm)
Equipment Manager – Spencer Stehouwer (Sarnia Sting)
Team Physician – Dr. Wanda Millard (London Knights)

Team Staff (Canada White):
Head Coach – Rob Wilson (Peterborough Petes)
Assistant Coach – Chad Wiseman (Guelph Storm)

The Capital City Challenge opens on Nov. 26 at TD Place Arena, home of the Ottawa 67’s. Canada’s centralization roster will face Team Canada White in the tournament opener at 12 p.m. ET, followed by Team Canada Black taking on Team Canada Red at 7 p.m. ET.

Full-event ticket packages can be purchased for $80 (plus applicable fees) starting Monday, Nov. 8, while single-game tickets will be available starting as low as $5 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Capital City Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and by using #OurGameIsBack.


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.