Those NHL dreams took a major stride forward as OMHA players were chosen in the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection (draft), including three first round picks. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association led the way with 104 players selected from 21 different teams including 14 players from the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, followed by nine players from both the OMHA champion Whitby Wildcats and the Halton Hurricanes.
The OHL Priority Selection was broadcast online, so OMHA families were glued to their computers on Saturday watching the live stream webcast and the results being posted.
Brandon Saigeon started things off for the OMHA; the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs Centre was drafted 4th overall by the Belleville Bulls. The 6.01, 185lbs elite forward has high end skill, a great shot and understands the game well.
Centre Jonathan Ang of the Markham Waxers went 9th overall to the Peterborough Petes. One of the best skaters in the draft, Ang has the ability to change a game in a single shift. At 5.10 and 148 lbs Ang had 42 points in 33 games played in his second year with the Waxers Minor Midget AAA program.
Matthew Hotchkiss of the Whitby Wildcats went 20th overall to the Guelph Storm. At 6.02 and 195 lbs Hotchkiss has size and skill that will serve him well at the next level.
Player development is a key component of the OMHA experience. The OMHA conducts a wide range of clinics for players, coaches and other volunteers to improve their skills and enhance their overall experience and enjoyment of the sport. OMHA boasts a long list of grads who earned their place in the NHL from Bobby Orr to Steven Stamkos.