Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the introduction of an annual Under-18 Priority Selection for Midget AAA hockey players in Ontario.
The inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will take place on Wednesday April 12, 2017, beginning at 7:00 pm with picks submitted online by OHL member clubs and displayed in real-time at ontariohockeyleague.com.
“Midget hockey in Ontario features hundreds of talented players who continue to develop their game,” said OHL Commissioner, David Branch. “Working with our Minor Hockey partners, the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will serve to assist in the continued growth of Midget hockey and provide further opportunities for players at different stages of their overall hockey development.”
The concept of the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection has developed with full support from Hockey Canada’s three Ontario Branches including the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), and Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO).
"The Ontario Hockey League has long been a leader in the advancement of young athletes and the new Under-18 Priority Selection is a continuation of that development," said OHF President, Tony Foresi. "We believe this second draft will offer players a chance to develop at their own pace while still working toward their hockey goals."
"The OHL has added a great incentive for those players who may have required an additional year or two of development to reach their full potential,” said HEO President, Ron McRostie. “HEO is excited that some late developing athletes may have an additional opportunity of reaching their goals.”
"The new Ontario Hockey League Under-18 Priority Selection is a great opportunity for players that have continued to develop in Midget AAA hockey within the province," said HNO President, Glenn Timko. "We see this U18 draft as a positive opportunity for players in the Northwest, to have another chance at being selected by an Ontario Hockey League club."
The OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will be held in addition to the league’s current Priority Selection process which takes place this season on Saturday April 8, 2017, for all 2001 birth year players and those eligible players currently not playing Midget hockey.
Eligibility for the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection includes all Midget players (1999 and 2000 birth years for 2017 draft) not currently on an OHL Member Team Protected List who were carded with an Ontario based Midget AAA Hockey Club within the OHF, HEO, or HNO in the current season.
The order of selection for the Under-18 Priority Selection shall be the same as the Under-16 Priority Selection format which is determined through the final preceding regular season schedule. The non-playoff teams shall select first determined by inverse order of finish, followed by all other teams with the selection position also determined by inverse order of finish.
The inaugural Under-18 Priority Selection will be capped at four rounds with all OHL Member Teams required to draft a minimum of four players.
To enhance opportunities specifically for goaltenders, should an OHL Member Team select a goaltender with one of their selections, the club has the option to select another player (skater only). An additional round will be added to facilitate the drafting of any additional skaters utilizing the same selection order and process.
In April of 2016, in Lloydminster Alberta, the North York Rangers Midget AAA team captured the Telus Cup to give the GTHL its second consecutive National Midget Championship.
In 1976-77 the Don Mills Flyers MTHL (now GTHL) won the National Midget Championship in Moncton, New Brunswick.
In 2014-15, the Toronto Young Nationals represented the GTHL and Ontario, and went on to become the second Toronto team to win the Canadian National Midget Championship, now called the Telus Cup, in Riviere de Loupe.
This Championship has been dominated over the past twenty years by teams from Quebec and the West, where the structure of hockey is considerably different than Ontario. Currently, we have a club system with fairly strict residency rules, while the west and Quebec focus more on private sport schools and “all star” type teams.
Midget AAA hockey in Ontario has been under a great deal of stress in recent years. Lowering the age of the OHL Draft to 15 from 16 has made it very stressful on the Midget aged player. Many players drafted from Minor Midget believe they are too good to play Major Midget, and those that are not drafted, believe their dream of Jr., College, or professional hockey is over, and it is time to focus on other things. Thankfully, things are changing for the better.
Until recently, there were 36 Provincial Jr “A” teams in the Greater Toronto Area. After several years of poor performance, and an almost complete disappearance of US College scouts, the league decided to cut back to 22 teams (2012-13). This has greatly strengthen their league, and brought back the College scouts.
The benefits to Midget hockey, of this cut back in the number of Jr “A” teams, are clear and substantial. Many more top end players are available, and with the high quality of coaching that exists in the GTHL AAA Midget loop, the upside for the players is huge. OHL clubs are now recommending Midget AAA for many of their drafted players.
In recent years, the GTHL and its member clubs have worked hard to strengthen Midget AAA hockey, with weekend double headers, a more focused approach on the needs of the 16 and 17 year old student athlete, and a significant improvement in the overall level of coaching and training, all designed to ensure a players overall hockey and personal development continues at a high level.
|23||Kenzo Boulou Ebanda||F||R||5'11||165||02/21/2000|
|77||Italo Elio Caria||F||L||6'||193||05/30/2000|
|26||Claudio De Gasperis||-||-||-||-||-|
Midget AAA hockey in the GTHL is the best environment for 16 and 17 year olds to play on a regular basis and develop their skills for the next level, especially if that level involves hockey thru education for the student/athlete.
Parents and players need to understand US Colleges and Canadian Universities typically do not place student/athletes in their hockey programs until they are 19+ years old. Therefore, this year’s graduating Minor Midget players have another four years of growth, maturity, and development ahead of them before achieving their goal of College/University hockey. There is no rush, and the fact that players may be drafted late to the OHL, or not at all (not because they are not good enough; but because they are not ready yet), has absolutely nothing to do with where they can be in three or four years, especially if they continue to work hard and play at a high level. Players can play one or two years of midget hockey (grade 11 and 12), and still have two years left to play Junior; there is no rush.
Midget AAA hockey in Ontario has been under some stress in recent years. OHL drafted players felt they were too good to play Midget, and those that were not drafted, felt their dream of Jr., College, or professional hockey was over, and it was time to focus on other things. Thankfully, things are changing for the better.
Until recently, there were 36 Provincial Jr “A” teams in the GTA. After several years of poor performance, and an almost complete disappearance of US College scouts, the league decided to cut back to 22 teams (2012-13). This will make their league an “older player” league and greatly strengthen the overall quality of their programs.
The benefits of this decision to midget hockey in the GTHL are real and substantial. Many more top end players became available, and with the high quality of coaching that exists in the GTHL AAA Midget loop (see www.gthlmidgetAAA.com) , there is nothing but upside for players. Some OHL clubs are now recommending Midget AAA for many of their drafted players.
In recent years the GTHL and its member clubs have worked hard to strengthen Midget AAA hockey, with weekend double headers, a more focused approach to the needs of the 16 and 17 year old student athlete, and a significant improvement in the level of coaching and training, all designed to ensure a players overall hockey and personal development continues at a high level.