Top Young Hockey Prospects Hit the Ice This Weekend in St. Catharines, News (Grey-Bruce Highlanders AAA Minor Hockey Association)

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Top Young Hockey Prospects Hit the Ice This Weekend in St. Catharines
Submitted By dmoffatt on Sunday, January 27, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013 Richmond Hill, ON: - The great ones – like Steven Stamkos played in the OMHA – and the next ones like Southern Tier Admiral Mike Davies and Oakville Ranger Brett McKenzie will take to the ice at the OMHA Showcase in St. Catharines January 26 and 27.

Eleven teams from the South Central [SCTA] minor midget AAAs will battle head-to-head in a series of games in front of pro, junior and university scouts at Seymore Hannah Sports Complex. The event is a preview of the top picks in next spring’s Ontario Hockey League and, in a few short years, the National Hockey League draft. The OMHA is a premier development league recent grads now in the NHL include Steven Stamkos, Matt Duchene, Corey Perry and Cody Hodgson.

A list of players to watch including Brampton 45’s Goaltender Ben Blacker and Grey-Bruce Highlander’s Defenseman, Garrett McFadden are listed below with comments from OHL Central Scouting. The Showcase rosters are available at OMHA.net .

The weekend will also include the OMHA AAA Midget and Bantam All-Star Games. These two annual events showcase top OMHA AAA players in their respective age groups. Rosters for the Midget All-Star Game are available at OMHA.net.

“When the players know scouts are watching and can step up their play it’s an indication as they get older they can deal with the pressures of hockey and move on,” said OMHA grad Dave Reid, former general manager of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. “They all know a good show will go a long way.”

The participating clubs are the Oakville Rangers, Brampton 45’s, Southern Tier Admirals, Halton Hurricanes, Grey-Bruce Highlanders, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Buffalo Regals, Burlington Eagles, Niagara North Stars, Niagara Falls Rivermen and the Guelph Storm.

The event is projected to draw 1,000 fans and provide a boost to the St. Catharines economy.

“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.”

The OMHA’s Showcase is also used to promote a path to post-secondary education for the athletes. Many OMHA graduates move on to attend and play at Ontario universities.

“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 OUA and OHL will host information sessions at the tournament to explain the pathways to junior hockey and university life. OUA hockey is filled with OMHA grads, many who enjoyed OHL careers including David Searle [Peterborough], Tony Rizzi, Anthony and Kaine Geldart [Kingston] and Steve Ferry [Richmond Hill].

"Ontario University Athletics has a shared interest with the Ontario Hockey League in helping prepare their student-athletes for life after their junior playing careers. We hope that the OMHA Showcase is the first of many opportunities for hockey fans to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional student-athletes in both leagues," said OUA Executive Director Ward Dilse.

Partners for the 2012-2013 OMHA AAA Showcase include Ontario University Athletics [OUA], Ontario Hockey League [OHL], Under Armour, City of Barrie, Barrie Colts, Brock University, Pro Hockey Life, Forse Hockey, Rinknet Scouting Software and Rogers TV.

Players to watch

Here are some top players to watch in the tournament with direct quotes from OHL Central Scouting:

Brampton 45s – Benjamin Blacker, Goaltender – He may not be the biggest goalie in the net, but with his combination of quickness and positioning he overcomes his lack of size. He squares to the shooter well, is good at playing the puck, and competes as well as any goaltender in the SCTA.

Brampton 45s – Stephen Mariani, Right Wing – strong on his skates and hard to knock off the puck, very good skill level, can beat you with his stick or with his smarts, he is currently tied for 4th in SCTA scoring.

Buffalo Regals – Dominic Dockery – Left Defense – offensive defenseman with a very good stick, ability to lead the rush or advance the puck to his teammates, he is the straw the stirs the Buffalo Regals Powerplay with his vision and anticipation.

Burlington Eagles – Andrew Court – Centre – Captain and leader of his team, has a good a work ethic as any Minor Midget AAA Player, in addition, he also has a good skill level that allows him to make plays and create opportunities for him and his teammates.

Grey Bruce Highlanders – Garrett McFadden – Left Defenseman – with his high level of skill, smarts, and confidence, he makes a very tough position to play look easy, effective in all situations, might remind some people of current Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis.

Grey Bruce Highlanders – Benjamin Van Ooteghem – Centre –what he lacks in size he makes up for it in heart, determination, and compete, when watching him play it is easy to see why he is the captain of this team as he leads by example on the ice, also has good skills and is a goal scorer.

Guelph Jr. Storm – Cole Poliziani – Centre – has good skill level and skates well, works hard creating opportunities, consistent effort every time he is on the ice.

Halton Hurricanes – Matthew Kreis – Centre – His skill level is very good, ability to generate speed through the neutral zone, very good instincts in the offensive zone, very dangerous player when the puck is on his stick.

Halton Hurricanes – Mitchell Kreis – Left Defense – Great skater with mobility, as a good a gap [effective cushion between him and the opposition – taking away time and space] as any defenseman in the SCTA, really good physical game and strong for his size, in addition, has a good skill level and advances the puck consistently.

Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs – Steven Templeton – Left Defense – Good skater with mobility, effective in all three zones, smart and safe player that will not give up many opportunities and has the ability to advance the puck to his teammates.

Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs – Brandon Saigeon – Left Wing – one of a handful of very impressive underagers [he is born in 1998] in OMHA Minor Midget AAA this year, he combines good size [6.00 180 lbs.] with a very good skill level, offensive leader on the team and has goal scoring ability, also has a good work ethic.

Niagara Falls Rivermen – Jonathan KOVACEVIC – Left Defense – Offensive defenseman with good size and mobility, handles the puck well and makes good decisions.

Niagara North Stars – Nathan Mcduff – Left Defense – Solid in all three zones of the ice, handles the rush well, skill level and smarts are good, solid on the PowerPlay.

Oakville Rangers – Brett McKenzie – Centre – this player has all the tools, his has good size, skates very well, very good compete level, and his skill level is elite level, he should be a top pick in the OHL Priority Selection in April.

Oakville Rangers – Matthew Spencer – Right Defense – he might be the most exciting and impressive player at the Minor Midget AAA level, good size, elite level skater and skill level, he has the ability to go end-to-end with the puck in an instant, will be a very high pick in the OHL Priority Selection in April.

Southern Tier Admirals – Mike Baird – Left Wing – a physical presence when he is on the ice, skates well, and hits hard, creates space for his linemates and goes to the net, very good Power Forward.

Southern Tier Admirals – Mike Davies – Centre – this player brings it every shift with a very good work ethic and compete level, couple this with his elite level skill and it is easy to see why he is one of the best players in the SCTA, in addition, he hits hard and understands the game well.

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