From the Alliance to the OHL – October Edition

Suzuki

With the OHL season getting underway in late September, it was great to see so many 2001 born Alliance players making their OHL clubs. In addition to the 01’s, there were plenty of 2000 alumni who were also making the step to major junior hockey.

As we did last season, every month we are going to be taking a look at some of the Alliance standouts each month and how they are doing in the OHL. Having covered both the 2001 and 2000 age groups extensively, I will be looking at both years to see who is standing out in the league and there are plenty.
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2016/17 Alliance Scout Player Rankings 1-5

After four months of hockey and a whirlwind of games, we have finally reached, in my opinion, the top five players in the Alliance association. The top five is mainly dominated by incredibly skilled forwards and a player who I’ve heard some comparisons to a top end defenseman from last season.

One thing should be noted about this list. These are the top players in the Alliance in my opinion, regardless of eligibility for certain drafts. That may be a giveaway as to who could possibly be involved in the top five, but just wanted to make that clear ahead of time to avoid any confusion. Click here for full article

From the Alliance to the OHL (November Edition)

Better late than never as they say. November was another good month for Alliance alumni when it came to Junior Hockey. While some players were sent back to Jr. B teams as players were returned to the OHL from their NHL clubs, many Alliance players were thriving at the Jr. B level while the ones left at the OHL level were still making their mark on games.

In addition to the 2000 born players getting their feet wet, you have the 1999 born players gaining traction as the 2017 NHL Draft is quickly approaching and players are either rising or falling down the mock draft lists.

Now that we have somewhat solidified where these guys will be playing for the remainder of the season, these won’t just include those that are in the OHL, but those were are making their impacts in others leagues across Southwestern Ontario.

Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting (Huron-Perth Lakers)

Hinz continued to impress and even surprise some scouts as he has been steady in his production level for the Sting. Hinz put in three goals and six points over 11 games in the month of November and was solid on the defensive side of the puck as well, contributing a +1 rating.

Hinz will continue to gain more experience as the season progresses and could see a few extra minutes with Adam Ruzicka away at the World Juniors. With the role he currently sees on the team, Hinz is well on his way to becoming a key piece for the 2017/18 Sting team. Click here for full article

From the Alliance to the OHL (October Edition)

lalonde

While the current season of Minor Midget hockey continues to roll on with games getting more intense, it’s always interesting to take a look back at some of the players who were playing in the same rinks one year ago and where they are now.

When it comes to the 2000 born players from the Alliance, there are a good crop of players who are succeeding in their next level of hockey. Some are making an impact at the Jr. B and Jr. C level while others are continuing to play minor hockey at the Major Midget level.

For a select few players though, they were able to jump directly from Minor Midget into the lineups of some OHL clubs. Some have thrived while others are taking their time to adjust to a faster paced game. The players who have made that jump are now one step closer to achieving their dream.

So let’s take a look at some of the former Alliance standouts who now showcase their talents in the OHL.
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2016/17 Windsor Jr. Spitfires Season Preview

 windsor

2015/16 Minor Midget Final Standings: 15-12-6 (6th Place)

2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Lost to London in 7 in Semi-Finals (Advanced to OHL Cup)

2015/16 Major Bantam Final Standings: 10-12-8 (6th Place)

2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Lost in 3 to Kitchener in Preliminary Round

While the Minor Midget team last year was enjoying a world of success near the end of the year, the bantam team had their season ended with an upset. The 2001 age group is aiming to duplicate their predecessors success this season.

The 2000 team last year was the typical story of a team that got stronger and better as the season went on. They succeeded with mistake free hockey and great chemistry to go from a 6th seed in the Alliance to arguably having the best showing of any Alliance team in the OHL Cup this past March. Led by Owen Lalonde, the #2 pick in this year’s OHL Priority Selection Draft, Windsor was a prime example of a team that stayed together throughout their years in hockey and thrived at the end.
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2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results

The day that so many players and families have been waiting for has finally arrived. The OHL Draft has arrived and with plenty of anticipation.

For the live blog today, we will go through with you every single round and discuss every Alliance player selected in the draft. Historically, the Alliance has produced approximately 42 players into the OHL Draft on a yearly basis. Not a lot considering that there are over 200 players combined in the league.

Just remember, if your name gets called to savour the moment. Do not dwell if it is lower than you were expecting as your draft position is just a number and your future play will determine everything. Those players who will not be as fortunate to hear their name, hard work can still present that opportunity to you. Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators knows that first hand and he is a story that should give motivation for any undrafted players still looking to make that jump to major junior hockey.

With everything said, sit back and relax if that’s possible. The draft begins at 9am and we will be here with you for its entirety.

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Final Alliance Scout Top 25 Player Rankings

Just a couple days out from the OHL Priority Selection Draft and so much is still happening. The excitement for players, parents and coaches starts to hit its peak as the anticipation grows.

Plenty is still happening on the team front as it was announced today that the #3 overall pick was going to be forfeited by the Flint Firebirds due to the abomination that was their ownerships first season. With that news, there is even more talk about plenty of possibilities on who could fall where.

A lot of the talk includes Alliance Player of the Year Owen Lalonde. The Windsor defenseman seems to be a lock to be selected in the top 10 with some mock drafts placing him top five or in a couple cases top three. High praise for the young man, but that leads us into the final player rankings.

The top 25 saw some changes from its predecessor as playoff performances had some players jump while other players took a step back. Although a player does not make the top 25, that most certainly won’t exclude them from possibly hearing their name on Saturday. On average, the Alliance produces upwards of 45 picks every year. Look for a more in depth look at those stats before Saturday.

With that said, let’s begin the countdown and there is only one place to begin.

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2015/16 Alliance Year-End Awards

Wow has it been a long time since anything has been posted here. Still feels like yesterday that I was in Toronto taking in the OHL Cup and still doesn’t feel all that long ago that the Alliance playdowns were getting underway during a blizzard in Perth County.

With that said, the 2015/16 season produced some memorable goals and some fantastic games. It is hard to believe that tryouts for next season are getting started in the next week or two.

Before we shut the door on this past season, I thought it would be apt to hand out some season end awards to those deserving of the praise. Some may be obvious while others may be a bit of a surprise. These were not easy decisions for some, but others just stuck out in my mind like a sore thumb that they should be recognized accordingly.

Stanley Cup – Waterloo Wolves

This was an easy one, although it was far from easy for the Wolves. Waterloo battled London tooth and nail down to the end before clinching their third straight Minor Midget Alliance championship. The biggest takeaway from the series was the depth that Waterloo had on their roster. Like guys like Liam Hartman and Mason McMahon missing most of the season and Mitch Hoelscher banged up for the final couple of games, others stepped up to help give Waterloo just enough to claim victory.

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Alliance Hockey takes on OHL Cup – OHL Cup Preview

With the OHL Cup set to kick off this evening, three Alliance teams will be given the chance to step up on the big stage and try to upset the tradition of GTHL dominating this tournament.

After the Kitchener Jr. Rangers lost in double overtime to the Don Mills Flyers, the three teams challenging for the title will be Alliance champion Waterloo Wolves, the London Jr. Knights and the Windsor Jr. Spitfires. All three teams are in tough with some very talented squads in each division. Luckily, no Alliance teams are in the same division so fans will be able to see some fresh matchups.

Subban Division:

York-Simcoe Express

Toronto Red Wings

Windsor Jr. Spitfires

Mississauga Senators

Kingston Jr. Frontenacs

The team from Windsor is in the only division at the OHL Cup to feature two wild card teams with both Mississauga and Kingston gaining entry with the extra win. Windsor is coming into this tournament playing their best hockey of the season and they showed some great heart in their final game of the Alliance season, coming from behind to take down Kitchener in their four point mini series.

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Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (6) Windsor Jr. Spitfires

Season Series:

London over Windsor 5-2 (Nov. 8)

London over Windsor 4-2 (Dec. 13)

London over Windsor 2-1 (Jan. 4)

The top seed in the Alliance this year, the London Jr. Knights, will do battle with the only team to score an upset based on the standings in the Windsor Jr. Spitfires.

In their first round series, London relied on an unstoppable offense to blast their way past Chatham-Kent while Windsor used their tight defense and some surprising offense to get by Elgin-Middlesex in four games. You could consider this series as London’s offensive power against Windsor’s defensive prowess and that is one reason I absolutely love this series.

When you look at the season series, it’s easy to look at the fact that London went 3-0 and think that this series would be no different. In those three games though, Windsor was never actually out of a game and were always just a goal away from changing the game. Their first meeting in November had Windsor battle back from being down 3-0 early to close the gap to 3-2 at the flood. Same results in December with the exact same score at the flood. The one thing you can look at is the fact that Windsor was never out shot by London, which you would expect to happen at least once with the multiple weapons the Jr. Knights have.

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