Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today conducted the third annual OHL Under-18 Priority Selection for Midget AAA hockey players in Ontario.
Eligibility for the 2019 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection included all Midget players (2001 and 2002 birth years) not currently on an OHL Member Team Protected List who were carded with an Ontario based Midget AAA Hockey Club within the Ontario Hockey Federation, Hockey Eastern Ontario, or Hockey Northwestern Ontario in the current season.
A total of 54 players were selected from 35 different teams and included 22 forwards, 18 defencemen, and 14 goaltenders. 51 of the 54 players selected were born in 2002 including 31 with birthdays before September.
For the second straight season a goaltender was chosen with the first overall pick in the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection as the Kingston Frontenacs opted for Aidan Spooner of the Barrie Jr. Colts. Two more netminders were chosen inside the top four including James Gray of the Toronto Nationals selected by the Flint Firebirds second overall, and Matteo Lalama of the Niagara North Stars chosen fourth overall by the Barrie Colts. Defenceman Connor Olson of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs was the third overall pick by the Erie Otters.
All OHL Member Teams were required to draft a minimum of two players, however to enhance opportunities specifically for goaltenders, clubs selecting a goaltender with one of their selections had the option to select another player (skater only) in a third round.
“In a very short period of time we have seen how positive the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection has been for the players and for our teams,” said Joe Birch, Senior Director of Hockey Development and Special Events. “Congratulations to all 54 players selected today, with special acknowledgment to all families, coaches, and teammates of these players for their support this season and throughout the minor hockey journey. This is your opportunity to continue and get better every single day on and off the ice to showcase yourself and to further your development as a player.”
The Greater Toronto Hockey League had the most players selected in the draft with 19 chosen from 10 different teams led by the Mississauga Reps with five players, the Toronto Titans with three, and followed by two selections from each of the Don Mills Flyers, Markham Majors, and Mississauga Senators. Hockey Eastern Ontario had 12 players chosen from nine different teams including a pair of picks from the Nepean Raiders, Ottawa Jr. Senators, and the Rockland Nationals. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association had nine players selected from seven different teams led by the Kingston Jr. Frontenacs and the Niagara North Stars both producing a pair of picks. The ALLIANCE had eight players selected from five different teams led by the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs with three players, and the Brantford 99ers with two. The Northern Ontario Hockey Association had five players picked from three different teams led by three North Bay Trappers selections, while Hockey Northwestern Ontario had a single pick from the Thunder Bay Kings.
Picks were submitted online by OHL member clubs and displayed in real-time at ontariohockeyleague.com accompanied by an audio stream.
Announced in January, 2017, the concept of the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection was 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).