The great ones – like Steven Stamkos played in the OMHA – with the next crop of OHL talent set to take to the ice at the OMHA Showcase in St. Catharines January 28 and 29.
Ten teams from the South Central AAA league (SCTA) minor midget AAAs will battle head-to-head in a series of games in front of pro, junior and university scouts at the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre. The event is a preview of the top picks in this spring’s Ontario Hockey League and, in a few short years, the National Hockey League draft. The OMHA is a premier player development league; recent grads now in the NHL include Stamkos, Matt Duchene, Corey Perry and Cody Hodgson.
The games played are regular season contests. Results will be available here.
Playing head-to-head in the same rink allows scouts the ability to compare talents in the same environment. The competing teams are the high-flying Southern Tier Admirals, Niagara North Stars, Niagara Rivermen, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Halton Hurricanes, Guelph Jr. Storm, Oakville Rangers, Brampton, Burlington Eagles and Grey Bruce Highlanders.
“You can sit there for two days and get a good read on kids before the playoffs start. This could be the last look for some kids before the OHL draft (in April),” said Ontario Hockey League Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley.
The weekend is about far more than scouting. The OMHA AAA Parent/Player Education Seminar will inform players and their families about the opportunities hockey can generate – options to play in the Ontario Hockey League or Ontario University Athletics.
“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.”
Special guest speakers include Tom Bly about OMHA programs that support player development, Murray Nystrom, head coach of the Brock Badgers men’s team and Brock player Derek Brochu, a grad of Welland Tigers minor hockey and the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack and Guelph Storm. More information about the guest speakers is available here.
"Brock University hockey is pleased to be part of this important weekend for OMHA players,” said Badgers’ coach Nystrom. “Development opportunities in OMHA centres continue to grow. This showcase weekend enhances the experience of these athletes and helps prepare them for their next level of play."
“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 Showcase sponsors include the OHL, OUA, Brock University, Pro Hockey Life, Under Armour, Rinknet Breakout, Shoeless Joe’s Restaurants, and Xilarate Sports Power Fluid.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)