Tagged: Mitchell Stephens

CIBC Canada Russia Super Series: Team OHL Breakdown

unnamedOn Tuesday, the Ontario Hockey League announced the rosters for the two games against the Russian National Junior Team on the Ontario leg of the CIBC Canada Russia Super Series. The games will take place November 10th in North Bay and November 14th in Hamilton.

Traditionally, the Super Series offers Hockey Canada an extra look at players who are battling for a spot at Team Canada’s selection camp for the World Junior Championships. The rosters do go a little more in depth however, as not only are elite-level OHL players invited to take part, but typically a handful of second-year players are added to the roster in an effort to gauge them against higher competition (Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian both played in the 2015 Super Series as draft eligibles). Continue reading


13 From OHL Named to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp

By: Bryan Thiel

Hockey Canada made a series of announcements on Monday, naming the players who will attend the National Teams’ Summer Showcase.


Lawson Crouse & Mitch Marner could suit up for Canada again…or they could be in the NHL.

Overall, 45 Ontario Hockey League prospects were named to the National Under-17 Development Camp, 21 were announced as part of the Men’s Summer U-18 Selection Camp, and 13 will have the opportunity to state their case for a spot on the World Junior team at the National Junior Team Summer Development Camp. Ultimately, 79 OHL’ers made the cut.


While there are some names to pay attention to when it comes to the U-18 camp (Michael DiPietro of Windsor should make a strong case to start while Nick Suzuki’s 38 points would lead this team) and the U-17 Camp (The first five Ontario-born players selected in the most recent OHL Priority Selection all made the cut among many others), the roster for the NJT Summer Development Camp is typically where most of the attention will fall.

Here are the 13 OHL’ers that will attend camp in late July in Toronto. Continue reading

OHL Well Represented at Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp

By Bryan Thiel (@BryanThiel_88)

When Hockey Canada announced the roster for the National Junior Team’s Selection Camp on Tuesday, it was the culmination of months of work going all the way back to the summer. With Scott Salmond, the Vice-President of Hockey Operations and National Teams, and Director of Player Personnel Ryan Jankowski on hand, the young men that would compete for the final roster and a trip to Finland were announced.

Overall 30 players received invites (including defencemen Brandon Hickey and Jake Walman from the NCAA), with 13 of those players coming from the Ontario Hockey League.

The decision in net seems to be a fairly straightforward one for Hockey Canada, as Barrie Colts goalie Mackenzie Blackwood is one of only two goalies (Mason McDonald of the QMJHL being the other) to be invited. Blackwood is neck-and-neck with Erie’s Devin Williams for the best goals-against average in the OHL, while also sitting second in wins (16) and first in save percentage (0.930).

Blackwood also got an extended look in Team OHL’s first game against Russia in the Super Series in Owen Sound, when he made 25 saves in a 3-0 OHL win. “We’ve liked him (Blackwood) since the summer which is why we took him to (summer development) camp,” explained Jankowski. He had a great game in Owen Sound during the Super Series, and did exactly what he needed to do to earn a spot here.”

In front of Blackwood on the blueline could be a few names OHL fans are familiar with. Travis Dermott (Erie), Vince Dunn (Niagara), and Roland McKeown (Kingston) all received invitations to camp along with the lone draft eligible OHL’er of the bunch in Jakob Chychrun. Dunn, Dermott and McKeown are 1, 2, 3 in scoring among OHL defencemen, and could provide Canada with the type of responsible two-way game they’re hoping to get out of their blueline this year. Chychrun meanwhile, had a slower start to the year thanks to last season’s shoulder surgery, but Hockey Canada has been pleased with the progress he’s made over the first third of the season.

In terms of forwards, there’s plenty of firepower and a little experience coming from Ontario. Lawson Crouse (Kingston) is one of just three returnees for Canada this year, and is hoping for back-to-back gold medals. His best friend Travis Konecny (Ottawa) has an opportunity to join Crouse on the journey, something the two are excited about.

“To be able to do this with your best friend is something really special,” Crouse said through a smile. “We were texting yesterday when we found out. We couldn’t really tell anyone else though because you have to keep it quiet.”

Jankowski says that, if he makes it, Konecny brings a lot of energy and excitement with him every time he steps on the ice. The same could be said of many of the forwards picked out of the OHL, as London’s Mitch Marner (fourth in league scoring) and Erie’s Dylan Strome (tied with Marner) were invited to camp along with Michael Dal Colle (Oshawa), Brendan Perlini (Niagara), Mitchell Stephens (Saginaw), and Spencer Watson (Kingston).

While Marner and Strome have been linked the past couple of years through the NHL Draft and division battles between the Otters and Knights, the two may be teammates in a few weeks time and doing battle with a couple of current teammates.

“D (Christian Dvorak) I’m not worried about, I can handle him. Tkachuk worries me though, he can be kind of a loose cannon sometimes,” Marner said with a laugh when asked about the prospect of potentially facing some current teammates. Those two, along with Erie Otter and American Alex Debrincat lead the OHL in scoring and could be part of a very dangerous Team USA.

Other News and Notes:

-Team Canada will two games against the CIS on December 12 and 13. Former OHLers Kevin Bailie (Oshawa/London), Spencer Abraham (Brampton/Erie), Tim Campbell (Guelph), Colin Behenna (Barrie), Liam Heelis (Peterborough/Owen Sound), and Eric Locke (Windsor/Barrie/Saginaw) are former OHLers taking part.

-The process is a little different this year for Lawson Crouse. Not only is he looked upon more as a leader for Canada this time, but he got to go through the whole process this year. He missed summer camp last year while at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

-Crouse also mentioned that teammates Spencer Watson and Roland McKeown are very excited about the opportunity in front of them and the three of them have talked a lot about it.

-Marner mentioned that when he got the call he was exhausted, having just come off a three-in-three with the Knights this past weekend. He wasn’t sure he was going to answer the call until he looked down and saw the area code. At that point he just hoped Ryan Jankowski couldn’t tell how groggy he was.

Bryan Thiel is a freelance broadcaster who has covered the OHL from rink-side and the broadcast booth. He has also helped produce OHL features for the past four seasons. You can follow him on Twitter @BryanThiel_88.


Eight From OHL Named to Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup Roster

Hockey Canada announced the 22 players that made the final cut for the Ivan Hlinka tournament on Tuesday, and the roster will include eight players from the OHL joining Head Coach Jody Hull.

On defense, Matthew Spencer from the Peterborough Petes and Mitchell Vande Sompel of the Oshawa Generals both made the team, while forwards Lawson Crouse (Kingston), Graham Knott (Niagara), Travis Konecny (Ottawa), Mitchell Marner (London), Mitchell Stephens (Saginaw), and Dylan Strome (Erie) were all included on the final 22-man roster.

Both Crouse and Konecny played on the 2014 IIHF U-18 World Championship team as under-agers in April. They were able to help Team Canada to a bronze medal.

Canada has won the tournament six-straight years, and has failed to win gold just five times since 1991.

Bryan Thiel is a freelance broadcaster who’s covered the OHL from rink side and the broadcast booth. He’s also filed feature reports on the OHL for the past three seasons. You can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.