OHL WRITERS’ DRAFT ELGIBLE PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2021

The Ontario Hockey League had to postpone more games than anyone wanted to see in December due to the COVID-19 Protocols, but there were some pretty good performances that should not be ignored.

Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

In previous season, I looked for one performance that I would feel comfortable saying that player was the Player of the Month. But because of the lost season one year ago and the number of players re-entering the NHL Entry Draft in 2022, I decided for this year to select one forward, one defenceman and one goaltender. Here we go.

Up front, It’s Mississauga Steelheads forward Luca DelBelBelluz who scored 4 goals and 9 assists in 9 contests in the month of December and a whopping 31 shots on goal. He had 4 multi point games including a four-assist night against North Bay on December 29 and he was held off the scoresheet in just two contests.

DelBelBelluz now has 15 goals and 21 assists on the season and sits second in points on the Steelheads just two points behind James Hardie. Among draft eligible players, he is third in points, tied for third in goals and second in assists and easily leads all draft eligible players in plus/minus with a plus-27.

Also considered were a pair of Hamilton Bulldogs. Avery Hayes had 6 goals and 7 assists in 9 games while Ryan Humphrey had 3 goals and 8 assists in 9 games. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs had 3 goals and 7 assists but played in just 4 games because of the World Junior Championships and the Fronts being in COVID protocol.

On the blueline I could have gone a number of different ways but settled on Kirill Kudryavtsev of the Soo Greyhounds. The 5’11, 200-pound Russian scored once and added 6 assists in 7 games for the Greyhounds raising his totals to 2 goals and 16 assists in 28 games on the season.

I gave the nod to Kudryavtsev because I liked his all-around game. He was kept off the scoresheet in 2 of those 7 games, but the Greyhounds were 0-1-1 in those games. In the 5 games he registered a point? 4-0-1. He is an important player on the Greyhounds blueline as a rookie.

Also considered were Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov with 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, Samuel Mayer of the Peterborough Petes with 3 goals and 3 assists in 7 games, Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion with 8 assists in 9 games and Rodwin Dionicio of the Niagara IceDogs with a goal and 5 assists in 5 games.

The decision in net was the easiest and that was Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. The draft re-entry netminder simply gives the Rangers a chance every time he mans the crease. He went 4-1-1 in the month of December with a stellar .919 save-percentage.

In his only regulation loss, Cajan stopped 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires. In his only other loss – in overtime- he stopped 34 of 38 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to the Soo Greyhounds. On the season Cajan has a save-percentage of .904 – third among draft eligible goalies and a goals-against-average of 3.23 – fifth among draft eligible goalies.

Also considered was North Bay Battalion netminder Dom DiVincentiis. In 4 appearances he went 1-2-0 with a .909 save-percentage

FORWARDS

December – Luca DelBelBelluz – Mississauga Steelheads

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

December – Kirill Kudryavtsev – Soo Greyhounds

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

December – Pavel Cajan – Kitchener Rangers

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights

JOHNSTON AND MERILAINEN 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, December 5, 2021

Spitfires’ Wyatt Johnston Named OHL Player of the Week

Dallas Stars prospect Wyatt Johnston of the Windsor Spitfires is the OHL Player of the Week with nine points including two goals and seven assists in two games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-5.

Johnston extended his point streak to 14 games, helping the Spitfires collect three of a possible four points last week. He recorded three primary assists and went 14-for-17 in the faceoff circle in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Erie Otters. He followed-up with a career-high six points, scoring twice while adding four assists in a 7-5 road win over the Sarnia Sting on Friday. The six points are the most in a single game by a Spitfires player since Josh Ho-Sang put up a similar stat line on Feb. 9, 2014 against North Bay.

An 18-year-old from Toronto, Ont., Johnston leads the Spitfires with 36 points (13-23–36) over 21 games, with a current 14-game point streak dating back to Oct. 28th. The 6-foot-2, 181Ib. centre’s 1.71 points-per-game mark the fourth-highest pace in the OHL. Johnston was selected by the Dallas Stars with the 23rd overall pick of the 2021 NHL Draft. He was originally Windsor’s first round (6th overall) pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Marlboros U16 program.

Johnston becomes the first Spitfires player to earn Player of the Week honours since Aaron Luchuk last did so in October 2017.

Other players considered for the award this week include San Jose Sharks prospect Brandon Coe of the North Bay Battalion who put up seven points (3-4–7) over two victories. Coe leads the League with 46 points (14-32–46) over 24 games. Top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs was also a candidate, recording eight points (2-6–8) over three victories.

2021-22 OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Antonio Stranges (London Knights)
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)
 

Frontenacs’ Leevi Merilainen Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Ottawa Senators prospect Leevi Merilainen of the Kingston Frontenacs has been named the OHL Goaltender of the Week after he went 2-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average, a .980 save percentage and one shutout.

Merilainen stopped 48 of the 49 shots that came his way as Kingston defeated Oshawa and Ottawa on home ice to exit the weekend as the first place team in the East Division. The 6-foot-2, 160Ib. Finnish netminder stopped all 28 shots he faced on Friday for his first career OHL shutout as the Frontenacs blanked the Generals 5-0. Merilainen was solid again on Sunday, making 20 saves in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa 67’s.

A 19-year-old from Oulu, Finland, Merilainen sits tied for second in OHL wins with 12 on the season, playing to an overall record of 12-4-3-0 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He leads all netminders, stopping all 13 shootout opponents he has faced this season to help the Frontenacs win three shootouts. The first-year goaltender was a third round (71st overall) pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Draft, and signed an entry-level contract with the franchise on June 14, 2021. Merilainen was Kingston’s first round (48th overall) pick in the 2021 CHL Import Draft.

Also considered for the award this week, Flint Firebirds goaltender Ian Michelone went 2-1 across three consecutive starts, making 100 saves while posting his first career OHL shutout on Thursday. Samuel Ivanov of the Soo Greyhounds won a pair of outings, posting a 2.00 goals-against average as the Greyhounds maintained top spot in the West Division.

2021-22 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Leevi Merilainen (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Tye Austin (Peterborough Petes)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Roman Basran (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Patrick Leaver (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Jacob Oster (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Tucker Tynan (Niagara IceDogs)


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.

BASRAN AND WRIGHT 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, November 7, 2021

Frontenacs’ Shane Wright Named OHL Player of the Week

Top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs is the OHL Player of the Week, leading the League with eight points including three goals and five assists over three contests.

Wright put up three multi-point showings on home ice, beginning with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Mississauga Steelheads on Wednesday. The Frontenacs came up short again on Friday, but Wright scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season while going 20-for-32 in the faceoff circle as the North Bay Battalion took a 5-4 decision. Wright’s Frontenacs battled back into the win column on Sunday as he recorded a career-high four assists in a 6-5 overtime win against the Peterborough Petes. Wright gathered an assist on Lucas Edmonds’ OT winner, extending his current point streak to five games.

A 17-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., Wright sits third in Frontenacs scoring with 16 points (6-10–16) through 11 games. Named both OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year as an exceptional status talent in 2019-20, Wright helped guide Canada to IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship gold this past May in Frisco, Texas. He was selected by the Frontenacs with the first overall pick of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection after leading the Don Mills Flyers to an OHL Cup championship.

Wright becomes the first Frontenacs player to win the weekly honour since Brett Neumann last did so in December 2018.

Also considered for the award this week, Guelph Storm forward and reigning Player of the Month Sasha Pastujov helped his club play to a 2-1-0-0 mark, climbing to the top of OHL scoring with seven points (2-5–7) over three games. Soo Greyhounds forward Rory Kerins also recorded seven points (2-5–7) as the Hounds went 2-1-0-0 on the week.

2021-22 OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)


Steelheads’ Roman Basran Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Roman Basran of the Mississauga Steelheads is the OHL Goaltender of the Week with three wins, a 0.97 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and his first career OHL shutout.

Basran backstopped the Steelheads to a perfect 3-0 week on the ice, first turning aside 18 shots in a 3-2 overtime road win over the Kingston Frontenacs on Wednesday. He provided a clean sheet on Friday, making 20 saves for his first OHL shutout as the Trout beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-0 on home ice. Basran wrapped up the weekend on Sunday, making 21 saves in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Niagara IceDogs.

A 20-year-old product of Vancouver, BC, Basran was acquired by the Steelheads via OHL entry waivers on October 4. He played four seasons with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, going 52-41-7-4 with a 2.90 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and five shutouts after originally being selected in the third round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. The 6-foot-2, 192Ib. netminder represented Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, BC. Basran owns the League’s second-lowest goals-against average of 2.37, going 5-3-0-0 with an .894 save percentage with the Steelheads so far this season.

Other goaltenders considered for the award this week include Xavier Medina of the Windsor Spitfires who went 2-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. London Knights goaltender Brett Brochu also played well, going 1-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.

2021-22 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Roman Basran (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Patrick Leaver (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Jacob Oster (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Tucker Tynan (Niagara IceDogs)


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.

13 OHL PLAYERS CAPTURE U18 WORLDS GOLD AS CANADA DEFEATS RUSSIA 5-3

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to congratulate 13 OHL players who will return from the Lone Star State with gold medals after defeating Russia by a score of 5-3 in the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship gold medal game on Thursday in Frisco, Texas.

Kingston Frontenacs star Shane Wright found the back of the net twice as Canada’s National Under-18 Team completed a perfect 7-0 tournament, outscoring opponents 51-12 in the process to claim their first U18 Worlds gold since 2013.

“It means the world to this country, to the guys in our dressing room, all of the coaches and all of the staff,” said Wright after the win. “Just the effort we put in, how hard everyone has worked since day one. I couldn’t be prouder of the work everyone has put in and all the sacrifices that have been made.”

Russia presented a new challenge to Canada in the early going, with tournament scoring leader Matvei Michkov netting his 12th of the U18 Worlds 5:13 in, marking the first time Canada had surrendered the first goal in the event.

“We had scored first every single time, which is a great thing, but we knew it was going to happen,” said Canadian coach Dave Barr, who was OHL Coach of the Year with the Guelph Storm in 2006. “We talked about it in the first intermission about playing from behind and how we aren’t going to change the way we play the game. We just did what we needed to do to work our way back into the game.”

Just over a minute after a denied penalty shot, exceptional talent Connor Bedard (Regina Pats) beat Sergei Ivanov on the backhand with 4:01 remaining in the first to tie things up as Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves) picked up a secondary assist. Russia quickly responded with a goal from Dmitri Buchelnikov before Wright ripped home a wrist shot on the power play to make it 2-2 after one.

A shot from a tight angle off the stick of Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds) put Canada in the lead 3-2 off a feed from Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads) 4:42 into the second. Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers) delivered a wrist shot to double the Canadian lead near the period’s end as Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts) and Wright pitched in with assists.

Following a scoreless nine minutes to start the third, Vladimir Grudinin brought Russia back within one on the power play. Wright ultimately struck on the empty net with 40 seconds remaining off an impressive pass from Bedard to seal an undefeated tournament for Team Canada. With his ninth goal, Wright surpassed Connor McDavid‘s 2013 mark of eight to set a Canadian record at the U18 Worlds.

Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting) amassed 31 saves in net to improve to 5-0 for Canada as the shots ended an even 34-34.

“It was really exciting, the last minute felt about as long as the entire game,” said Gaudreau after the buzzer. “Once Shaner (Wright) put the icing on the cake there with 40 seconds left it really set in. The feelings can’t really be described. I couldn’t have done this with a better group of guys.”

Wright finished the tournament tied for second in scoring with fellow exceptional status forward Bedard, racking up 14 points (9-5–14) in just five games, two back of tournament-leader Michkov of Russia who wound up with 16 points.

Brandt Clarke finished tied for second in tournament scoring by defencemen with seven points (2-5–7) in as many games, being named to the event’s media all-star team.

Between the pipes, Gaudreau paced all goaltenders with five wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and .919 save percentage over five games to be recognized as the tournament’s top goaltender by the IIHF directorate.

“I have had a great time coaching this team,” said Barr. “It was a lot of fun to be able to bring the gold medal back to Canada, and I was very fortunate to have two great assistant coaches in Mike Stothers and Gordie Dwyer. Ultimately you are trying to win the gold medal and you never know how a game like tonight’s is going to go, but we focused on what we were able to control and that gave us a great chance to win.”

Since 2002, Canada has won four gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021), in addition to one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).

13 OHL players winning gold with Canada at the U18 Worlds:

Goaltender:
Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)

Defence:
Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts), Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads), Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s)

Forwards:
Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals), Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires), Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes), Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds), Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers), Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves), Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs), Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs), Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm)

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.

13 OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO CANADA’S NATIONAL MEN’S UNDER-18 TEAM

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to recognize 13 OHL players named to Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team that will compete in the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship set to take place from April 26 to May 6 in Frisco and Plano, Texas.

The 13 OHL players are part of a 25-man Canadian roster consisting of three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards to be coached by former OHL Coach of the Year Dave Barr (Guelph Storm, 2003-08) along with assistant Mike Stothers (Owen Sound Attack, 2002-07).

The Canadian roster was assembled by Hockey Canada director of player personnel Alan Millar along with manager of national teams Benoit Roy.

OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO CANADA’S NATIONAL UNDER-18 TEAM:

Goaltender: Benjamin Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)

Defence: Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts), Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads), Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s)

Forwards: Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals), Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires), Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes), Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds), Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers), Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves), Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs), Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs), Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm)

“We are excited to announce the 25 players that have been selected to wear the Maple Leaf at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship. Despite a difficult year for our players and staff, we are confident this group will represent our country with pride while giving us a chance to compete for a gold medal in Texas,” said Millar. “We are also pleased to have Dave (Barr), Mike (Stothers) and Gordie (Dwyer) as a part of our coaching staff, and to welcome a number of excellent support staff who bring unique skills to our team. We know the extensive experience of our coaching staff and the dedication of our support staff will greatly benefit our team at the world championship.”

Barr most recently served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks (2017-19). Prior to joining the Sharks, he was an associate coach with the Florida Panthers (2016-17), as well as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres (2015-16), New Jersey Devils (2011-15), Minnesota Wild (2009-11) and Colorado Avalanche (2008-09). Barr spent five seasons (2003-08) as the general manager and head coach of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), leading the Storm to an OHL championship in 2004. He also held various positions with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL) and International Hockey League (IHL) from 1997-2003, including assistant coach, head coach, director of hockey operations, vice-president, general manager and president. He has represented Canada once as a head coach, leading Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Dwyerwas the head coach of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season. Prior to joining the Cataractes, he spent two seasons as head coach of Dinamo Minsk (2017-19) and two seasons as head coach of Medvescak Zagreb (2015-17) of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), as well as part of one season as head coach of HC Ambrì-Piotta (2016-17) of National League A (NLA). Dwyer also served two seasons as head coach of the Charlottetown Islanders (2013-15) and two seasons as head coach of the Prince Edward Island Rocket (2011-13) of the QMJHL, as well as two seasons as head coach and director of player personnel with the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL). He won bronze medals as the head coach of Team Canada at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games and as an assistant coach at the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship and was an assistant coach at two Spengler Cups (2016, 2018).

Stothersmost recently served as head coach of the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (AHL) for five seasons (2015-20). He has held various coaching positions in the NHL, AHL, OHL and Western Hockey League (WHL), including one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers (2010-11) and two seasons as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers (2000-02). Stothers was also the head coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs (2014-15), winning a Calder Cup and Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL coach of the year, as well as the Grand Rapids Griffins (2007-08). He also served as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-2000) and Hershey Bears (1991-96). His Canadian Hockey League (CHL) experience includes three seasons as head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors (2011-14) and five seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack (2002-07). Stothers had a 10-year professional playing career in the NHL and AHL, winning the Calder Cup with the Maine Mariners in 1984.

The support staff that will work with Team Canada at the IIHF U18 World Championship includes:

  • Senior vice-president of national teams Scott Salmond
  • Video coach Travis Crickard
  • Goaltending coach Matt Weninger (Moose Jaw Warriors)
  • Athletic therapists Kevin Elliott (Charlottetown Islanders) and Doug Stacey
  • Equipment manager A.J. Murley
  • Mental performance consultant Ashwin Patel (Guelph Storm)
  • Team physician Dr. Ben Cameron (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
  • Education consultant Dave Tennant (Kitchener Rangers)
  • Coordinator of national teams Kurt Keats

Prior to travelling to Frisco on April 17, players and staff will self-isolate at home starting April 12 and will be tested for COVID-19 three times. Upon arrival in Texas, all team personnel will enter a four-day quarantine at the hotel before starting a pre-tournament camp on April 21. The team will take on Finland in its lone pre-tournament game on April 24 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Canada will open the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship against Sweden on April 26 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, and will also take on Latvia, Switzerland and Belarus in preliminary-round action. TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast select games throughout the tournament and will announce details at a later date.

Since 2002, Canada has won three gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013), in addition to one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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 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.

16 OHL Players Recognized as Invitees to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp

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Calgary, Atla. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce that 16 OHL players have been invited to attend Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp.

The camp roster features two OHL goaltenders, three defencemen and 26 forwards as part of the 41-player roster that will attend the five-day virtual camp taking place July 27-31. The camp will feature various online education sessions with a focus on player development. Hockey Canada announced last month that various programming and training sessions will be held virtually this summer due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are excited to begin preparations for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship with this group of 41 players and our full staff at our online camp, as we believe we have a good mix of veteran leadership and young talent that are eager to represent Canada during the holiday season,” said Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams for Hockey Canada. “We are also pleased to have Michael and Mitch round out the coaching staff, as their Canadian Hockey League and international experience will compliment André’s leadership while we work towards defending our gold medal on home ice.”

The roster for Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp includes three OHL skaters who helped Canada win gold at the 2020 World Juniors (Byfield, Drysdale, McMichael), six OHL players who were selected at the 2019 NHL Draft (Harley, Clarke, McMichael, Rees, Suzuki, Tomasino), eight OHL players who are eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft (Brochu, Drysdale, O’Rourke, Byfield, Foerster, Perfetti, Perreault, Quinn), one who is eligible in 2021 (Lennox) and one who is eligible in 2022 (Wright).

As announced earlier this year, Ottawa 67’s head coach André Tourigny will return to Canada’s National Junior Team and serve as head coach after helping Canada to a gold medal as an assistant coach at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named head coach of the OHL’s 67’s in 2017 and has helped them claim the Hamilton Spectator Trophy twice as back-to-back regular season champions. Tourigny was recently awarded the Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL’s Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and was named the CHL Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year presented by Janes.

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is set to take place in Edmonton and Red Deer this December.

OHL Players Invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp

Goaltenders:
Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit)

Defencemen:
Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters)
Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
Ryan O’Rourke (Soo Greyhounds)

Forwards:
Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves)
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s)
Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts)
Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting)
Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s)
Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting)
Ryan Suzuki (Saginaw Spirit)
Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)

Coaches:
Head Coach – André Tourigny (Ottawa 67’s)

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on FacebookTwitter and Twitter.com/HC_Men.

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. Last season, more than nine million fans attended CHL games in the regular season, playoffs and at the Memorial Cup Presented by Kia. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U Sports than any other league.  For more information visit www.ontariohockeyleague.com.

Shane Wright wins CHL Rookie of the Year Award presented by Wawanesa Insurance

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League is proud to announce that forward Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs is the 2019-20 recipient of the CHL Rookie of the Year Award presented by Wawanesa Insurance.

Wright led all CHL rookies in scoring with 66 points including 39 goals and 27 assists in 58 games competing as the league’s youngest and only full-time 2004-born player after being granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada.

“Wawanesa Insurance is proud to present the 2019-20 CHL Rookie of the Year Award to Frontenacs forward Shane Wright,” said Selena Hinds, Vice President of Brand, Communications and Community for Wawanesa Insurance. “We’re all missing hockey right now, but players like Shane remind us the future is bright, and we’re looking forward to cheering Shane on next season.”

Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

The 16-year-old from Burlington, Ontario, was selected first overall by the Frontenacs in the 2019 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.  His 39 goals set a franchise rookie record surpassing the mark of 36 set by Bernie Nicholls back in 1979-80, while his 66 points equal what past exceptional status star forward Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters produced in 63 games back in 2012-13.  In total, Wright put together 17 multi-point performances including his first career hat-trick and four-point effort on February 29 against the Flint Firebirds, and tied for the CHL lead in scoring three overtime winners.  Upon his return from the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he served as captain of Team Canada Black, Wright was appointed an alternate captain for the Frontenacs making him the youngest player to wear an ‘A’ in CHL history.  He will be a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft.

“Thank you for selecting me as the CHL Rookie of the Year,” Wright said. “It’s a huge honour for me and I know both Dylan (Guenther) and Zachary (Bolduc) are both more than deserving of being granted this award and I’m just truly honoured to be selected for it. I want to thank my parents for always supporting me. The amount they sacrificed for me throughout my entire career to get to this point, all the love they gave as well, they turned me into the person I am today. I’d like to thank my coaching staff for always pushing me, always trying to make me better, and learning so much from them with their advice. And finally, I’d like to thank my teammates. Coming to the rink every day is the best time of the world being with those guys and I wouldn’t be able to get this award without them.”

Wright becomes the first member of the Frontenacs to win the national award since it was first presented in 1988.  The only other Kingston player to receive consideration was Chris Gratton back in 1991-92.  He’s now among just seven players to win this award after joining the CHL as a number one pick following Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves (2018-19), Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic (2017-18), John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals (2005-06), Sidney Crosby of the Oceanic (2003-04), Patrick O’Sullivan of the Mississauga IceDogs (2001-02), and Alexandre Daigle of the Victoriaville Tigres (1991-92).  Tavares, born September 20, 1990, was the very first player to be granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is the only past recipient who was younger than Wright at the time of his recognition.

Finalists for the award were Dylan Guenther of the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings and Zachary Bolduc of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Rimouski Oceanic.

OHL ANNOUNCES 2019-20 ALL-STAR AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS

All Star Teams

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the First, Second and Third All-Star Team selections along with the First and Second All-Rookie Team selections for the 2019-20 season.

The OHL All-Star Teams were selected by the OHL’s General Managers, with voting conducted in two stages beginning with a Conference ballot followed by a final ballot that integrated the top selections from both the Eastern and Western Conference results.

Headlining the First Team is Red Tilson Trophy recipient and OHL scoring leader Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s who becomes the first 67’s player to be selected to the League’s First All-Star Team since Tyler Toffoli in 2011-12. The top 2020 NHL Draft prospect led the entire Canadian Hockey League with 120 points, producing at a 2.14 point-per-game clip for the OHL’s first place team. Joining Rossi in the forward ranks was OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect who lit the lamp 55 times in just 46 games. Flanking the right side is Los Angeles Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs who scored 48 goals and posted 98 points in 57 games. OHL Defenceman of the Year Noel Hoefenmayer of the Ottawa 67’s stands out on the blue line after recording a league-best 82 points including 26 goals over 58 games. Top draft eligible rearguard Jamie Drysdale joins Hoefenmayer on the back end after a sophomore season with the Erie Otters that included 47 points over 49 games. Fellow Canadian National Junior Team gold medalist Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm, who was voted OHL Goaltender of the Year, was appointed as a First Team All-Star netminder after posting a league-high .924 save percentage and five shutouts. OHL Coach of the Year Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s rounds out the group, being voted to the OHL’s First All-Star Team for a second consecutive year.

Washington Capitals first round pick Connor McMichael is positioned down the middle on the Second Team, joined by wingers in 111-point scorer Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and fifth-year overage veteran Joseph Garreffa of the Ottawa 67’s. Dallas Stars first round selection Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads joins New Jersey Devils prospect Kevin Bahl on the back end while 2020 OHL Humanitarian of the Year and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers holds down the crease. Dale Hunter of the London Knights was voted Second Team Head Coach, being selected to an All-Star Team for the sixth time in his OHL coaching career.

Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves was voted Third Team centreman. He’s accompanied on the wings by Guelph Storm 45-goal scorer Pavel Gogolev and Sarnia Sting overage veteran Sean Josling who led his team with 78 points. The Third Team defence corps consists of the London Knights tandem of Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alec Regula and San Jose Sharks first round pick Ryan Merkley while Ottawa 67’s netminder Cedrick Andree is in goal. George Burnett of the Guelph Storm was voted to an OHL All-Star Team for the seventh time in his career, being named Third Team Head Coach.

A total of 11 teams were represented among the All-Star selections led by the Hamilton Spectator Trophy recipient Ottawa 67’s with six including First Team members Rossi, Hoefenmayer and Tourigny, Second Team selections Garreffa and Bahl and Third Team selection Andree. The Midwest Division champion London Knights trailed with four selections including Second Team members McMichael and coach Dale Hunter as well as Third Team defenders Merkley and Regula.

The Ontario Hockey League also unveiled its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2019-20 season.

OHL Rookie of the Year and 2019 OHL Priority Selection first overall pick Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs headlined the First All-Rookie Team, being joined by former Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget teammates in second overall OHL Priority Selection choice Brennan Othmann of the Flint Firebirds and fourth overall pick Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts on the back end. Sudbury Wolves winger Chase Stillman and Finnish-born Windsor Spitfires rearguard Ruben Rafkin joined London Knights standout netminder Brett Brochu in completing the First Team.

The Second Team is centred by 2019 fifth overall OHL Priority Selection choice and Peterborough Petes 29-goal scorer Mason McTavish. He’s joined up front by CHL Import Draft selections and 2020 NHL Draft prospects Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs and Oliver Suni of the Oshawa Generals. On the blue line, North Bay Battalion rearguard Paul Christopoulos joins Saginaw Spirit defender Mitchell Smith in front of North Bay goaltender Joe Vrbetic to round out the group.

A total of 10 different teams were represented among the All-Rookie Team selections led by the Kingston Frontenacs and North Bay Battalion with a pair each.

2019-20 OHL All-Star Teams:

First All-Star Team:
C – Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (OHL’s Most Outstanding Player) – voted 2nd all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes
RW – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs – voted 2nd team in 2018-19, 2nd all-rookie team in 2017-18
D – Noel Hoefenmayer, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Defenceman of the Year)
D – Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
G – Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (OHL Goaltender of the Year)
Coach – Andre Tourigny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Coach of the Year) – voted 1st team in 2018-19

Second All-Star Team:
C – Connor McMichael, London Knights
LW – Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
RW – Joseph Garreffa, Ottawa 67’s
D – Thomas Harley, Mississauga Steelheads – voted 3rd team in 2018-19
D – Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s
G – Jacob Ingham, Kitchener Rangers – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
Coach – Dale Hunter, London Knights – voted 3rd team in 2018-19, 1st team in 2009-10, 2nd team in 2005-06, 1st team in 2004-05, 1st team in 2003-04

Third All-Star Team:
C – Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm
RW – Sean Josling, Sarnia Sting
D – Alec Regula, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2017-18
D – Ryan Merkley, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
G – Cedrick Andree, Ottawa 67’s
Coach – George Burnett, Guelph Storm – voted 2nd team in 2012-13, 2nd team in 2008-09, 3rd team in 2007-08, 2nd team in 1997-98, 1st team in 1991-92, 1st team in 1990-91

2019-20 OHL All-Rookie Teams:

First All-Rookie Team:
C – Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL Rookie of the Year)
LW – Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds
RW – Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves
D – Brandt Clarke, Barrie Colts
D – Ruben Rafkin, Windsor Spitfires
G – Brett Brochu, London Knights

Second All-Rookie Team:
C – Mason McTavish, Peterborough Petes
LW – Martin Chromiak, Kingston Frontenacs
RW – Oliver Suni, Oshawa Generals
D – Paul Christopoulos, North Bay Battalion
D – Mitchell Smith, Saginaw Spirit
G – Joe Vrbetic, North Bay Battalion

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

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.