Top young hockey prospects will hit the ice in St. Catharines this weekend
The great ones – like Steven Stamkos played in the OMHA – and the next ones like the Southern Tier Admirals (Welland’s) Niki Petti will take to the ice at the OMHA Showcase in St. Catharines January 28 and 29.
Ten teams from the South Central AAA league (SCTA) minor midget AAAs will battle head-to-head in a series of games in front of pro, junior and university scouts at the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre. The event is a preview of the top picks in this spring’s Ontario Hockey League and, in a few short years, the National Hockey League draft. The OMHA is a premier player development league; recent grads now in the NHL include Stamkos, Matt Duchene, Corey Perry and Cody Hodgson.
The games played are regular season contests. Results will be available at http://omha.net/standings/display_league_stats.asp?lid=101&did=1510.
Playing head-to-head in the same rink allows scouts the ability to compare talents in the same environment. The competing teams are the high-flying Southern Tier Admirals, Niagara North Stars, Niagara Rivermen, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Halton Hurricanes, Guelph Jr. Storm, Oakville Rangers, Brampton, Burlington Eagles and Grey Bruce Highlanders.
“You can sit there for two days and get a good read on kids before the playoffs start. This could be the last look for some kids before the OHL draft (in April),” said Ontario Hockey League Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley. A list of players to watch identified by Woodley is available at the end of this news release.
The weekend is about far more than scouting. The OMHA AAA Parent/Player Education Seminar will inform players and their families about the opportunities hockey can generate – options to play in the Ontario Hockey League or Ontario University Athletics.
“Profiling our AAA athletes at the Showcase events is an excellent way for scouts and universities to see all players,” said OMHA President Joyce Junker. “The OMHA is proud of every player and wants to do the best job possible to support them and their families by hosting such events as this.”
Special guest speakers include Tom Bly about OMHA programs that support player development, Murray Nystrom, head coach of the Brock Badgers men’s team and Brock player Derek Brochu, a grad of Welland Tigers minor hockey and the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack and Guelph Storm. More information about the guest speakers is available at http://omha.net/display_news.asp?article_id=3234.
"Brock University hockey is pleased to be part of this important weekend for OMHA players,” said Badgers’ coach Nystrom. “Development opportunities in OMHA centres continue to grow. This showcase weekend enhances the experience of these athletes and helps prepare them for their next level of play."
“The Ontario Hockey League offers student-athletes the best of both worlds when it comes to on ice development and opportunities in education,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “We look forward to the opportunity to meet so many of the OMHA’s great student-athletes and future stars of the OHL at these events.”
The Showcase sponsors include the OHL, OUA, Brock University, Pro Hockey Life, Under Armour, Rinknet Breakout, Shoeless Joe’s Restaurants, and Xilarate Sports Power Fluid.
Players to watch;
Here are some top players to watch in the tournament, with quotes about each from Darrell Woodley, Director of Central Scouting for the OHL.
Nick Petti, Southern Tier Admirals, centre
“He’s pretty electric, a highly skilled forward who makes the players around him better. He beats kids with his speed and will finish when given the opportunity. Nick has great vision with the puck and is a great playmaker.”
Matt Schmalz, Southern Tier Admirals, right wing
“For a kid his size (6’4”, 190 pounds) he has exceptional skill. A power forward he’s not afraid to go into the corner and drives to the net well. Matt has a good shot.”
David Eccles, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, defence
“David is tough to play against, a stay at home defenceman. He has a good shot off the point and usually finds the net.”
Connor Murphy, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, centre
“He makes the Bulldogs go offensively. He’s a speedy forward with offensive skill and scores big goals. Connor is not afraid of other players, goes into the corner and hunts for the puck.”
Patrick Sanvido, Guelph Jr. Storm, defence
“He’s a very good skater for a kid that size (6’5”, 215 pounds), a versatile all-round D. He plays the point on the powerplay and uses his reach well.”
Owen MacDonald, Guelph Jr. Storm, centre
“Owen is a highly skilled two-way centre, and not many kids compete as hard as him night in and night out. He plays bigger than his 5’8” frame, initiates contact and shoots the puck really well.”
Chris Poletek, Halton Hurricanes, right wing
“Chris is their best player and a solid two-way forward. He’s not flashy but does everything well, competes defensively and has the ability to score.”
Lucas Zitmanis, Halton Hurricanes, defence
“He’s a good stay at home defenceman, makes a good first pass out of the zone
And defends the rush well.”
Stefan LeBlanc, Oakville Rangers, defence
“Stefan is a versatile defender. He skates well, quarterback’s the powerplay, plays against the other team’s top line and is not afraid to block shots. You put him out there and feel safe when he’s out on the ice.”
Theo Lewis, Oakville Rangers, right wing
“Theo is a powerful winger who goes up and down the wing well, scores driving the net and is a good rusher. He scores his goals around the net.”
Jake Couglar, Brampton, centre
“He’s a solid two-way player. Jake skates well, competes hard, has good skills and uses his wingers well. He is more of a playmaker than a scorer.”
Jeffrey Gilligan, Burlington Eagles, centre
“He’s getting better and better as the year goes on. Jeffrey is a very skilled offensive player and is always creating offense with the puck. He beats you with his speed and is a big scorer for his club.”
Bryce Mayea, Burlington Eagles, left wing
“Bryce is a prototypical power forward who goes up and down his wing, finishes his checks and has a real good snap shot.”
Cameron Harron, Grey Bruce Highlanders, goalie
“He’s definitely one of the better goalies in this loop and gives him a team a chance to win games. He’s very athletic and moves well.”
Benjamin Scheel, Grey Bruce Highlanders, right wing
“He’s their best forward, creates a lot of their offence and is real good at all aspects. He mucks it up in the corner and drives the net well for scoring chances.”
Jake Kisac, Niagara North Star, defence
“Jake is a good puck moving D with a bit of an offensive upside who moves the puck really well.”
Dakota Kingston, Niagara Rivermen, centre
“Dakota competes hard shift in and shift out and is a well-balanced two-way player. He generates most of their offence.”