Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
Hockey dreams took a major stride forward on Saturday as OMHA players were chosen in the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection, including seven in the first round and the top two picks.
Quinton Byfield was announced as the first overall pick in the draft, heading to the Sudbury Wolves. The 6’4”, 203 lbs. forward is described by OHL Central Scouting as an intimidating presence on the ice with exceptionally high skill level and can do things with a puck that not many players his age or size can do. Byfield led all Minor Midget players in scoring this season, netting 48 goals and adding 44 assists across 34 games.
“I am thrilled to be selected first overall and honoured to be the recipient of the Jack Ferguson award,” said Byfield in a release. “I have to thank my family for all of their support in getting me to this position today. I would also like to thank all my past coaches and my teammates for all the help they have given me. Finally, I would like to thank the Sudbury Wolves for the honour of selecting me with the first pick of this year’s OHL Draft. I’m very excited to join the Wolves and can’t wait to get started.”
Evan Vierling (left) and Quinton Byfield (right) were the top two picks in the OHL Draft. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Newmarket native has won three OMHA Championships in a row, culminating with a gold medal in the Minor Midget AAA final game. The 15-year-old also captained his team to a semi-final finish at the OHL Cup last month.
“We are very excited to have Quinton join the Sudbury Wolves,” said VP of Hockey Operations and GM, Rob Papineau. “He is an exceptional player with a great future and his potential is amazing and our coaching staff is eager to work with him. Our scouting staff has been unanimous on Quinton as the best player in the draft all season and we know that the fans and the people of Greater Sudbury are going to love the opportunity to watch such a special player in a Wolves uniform.”
As the first player selected in the OHL Priority Selection, Byfield is presented with the Jack Ferguson Award. The most recent recipients of this award from the OMHA include Dan Catenacci in 2009 (also from the Express) as well as Steven Stamkos (Markham Waxers). You can see the the full draft results here.
The second overall pick in the draft was Evan Vierling who went to the Flint Firebirds. Vierling and Byfield were teammates on the Express and went back-to-back. Vierling’s attention to detail is outstanding; defensively he takes away time and space from the opposition and creates turnovers. He has a high compete level and wants to make a difference every time he is on the ice.
“It is a very surreal feeling right now. I feel very honoured right now to be selected by the Flint Firebirds. The key for me was to just believe - believe in my coaches, my family, my teammates and most importantly, myself. It is even more special for me to get to share this my teammate, Quinton Byfield. We have played together for 5 years and he is such a great person and player and I am so happy to share this moment with him. “
Going sixth overall was forward Cameron Tolnai of the Oakville Rangers who heads north to the Ottawa 67’s. He is a good-sized winger with elite level skill and hockey sense and sees the ice and distributes the puck well. Tolnai has fantastic hands and opposing players need to be aware when he is on the ice.
“I am very ecstatic. Getting drafted in the Ontario Hockey League has been a dream of mine for a long time and to get selected by a team like the Ottawa 67’s is something that I am very thankful for. I have to thank my parents for all the time they have put in to my minor hockey. From getting up early and driving me to practices and games all these years, they have always been there for me. I am going to spend the off-season working on getting bigger and stronger and can’t wait to get going."
James Hardie of the Barrie Jr. Colts went eighth overall to the Mississauga Steelheads. The forward knows how to read situations and teammates in offensive zone well, allowing him find the soft areas that make him dangerous. Hardie also has the ability to gain the offensive zone off the rush where he can rely on his stick-handling ability to open up a shooting lane.
“Honestly, I just feel like I am on Cloud Nine right now. This is a dream come true and to have an organization like Mississauga select me, I couldn’t be more happy. Really looking forward to this off-season and just focusing on getting stronger, continue working on my on ice skills and be ready for the OHL next season.”
With the 13th overall pick, defenceman Jake Murray heads to the Kingston Frontenacs. He is able to carry the puck out of trouble or jump into a rush to be an option for his forwards. When he is in the offensive zone, other teams will have to keep an eye on where he is as he likes to move into areas to become a passing outlet or to unleash his shot.
“I am beyond excited right now. I can’t even begin to express how much I am looking forward to getting to Kingston next season and hopefully jumping right into the OHL. This is truly an honour for me to get selected in the first round and I really just owe a lot to my coaches, my teammates and my family who have been there with me the whole way and have only wanted the best for me. I am just really looking forward to the next steps.”
Teammate Luke Evangelista went next in the draft, going 14th overall to the London Knights. Evangelista knows how to open up passing lanes, when to be patient, and when to be explosive. With his confidence, his head is up reading defenders and more importantly seeing where his teammates are. Evangelista then lets his offensive instincts take over and he will creates prime scoring chances, which consistently get him on a score sheet.
“I am so thrilled right now to get drafted by a great organization in the London Knights. I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of my teammates, coaches and family. The development the OMHA has provided me has really helped me in getting to where I want to be and achieving my dreams.”
Rounding out the first round from the OMHA was Guelph Jr. Gryphons forward Logan Morrison, who heads to the Hamilton Bulldogs with the 18th overall pick. His tenacity allows him to create a lot of turnovers. Morrison's hockey sense can then take over when he has the puck on his stick. He can make a skilled play to generate space for a shot or to create a passing lane for one of his linemates.
“This is definitely a dream come true for me. I have been wanting to play in the OHL my whole life and to get drafted by an organization like the Hamilton Bulldogs is really something special for me. I really need to thank my family and friends. I couldn’t have been here without them and their support throughout the years.”
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association led the way with 84 players selected from 20 teams. The Oakville Rangers led the OMHA and the entire draft with 14 players selected, followed by the Peterborough Minor Petes with 10, the Barrie Jr. Colts with eight, both the Guelph Jr. Gryphons and Niagara North Stars with seven and the champion York-Simcoe Express with six. See a full list of all the OMHA players chosen at the bottom of the page.
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 Taylor Hall to Travis Dermott to Drake Caggiula.
|Round||Overall Pick||Name||OHL Team||OMHA Team|
|1||1||Quinton Byfield||Sudbury Wolves||York-Simcoe Express|
|1||2||Evan Vierling||Flint Firebirds||York-Simcoe Express|
|1||6||Cameron Tolnai||Ottawa 67's||Oakville Rangers|
|1||8||James Hardie||Mississauga Steelheads||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|1||13||Jake Murray||Kingston Frontenacs||Oakville Rangers|
|1||14||Luke Evangelista||London Knights||Oakville Rangers|
|1||18||Logan Morrison||Hamilton Bulldogs||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|2||27||Cameron Butler||Peterborough Petes||York-Simcoe Express|
|2||30||Jack Thompson||Sudbury Wolves||Clarington Toros|
|2||32||Isaac Langdon||Kitchener Rangers||Quinte Red Devils|
|2||33||Ethan Cardwell||Saginaw Spirit||Clarington Toros|
|2||35||Will Cranley||Ottawa 67's||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|2||36||Zack Terry||Guelph Storm||Oakville Rangers|
|2||38||Ty Collins||Guelph Storm||York-Simcoe Express|
|3||44||Alec Belanger||Ottawa 67's||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|3||47||Spencer Smith||Guelph Storm||Niagara North Stars|
|3||52||Jack Bar||Peterborough Petes||York-Simcoe Express|
|3||55||Tyson Foerster||Barrie Colts||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|4||61||Brody Waters||Owen Sound Attack||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|4||62||Christian Linton||Flint Firebirds||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|4||64||Dawson McKinney||Oshawa Generals||Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs|
|4||67||Owen Bennett||Guelph Storm||Halton Hurricanes|
|4||74||Ben Roger||London Knights||Quinte Red Devils|
|4||78||Nathan Ribau||Sudbury Wolves||Oakville Rangers|
|4||79||Nolan Burke||Sarnia Sting||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|5||81||Ethan Ritchie||Erie Otters||Oakville Rangers|
|5||82||Ryan Mansfield||Flint Firebirds||Burlington Eagles|
|5||92||Ethan Sims||Niagara IceDogs||Niagara North Stars|
|5||97||Dalton McBridge||Kitchener Rangers||Niagara North Stars|
|5||100||Kalvyn Watson||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|6||102||Tyler Deline||Flint Firebirds||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|6||103||Michael Suda||Peterborough Petes||Buffalo Regals|
|6||105||Ian Lemieux||Saginaw Spirit||York-Simcoe Express|
|6||110||Christian Stevens||Windsor Spitfires||Whitby Wildcats|
|6||113||Logan Maunder||Erie Otters||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|6||115||Ben Van Waterschoot||Owen Sound Attack||Whitby Wildcats|
|6||119||Ethan Robertson||Sarnia Sting||Clarington Toros|
|7||122||Jack Harper||Flint Firebirds||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|7||123||Jakson Kirk||Peterborough Petes||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|7||124||Cameron Morton||Erie Otters||Kingston Jr. Frontenacs|
|7||132||Cameron Snow||Niagara IceDogs||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|7||140||Cole McGuire||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||Quinte Red Devils|
|8||141||Michael Tiveron||Sudbury Wolves||Brampton 45's|
|8||143||Luc Reeve||Peterborough Petes||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|8||144||Noah Sedore||Erie Otters||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|8||152||Jacob Vreugdenhill||Niagara IceDogs||Quinte Red Devils|
|8||159||Owen Shier||Windsor Spitfires||Central Ontario Wolves|
|9||165||Anthony Lamanna||Mississauga Steelheads||Ajax-Pickering Raiders|
|9||166||Owen Luik||Ottawa 67's||Oakville Rangers|
|9||167||Rylee Hlusiak||Hamilton Bulldogs||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|9||168||Myles Perry||Mississauga Steelheads||Whitby Wildcats|
|9||172||Michael Craig||Niagara IceDogs||Niagara North Stars|
|9||175||Marco Latassa||Owen Sound Attack||Oakville Rangers|
|9||178||Andrew Britton||Hamilton Bulldogs||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|10||183||Ayden Dooley||Oshawa Generals||North Central Predators|
|10||188||Brett Robertson||Mississauga Steelheads||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|10||190||Daniel Botelho||Windsor Spitfires||Grey-Bruce Highlanders|
|10||200||Owen Parker||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||Buffalo Regals|
|11||201||Ryan Smith||Sudbury Wolves||North Central Predators|
|11||202||Owen Holmes||Flint Firebirds||Niagara North Stars|
|11||205||Isaac Sooklal||Saginaw Spirit||Whitby Wildcats|
|11||207||Will Craig||Guelph Storm||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|11||212||Kylar Watson||Niagara IceDogs||North Central Predators|
|11||215||Brett Pearce||Owen Sound Attack||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|11||218||Ryan Brown||Hamilton Bulldogs||Oakville Rangers|
|12||221||Robbie Stewart||Sudbury Wolves||Niagara North Stars|
|12||228||Carson Whitson||Mississauga Steelheads||Central Ontario Wolves|
|12||230||Liam Scullion||Windsor Spitfires||Burlington Eagles|
|12||234||Chase Strychaluk||London Knights||Oakville Rangers|
|13||243||Matthew McCullough||Kitchener Rangers||Clarington Toros|
|13||247||Joseph Marra||Guelph Storm||Guelph Jr. Gryphons|
|13||249||Liam Dey||North Bay Battalion||Burlington Eagles|
|14||267||Cameron Garvey||Guelph Storm||Oakville Rangers|
|14||273||Tyler Bortkiewicz||Kingston Frontenacs||Oakville Rangers|
|15||281||Luke Strickland||Sudbury Wolves||Markham Waxers|
|15||287||Boyd Stahlbaum||Kingston Frontenacs||Peterborough Minor Petes|
|15||288||Patrick Stewart||Mississauga Steelheads||Oakville Rangers|
|15||289||Jackson Hay||North Bay Battalion||Kingston Jr. Frontenacs|
|15||290||Davis Tolnai||Ottawa 67's||Oakville Rangers|
|15||291||Taylor Barnett||Oshawa Generals||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|15||293||Sam Dingle||Kingston Frontenacs||Kingston Jr. Frontenacs|
|15||295||Mason Cowan||Owen Sound Attack||Whitby Wildcats|
|15||296||Rees Cameron||Barrie Colts||Barrie Jr. Colts|
|15||298||Matteo Costantini||Hamilton Bulldogs||Niagara North Stars|
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