OHL Prospect Profile: Henry Mews

Henry Mews is one of the top 2006-born defencemen eligible for the 2022 OHL Draft. With speed, flair, confidence and versatility, Mews projects to be a game-breaking player at the OHL-level and beyond.

– Henry Mews –

Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL) | Defence | 2022 OHL Draft Eligible

Nepean, ON | 6′, 180lbs | May 9th, 2006

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens are, to no one’s surprise, a powerhouse in the GTHL once again this season. The club made this fact abundantly clear in their International Silver Stick Championship victory over the equally capable Mississauga Senators in a clash between what could very well be the top two teams in Ontario. One major influence in the Jr. Canadiens’ run to the Championship — and in their success throughout the current season as a whole — has been defenceman Henry Mews. The native of Nepean, Ontario is a superb two-way defenceman who can impact the game in all three zones of the ice. Eerily reminiscent to former high-end GTHL defenders such as Ty Nelson and Jamie Drysdale, Mews is an impressive young player who boasts immense potential at the OHL-level and beyond.


  • Skating Speed and Agility
  • Edge-Work
  • Hockey Sense and Offensive Instincts
  • Two-Way Ability
  • Playmaking Capabilities
  • Shot Release and Penetration
  • Competitiveness
  • Defensive Prowess

The foundation of Mews’ game is his speed and agility on the ice. The youngster can fly throughout the ice with absolute ease regardless of whether the puck is on his stick or not. In his defensive end, Mews can track down and smother opposing forwards before moving the puck to his teammates or breaking the puck out on his own. Owing to his high-end offensive instincts, Mews loves to join the rush when it is safe to do so and is downright dangerous when the puck is on his stick. He has the ability to carry the puck end-to-end before unleashing a shot on goal or devising a lethal play with his fellow teammates. As a prospect who has played significant stretches of his career at various forward positions, Mews has a well-rounded understanding of the game in all three zones of the ice and owns an innate sense of confidence with regards to when it is safe for his to act as an offensive threat rather than a shutdown defenceman. In fact, Mews led the HEO in scoring in his U14 season — collecting 25 goals and 62 point in 29 contests — all while playing multiple positions on the ice.

Some might classify Mews as somewhat of a rover, but fact is Mews is a defenceman first and an offensive threat second — however, his ability to play both roles in a seamless fashion can lead to mixed opinions of his future at the next level. However, we feel there is no question that Mews will develop into a sensational player at the OHL-level. Not only does Mews already boast solid size and strength, but he owns intangible abilities that are downright difficult for many high-level players to adapt. Mews’ ability to feel the game and its ebbs and flows is something to behold, as the youngster has an impressive feel for the game and regularly makes accurate and confident decisions with the well-being of his team being at the forefront of his thought process.

Future Potential:

At the end of the day, Henry Mews will be a game changer at the OHL-level and beyond. Despite playing against many of the best players in Ontario in the GTHL this season, Mews has made the game look easy on countless occasions owing to his innate sense for the game and high-end skill set. Much like Ty Nelson at the end of his GTHL career, Mews is a step above his competition and is ready for the challenges which the major-junior level will present. Come the 2022 OHL Draft, expect Mews to be one of the first defencemen selected — if not the first.

Related: 2022 OHL Draft Ranking – December’s Top-50


OHL Prospect Profile: Michael Hage

Michael Hage of the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens is a well-rounded centre and one of the most complete prospects eligible for the 2022 OHL Draft. Learn about his game, here.

– Michael Hage –

Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL) | Centre | 2022 OHL Draft Eligible

Oakville, ON | 6′, 175lbs | April 14th, 2006

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens are a perennial powerhouse in the GTHL, and this year’s club is no different.

Leading the charge for the Jr. Canadiens in 2021-22 is none other than Michael Hage — an incredibly well-rounded centre who plays an excellent two-way game defined by its attention to detail and potency. In fact, not only is Hage able to devise and capitalize on high-percentage scoring chances in the offensive zone, but he is also capable of shutting down his opposition’s top players in his defensive zone — a skill set which combines to make him one of the top prospects eligible for the 2022 OHL Draft.


  • Edge-work and Balance
  • Acceleration
  • Shot Strength and Release
  • Playmaking Abilities
  • Hockey Sense
  • Two-Way Ability
  • Face-offs
  • Defensive Aptitude

The list of Hage’s strengths is long, and for good reason. Hage can seemingly do it all on the ice, whether he takes to it at even-strength, on the power-play or on the penalty-kill. Driving Hage’s play are his excellent skating abilities, as the youngster boats excellent edge-work, balance and acceleration on his blades. These capabilities allow Hage to create space from his opposition in the offensive zone, track them down in the defensive zone and protect the puck with ease when it is on his stick.

This ability to create time and space for himself affords Hage with ample time to create scoring chances or unleash his stellar shot on goal. Owing to his impressive vision and hockey sense, Hage can execute high-risk passes with relative ease and improve the play and productivity of his fellow teammates in the process. When Hage does decide to uncork his wicked wrister on net, it is remarkably accurate and has the velocity necessary to overwhelm opposing goaltenders before they have the time to react. Hage’s combined playmaking and goal-scoring abilities allow him to stand as a multi-faceted and therefore unpredictable player in the offensive zone.

Rounding out Hage’s game are the abilities he possesses which separate him from his the majority of his peers. As a centre, Hage is strong in the face-off circle — he wins the bulk of his draws and, therefore, helps to bolster his team’s time with possession. Moreover, as we touched on above, Hage is a detail-oriented two-way player. Sure, he is a lethal offensive player, but he is also a centre who doesn’t take unnecessary risks or neglect his defensive zone. He is aware of his defensive responsibilities and positions himself well in order to support his defencemen and facilitate efficient breakouts.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Personal Strength

When it comes to Hage and areas in which he would do well to improve, there are few. As we’ve stated on multiple occasions, Hage is a very well-rounded player, meaning there are very few holes in his game. Like most players of his age, Hage would do well to bolster his personal strength in the years ahead — progress which will come naturally as he matures. If able to add extra strength to his growing frame, Hage will be able to transition to the OHL-level with ease and become even more difficult to knock off of the puck in the process.

Future Potential:

At the end of the day, Hage has the skill and ability necessary to develop into an elite player at the OHL-level and beyond. His lethal offensive instincts, leadership, innate two-way play and natural ability to improve the productivity of those around him combine to make him a player worth watching for years to come. In fact, Hage’s game is eerily reminiscent of former Toronto Jr. Canadiens star forward Pano Fimis, who was chosen second-overall in the 2020 OHL Draft by the Niagara IceDogs. If Hage can follow a similar developmental path to that of Fimis, he will be well on his way to becoming a household name.

OHL Prospect Profile: Pano Fimis

Pano Fimis of the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens is a dynamic offensive force — he can bulge the twine, set up a teammate, or set the tone through his physical play. In short, it comes as no surprise that he’s a top prospect eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft.

– Pano Fimis –

Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL) | Centre | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible

Richmond Hill, Ontario | 5’9″, 157-pounds | June 17th, 2004

Although he is of a shorter stature than the average player eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Pano Fimis is persistently productive and endlessly dangerous in all three zones of the ice. As an extremely hard-working player who strives to ensure success for his team, Fimis has the ability to single-handedly drive his team’s offensive game with startling consistency. Moreover, Fimis’ all-around game continues to grow — the youngster is steadily developing into a 200-foot centre who can be utilized and relied upon regardless of the situation on the ice.

Ahead of the 2020 OHL Draft, Fimis is skating for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the GTHL. Following the departure of Adam Fantilli — a youngster widely regarded as the top prospect available — Fimis has taken on the role of team captain as well as stepped up his offensive game. As a natural leader on the ice, Fimis pushes his team forward by example and rarely falls into scoring slumps. With this being said, let’s take a closer look at Fimis’ strengths before assessing his areas in which to improve.


  • Skating Speed and Acceleration
  • Shot Release and Velocity
  • Innate Offensive Instincts and Playmaking
  • Work Ethic and Competitiveness

Standing as the foundation of Fimis’ game are his strong skating abilities and relentless work ethic. Each and every time Fimis takes to the ice he is a force, as the youngster boasts a seemingly tireless engine and routinely out-skates his opponents. Not only does Fimis feature impressive conditioning, but his ability to reach top speed in a short number of strides provides him with a distinct advantage over his opponents. Whether he be rushing the puck up ice, working wide around a defender or simply driving to the net, Fimis is a tough player to stop once his feet and hands start moving.

It is Fimis’ stellar skating abilities which fuel one of his most dangerous tools — his shot. Capable of firing the puck on goal from a standstill or while in the middle of his stride, Fimis consistently powders the puck on goal with a devastating degree of velocity. Hard and accurate, Fimis can catch the puck and release it on goal in the blink of an eye — an ability which doesn’t bode well for opposing netminders who often fumble the puck or produce rebounds if able to stop it at all. When you take into account the lethality of Fimis’ shot, his hard-working nature, and his well-rounded abilities on the ice in all three zones, it is abundantly clear as to why Fimis is regarded as one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Skating Stability
  • 200-foot Play

When it comes to the areas of Fimis’ game which stand in need of improvement, there isn’t a great deal of information to note. However, if one was to nitpick, Fimis’ skating stability would do well to improve in the coming years. Despite standing as an excellent skater who can move throughout the ice with ease, Fimis can — at times — be knocked off of the puck easily, and especially so by his larger opponents. Yet, as he ages and becomes stronger, this facet of Fimis’ game will surely become a strength. The ability to fend off his opponents will, in turn, feed Fimis’ play in all three zones of the ice. Once stronger and more stable on his skates, Fimis will be able to play a stronger and more consistent role in his defensive end as well as the neutral zone.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Fimis boasts the skill-set and abilities necessary to flourish into a consistent offensive force at the OHL-level. Owing to his hard-nosed and competitive style of play, Fimis should face little issue transitioning to the major-junior ranks, where his strong skating and decisive puck-handling abilities will allow him to contribute offensively in his inaugural campaign. Once larger and more mature physically, Fimis will undoubtedly come to dominate his opponents at the OHL-level and beyond.

2020 OHL Prospect Profile: Aidan Castle

Aidan Castle of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens is projected to be an offensive leader in the GTHL this season. With a keen sense of the ice and an admirable compete level, Castle should be considered one of the top prospects for the 2020 OHL Draft.

– Aidan Castle –

Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL) | Right Wing | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible

Toronto, Ontario | 5’11”, 165-pounds | January 8, 2004

A veteran of the 2004-born Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Aidan Castle is not only looked upon to drive the offence for his team, but to shut down the opposition in key defensive moments as well. Although JRC boasts an incredibly deep lineup full of offensively-capable forwards, Castle consistently sticks out with his compete level and play away from the puck.

Related: Don’t miss any of our 2020 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

A leader by example, Castle is a hound on the puck and doesn’t change his skating level whether he’s in possession of the puck or chasing it down. In spite of the fact that Castle doesn’t tower over his opponents, he’ll never be one to shy away from engaging in the physical aspect of the game.

With this being said, let’s break down the components of Castle’s game.


  • Sense and Vision
  • Shot Release and Accuracy
  • Two-Way Awareness

Aidan Castle is the type of player you can rely on in any situation. He shows a consistent and admirable compete level in all three zones and is constantly hounding opponents to force key turnovers. Although he doesn’t have the biggest or strongest frame, he often uses his body and momentum to knock players off of the puck and to win loose puck battles.

Castle isn’t afraid to backcheck deep into the defensive zone in order to offer support for his defencemen and provide a safer outlet to get the breakout started. With the puck, Castle consistently showcases an impressive skill-set and a high level of hockey sense. Often playing the wing, Castle excels at finding himself open space to make himself a dangerous passing option.

Whether that’s accomplished by drifting in behind his line mates on the rush, or by curling out into the slot from the half-wall, Castle is a player who ends up in the right places at the right times thanks to his ability to scan developing plays. With a heavy and accurate snap shot, Castle’s quick release allows him to beat goaltenders in transition or on clean looks. But, he can set his teammates up just as well.


  • Acceleration and Top Speed

To be able grow into a more consistent and multi-dimensional threat on the ice, Castle could use some more explosive skating. While by no means a poor skater, Castle has yet to demonstrate separation speed with the puck, which would allow him to blow by defenders on the outside and drive the net with greater effectiveness.

As Castle continues to grow and fill out his frame, this aspect of his game may come naturally with greater lower-body strength. If it does, beware, because Castle has all the attributes to become a dynamic offensive force in the OHL and beyond.

Future Potential:

In all, Aidan Castle should be considered one of the top prospects to keep an eye on this season. As a key member of the powerhouse Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Castle will be looked upon to be an offensive leader and a reliable, all situation winger.

He has proven that he has the ability to excel under pressure, and now Castle simply needs to put that offensive upside on display throughout a consistent season. If he can accomplish that, he won’t have to wait long to hear his name called at the 2020 OHL Draft.

2020 OHL Prospect Profile: Ty Nelson

Ty Nelson of the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens is a superb two-way defender of ample upside. Come the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, he will undoubtedly be regarded as one of the top prospects eligible for selection.

– Ty Nelson –

Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL) | Defense | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible

Toronto, Ontario | 2004-born

The 2019-20 GTHL season marks Ty Nelson’s second campaign at the Minor Midget level, a league within which he has continued to develop and hone his consistently growing game. A star defenceman for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Nelson has become a premier two-way player capable of dominating his opposition at both ends of the ice.

In the defensive zone, Nelson’s acceleration and lateral agility allow him to contain and smother attacking forwards before dispossessing them with relative ease — Nelson boasts a quick and active stick. Once in possession of the puck, Nelson fuels his team’s stellar transition game by making quick and accurate passes to his forwards as the begin to exit the zone. These abilities lead to dramatic puck possession for Nelson and the Jr. Canadiens, a reality which propels the team’s lethal offensive attack.

Related: OHL Draft Rankings –

Speaking of offence, Nelson is no slouch when it comes to the attacking zone. Incredibly confident when in possession of the puck and not afraid to take risks to create offence, Nelson can devise scoring chances for his team in the opposing zone and features the ability to quarter-back his team’s power-play to boot. In short, Nelson is a staple within the Jr. Canadiens’ roster and arguably his team’s most effective and valuable player.

With this being said, let’s assess some of Nelson’s strengths.


  • Skating Speed and Acceleration
  • Puck Poise and Vision
  • Playmaking Ability
  • Confidence and Composure

When it comes to Nelson’s strengths on the ice, there are plenty.

First and foremost there are Nelson’s skating abilities, a trait which we touched on above. As soon as Nelson hops the bench and heads onto the ice, it’s hard not to notice him. Whether he is in possession of the puck or not, Nelson is always moving with speed and a purpose — if not in possession, Nelson will use his blistering speed and edge-work to make himself open for a pass or to support his team’s rush up ice.

When in possession, Nelson can absolutely fly and has the ability to weave around opposing players at will. All the while, however, Nelson remains incredibly composed and calm — a facet of his game which allows him to view and assess the ice before making informed decisions at a high rate of speed. This remarkable level of poise allows Nelson to create and implement scoring plays and chances at an impressive rate, as the youngster can sense the positioning of his teammates and move the puck to them in the blink-of-an-eye.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is Nelson’s general confidence on the ice. As mentioned earlier, Nelson is not afraid to take risks in order to generate offence for his team. However, when Nelson does takes risks, his decisions are calculated based on the on-ice information which he receives — a reality which allows Nelson to take risks and succeed on an over-whelming basis.


  • Strength and Stability

When it comes to weaknesses within Nelson’s game, there aren’t any that detract from his overall play whatsoever. If one was to nitpick — like we’ll do now — they would likely discuss Nelson’s general strength and skating stability. Yet, it is crucial to remember that Nelson — like all of the Minor Midget hockey world — is just 15 years-of-age, meaning that he will only continue to add greater strength to his frame in the coming years.

So, while Nelson would surely benefit from greater size and strength — like all players his age — these traits will surely come in time.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Nelson has the skill-set and potential necessary to develop into a premier two-way defenceman at the OHL-level and beyond. As a stellar skater who sees the ice well and can operate within it without issue, Nelson will surely be selected very early come the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.

If he can continue to strengthen his existing skill-set while improving his all-around game, there’s no telling how dominant Nelson could become.

2019 Toronto Titans Early Bird: Top-10 Performers

Check out the Top-10 Performers from the 2019 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament. The tournament officially kicked off the Minor midget season and provided an early glimpse into the 2020 OHL Draft class.

In the blink of an eye, the 12th Annual Toronto Titans Early Bird Prospect Tournament has come and gone, officially opening the 2019-20 Minor Midget season and providing an early glimpse into the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.

In what was a truly entertaining week of hockey, the 53 teams involved in the tournament gave fans and families alike a look into the special talent available in the 2004-born OHL Draft class.

Tournament Recap

Following a high-paced and high-scoring Round Robin portion of the tournament, six teams entered the elongation round with perfect 4-0-0 records; the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Quinte Red Devils, Toronto Titans, Toronto Nationals, and Ajax-Pickering Raiders.

The Round of 16 commenced on Saturday night and provided some nail-biting games, as well as a couple of major upsets. The undefeated Red Devils were downed by the Mississauga in a crazy and back-and-forth contest that finished 7-6. The Raiders also drew a tough draw, and eventually bowed out in a tight game to the Toronto Marlboros, 2-0.

Early Sunday morning, the Quarter-Finals took place, with six of the eight teams coming from the GTHL. In the end, the Titans, Jr. Canadiens, Mississauga Reps, and Nationals came away victorious, settling up an all-GTHL Semi-Final.

In a battle of two high-octane offences, the Jr. Canadiens came away with the win over the Titans by a final of 5-3. Meanwhile, in a much more defence-oriented matchup, the Nationals continued to roll in a 2-0 victory over the upstart Reps.

That set up a Final between the Jr. Canadiens and the Nationals. JRC came out strong to start the game and were rewarded with a quick 2-0 lead in the first period, in the back of two power play goals. The Nats would respond, but entered the first intermission down 2-1.

Following a tight checking second period, the Nats were able to claw back and tie the game at two. Later, with four minutes remaining in the third, Wilson Farrow was able to sneak a shot by and give the Nats a late, 3-2 lead. Two empty-net goals later, and the Toronto Nationals found themselves as the 2019 Titans Early Bird Champions.

Top-10 Performers:

As mentioned, the tournament provided an outlet for numerous players to make a name for themselves heading into their OHL Draft year.

While the expected stars held their own and were consistently impressive, many prospects were able to showcase their talents and drive their name into the conversation of the 2020 OHL Draft’s top prospects.

1: Aidan Castle – Right Wing – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)

Our selection for the 2019 Titans Early Bird Tournament MVP, Aidan Castle wrapped up the tournament ranking second in goals, with nine, and first in points, with 18. Castle was as consistent as can be through the Jr. Canadiens eight games, tallying at least one point in each and every contest, leading the team all the way to the Final.

Featuring a feisty and competitive nature, Castle is a hound on the puck and leads by example with a consistent effort level at both ends of the ice. With a low, strong center of gravity, Castle can be very difficult to knock off of the puck, which poses problems for opponents as he causes havoc on the cycle down low. From there, he creates scoring chances by jumping off of the half wall either with puck possession or to slip behind defenders to make himself a viable passing option. Castle can also be a noticeable physical presence on the forecheck, effectively using his strength to separate opponents from the puck and force turnovers.

2: Ty Nelson – Defence – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)

Ty Nelson quickly proved his upside as a two-way defender at this year’s Toronto Titans Early Bird, adding four goals and nine assists in the tournament, ranking fourth overall with 13 points, as the Jr. Canadiens went on to a second place finish. This wasn’t Nelson’s first rodeo at the Titans Early Bird either, as the blue-chip prospect participated in last year’s tournament as a member of the ’03 Jr. Canadiens.

Nelson is regarded as one of the top defence prospects for the 2020 OHL Draft, showcasing elite skating skills and a tremendous sense of the ice, he can truly be an impact player at both ends of the rink. Nelson showed an innate ability to escape pressure with the puck on his stick, and excelled in transitioning the play up ice through a multitude of options. He also patrols the blue line with poise and confidence, and distributes the puck laterally on the power play. As well, he likes to use a quick snap shot from the point, looking for seams between traffic to catch goaltenders off-guard.

3: Zak Lavoie – Center – Toronto Nationals (GTHL)

A member of the ’04 Jr. Canadiens in bantam, Zak Lavoie took his talents to the Toronto Nationals organization for the minor midget season in hopes of being the player his team can lean on. With so much talent on JRC, both returning and incoming, Lavoie opted to search for the spotlight, and potentially create a dark-horse team in the GTHL. If the Titans Early Bird was any indication, he may have done just that.

Lavoie was one of the most dynamic forwards in the tournament from start to finish, racking up 10 goals and one assist in the tournament, leading the way in goals, as the Nats fought their way to a surprising Championship. As indicated by his goal total, Lavoie is a natural scorer with a wicked release and pin-point accuracy. He reads the ice really well in the offensive zone, and is always moving his feet in order to slip into open ice and make himself a passing option. He’s got quick and creative hands as well, making himself dangerous in tight space.

4: Nicholas Moldenhauer – Right Wing – Toronto Titans (GTHL)

After taking home the OHF All-Ontario Bantam Championships, expectations are high for the Toronto Titans entering the 2019-20 season. One player who will be leaned on heavily to drive the team’s offence is Nicholas Moldenhauer, and he did just that at the Titans Early Bird. Finishing the tournament with six goals and eight assists, to rank third overall with 14 points, Moldenhauer was a key component on the Titans run to the Semi-Finals.

Moldenhauer combines speed, skill, and awareness to consistently be one of the most dangerous players on the ice. He always has his head up and is constantly reading developing plays for opportunities to force turnovers or create odd-man rushes. With quick hands and a powerful stride, Moldenhauer is especially dangerous on the rush and off of the half-wall. With a strong surrounding cast, Moldenhauer should be one of the top offensive contributors all year long.

5: Pano Fimis – Center – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)

More of an under-the-radar forward for the star-studded Jr. Canadiens, Pano Fimis utilizes the Titan Early Bird Tournament to create a name for himself heading into the regular season. Despite the bigger names surrounding him, Fimis centred the most productive line in the tournament and played a responsible 200-foot game to boot. In the end, Fimis racked up six goals and 11 assists to finish second in tournament scoring with 17 points.

An intelligent, two-way center with lots of offensive upside, Fimis proved his value as a player who can be leaned on in any situation, at both ends of the ice. Reading the ice well, he is an effective playmaker who can create time and space for his teammates by slowing the game down and drawing defenders towards him. He also has a deceptive release and is able to get pucks on and off his blade in an instant to catch goaltenders off guard.

6: Adam Fantilli – Center – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)

The projected 1st overall pick for the 2020 OHL Draft, Adam Fantilli has entered the 2019-20 campaign with lofty expectations surrounding his name. After shredding minor midget as an under ager in 2018-19, Fantilli took his talents back to JRC after one year with the Toronto Red Wings. After a relatively slow start, Fantilli wrapped up the tournament with seven goals and four assists, finishing tied for fifth in tournament scoring.

Adam Fantilli has so many strengths to his game that it’s tough to sum them up concisely. With an electric first three steps, Fantilli has elite speed through the middle of the ice. Despite a December birth-date, he is clearly stronger than his opposition, who bounce off when trying to separate Fantilli from the puck. With a dynamic wrist shot, he can pick corners from short angles or simply blow pucks past opposing goaltenders. With a battery that doesn’t die, Fantilli is the definition of an offensive spark-plug.

7: Kyle Downey – Goaltender – Toronto Nationals (GTHL)

A huge reason for the Nats surge to the Titans Early Bird Championship was defence and goaltending, as the team allowed a combined eight goals across eight games of tournament action. Kyle Downey, along with his partner Nick Tsatsanis, were the last line of defence for the Nats, and were arguably the main reason behind the team’s success.

Downey came up huge when the games counted the most, showcasing an elite level of confidence and focus between the pipes. After falling behind 2-0 in the Championship game against the Jr. Canadiens, Downey didn’t blink, holding down the fort and giving the Nats a shot at a memorable comeback. Downey put his athleticism and lateral movement on display, making a number of highlight reel stops. With great size and positioning to boot, Downey proved his ability to single-handedly take over the course of a game.

8: Donovan McCoy – Defence – Quinte Red Devils (ETA)

One of the favourites for this tournament after capturing the OMHA Championships in 2018-19, the Quinte Red Devils bowed out earlier than they would’ve liked in the Round of 16. While the offence wasn’t up to it’s usual pace, Donovan McCoy was a consistent standout on the back-end. With tremendous speed and instincts through the neutral zone, McCoy was consistently able to jump into the rush to create offence.

Sporting solid size and some impressive strength, McCoy proved too much to handle for his opponents. While he can lock things down in his own end with an effective stick and body positioning, McCoy really takes over the game in the transition aspect. He can dish out three-line passes or skate the puck end-to-end himself. In the offensive zone, McCoy showed smart shot selection from the point, along with the skill to pinch in and drive the net as well.

9: Julian Facchinelli – Center – Markham Majors (GTHL)

Although the final result may not have been what the Markham Majors had drawn up, they showed some serious fight in earning a 2-2-0 round robin record. Leading the charge for the Majors was standout, Julian Facchinelli, who tallied an impressive eight goals in just four games to lead the tournament in goals through the round robin.

Facchinelli has spent time with the Jr. Canadiens and Mississauga Senators organization in the past, before moving to the Majors for Bantam and Minor Midget. He will undoubtedly continue to be the shining star for Markham throughout the course of the season, showcasing his wicked release and accuracy, as well as his sense of the ice to be able to find open ice in the offensive zone. A shifty skater, Facchinelli also has the skills to go end-to-end too. He will draw the focus of his opponents all year long.

10: Hunter Haight – Center – Elgin Middlesex Chiefs (Alliance)

Last year’s Alliance Champs, the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs didn’t exactly start off the 2019-20 season in the way they’d imagined, battling to a 2-2-0 record in the Round Robin. However, there were plenty of bright spots to build upon in hopes of defending their Alliance title. One of those bright spots was returning star forward, Hunter Haight, who added four goals and four assists to rank tied for fifth in points following the Round Robin.

With an admirable work ethic at both ends of the ice, Haight is a responsible, 200-foot player who can be trusted in any situation. Often regarded as more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer, Haight utilized the Titans Early Bird to prove that he can be a finisher as well. Showcasing impressive hockey sense, Haight is able to dictate the pace of play in the offensive zone and can effectively draw defenders out of position. Strong on his edges, Haight is a shifty skater and also has a quick yet powerful release.

Honourable Mentions:

Here are a few players who got serious consideration for the list of top-10 performers, but just missed out. However, they deserved some recognition as well. Players are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Sam Alfano – Southern Tier Admirals (SCTA)
  • Cole Bianchin – Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (T1EHL)
  • Lorenzo Bonaiuto – Toronto Marlboros (GTHL)
  • Ryder McIntyre – Ajax-Pickering Raiders (ETA)
  • Michael Podolioukh – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)
  • Matthew Poitras – Whitby Wildcats (ETA)
  • Nathan Poole – Oshawa Generals (ETA)
  • Shawn Ramsey – Toronto Nationals (GTHL)
  • Jake Sederoff – Toronto Titans (GTHL)
  • Max Seguin – Toronto Nationals (GTHL)
  • Trent Swick – Southern Tier Admirals (SCTA)
  • Noah Van Vliet – Toronto Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)
  • Joshua Vogelsberg – Mississauga Reps (GTHL)

2019 Toronto Titans Early Bird: Tournament Preview

The 2020 OHL Draft year officially gets underway with the start of the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament. Outlined in the Tournament Preview are this year’s top contenders and the future stars of the OHL to keep an eye on.

Just like that, we’re back for another exciting year in Ontario Minor Midget hockey and Prospect Pipeline’s second season.

Summer has officially come to an end with the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament set to get underway. The annual starting line for young stars in the making in their OHL draft year, the Titans Early Bird always sets the stage for the season and offers an early look into the draft class’ top prospects.

All the top 2004-born talent from across Ontario, and some of the United States, will come together for a memorable week to kick off the 2019-20 season and the 2020 OHL Draft year.

2018 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament Recap

Last year’s tournament, as usual, provided an excellent forecast into how the 2019 OHL Draft class would develop. The future stars showed their faces early and often, and the majority of teams which found success in the tournament would continue along to have very successful seasons.

As was expected, the Don Mills Flyers rolled their way to the tournament championship, battling to a combined 8-0-0 record. The tournament was led in scoring by the likes of Shane Wright, Danny Zhilkin, Brenden Sirizzotti, Josh Bloom, Wyatt Johnston, Liam Arnsby, and many more, while defencemen such as Brandt Clarke, Artem Guryev, and Roman Schmidt impressed from beginning to end.

All in all, the tournament proved that consistency is key, as those who started off hot and kept grinding throughout the course of the campaign went on to hear their names called very early in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

Top-5 Contenders

As for the 2019 version of the Titans Early Bird, there are a few early favourites to come away as champions, and several top prospects who will undoubtedly make up the majority of the top picks at the 2020 OHL Draft.

In the 2019 OHF All-Ontario Bantam Championships, it was the host Toronto Titans who came away with the elusive title, the organization’s first ever provincial championship.

Without further ado, here are the top-5 contenders to challenge for the Titans Early Bird title, along with some of the names to watch as the tournament rolls along.

1: Toronto Jr. Canadiens

Toronto Jr. Canadiens Logo

  • 2018-19 Regular Season Record: 28-4-1
  • 2019 League Playoff Result: Lost in GTHL Finals

While the ’04 Toronto Jr. Canadiens likely won’t be able to repeat the dominance of the ’03 Don Mills Flyers, they head into the season as the unanimous favourites to take home the Titans Early Bird Tournament, and should dominate all year long.

After a special regular season, the Jr. Canadiens rolled their way to the GTHL Finals where they would meet their rival Marlboros. In somewhat of a surprising result, it was the 2nd-seeded Marlboros who took home the title, winning the final series by a score of 8-4.

However, the Jr. Canadiens reloaded in a big way over the offseason. With the additions of projected 1st overall pick, Adam Fantilli, and likely 1st round pick, D Ty Nelson, the Jr. Canadiens will be bigger, stronger, and more talented at both ends of the ice. Fantilli was a leader for the Toronto Red Wings ’03 team last year, driving them all the way to the OHL Cup Final. Meanwhile, Nelson remained loyal throughout a long season with JRC minor midget squad.

Fantilli, Adam of the Toronto Red Wings. Photo by Dan Hickling OHL Images
Adam Fantilli joins the Toronto Jr. Canadiens after a noteworthy year with the Toronto Red Wings in 2018-19. He is the projected 1st overall pick for the 2020 OHL Draft. (Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/OHL Images)

Beyond those, JRC also added offensive defenceman, Thomas Sirman, who had a very impressive season with the York Simcoe Express ’03 team in 2018-19. Further, defensive stalwart, Noah Van Vliet, comes over after a memorable run with Fantilli and the Toronto Red Wings ’03’s. Last but not least, Lleyton McLean joins the team fresh off of a GTHL Championship with the rival Toronto Marlboros ’04’s.

Combined with a deep returning forward corps, featuing the likes of Aidan Puley, Kyan Haldenby, and Brice Cooke, this will be a tough team to match up against. Along the back end, Michael Buchinger and Ethan Best will return to form an admirable and offensive-minded blueline.

2: Toronto Marlboros

Toronto Marlboros Logo

  • 2018-19 Regular Season Record: 25-4-4
  • 2019 League Playoff Result: Won GTHL Championship

The team that took down the powerhouse Jr. Canadiens, the Toronto Marlboros will have a tougher time doing so in 2019-20 after their rival’s roster additions. But, they will likely be their biggest challenger.

The Marlboros are equally deep up front, but it’s the team’s two-way play and attention to detail in their own zone that makes them so difficult to play against. That was an integral part of their run to the GTHL Championship last season, allowing just eight goals against in six games in the GTHL Finals against the powerful Jr. Canadiens.

The Marlies had their own significant additions over the offseason. Two-way defender, Lane Hinkley, joins the team after playing up a year with the Vaughan Kings last season. As well, flashy and dynamic forward, Luke Devlin, comes over from the rival Toronto Titans. Both will be huge contributors to the team’s success this year.

Upfront, the Marlies are led by the quick and skilled returnee Paul Ludwinski, along with Lorenzo Bonaiuto, Vincenzo Baiocchi, and Eli Sebastian. Unfortunately, the loss of Lleyton McLean to JRC will certainly sting. On the back end, Isiah George and Matthew Jovanovic will lead the charge with their ability to make effective break out passes or to skate the puck through the neutral zone.

3: Quinte Red Devils

Quinte Red Devils Logo

  • 2018-19 Regular Season Record: 29-2-5
  • 2019 League Playoff Result: Gold Medal at OMHA Championships

The reigning OMHA Champions, the Quinte Red Devils are incredibly strong at every position, as indicated by their +128 goal differential over their 36 ETA games last season. They had a relatively easy run, capturing a gold medal at the OMHA Championships and eventually reaching the OHF All-Ontario Semi-Finals.

Quinte is led on offence by the dynamic duo of Dalyn Wakely and Owen Beck, two highly-skilled and intelligent goal-scorers. The surrounding cast is just as dangerous, including Cooper Matthews and Corbin Roach, the Red Devils have some extraordinary depth.

On defence, Quinte boasts a variety of defenders who can be relied upon to take care of any given situation. Donovan McCoy and Aaron Brown are two blue liners who will catch your eye on any given night with their ability to transition the play up ice and produce offence from the point.

4: Toronto Titans

Toronto Titans Logo

  • 2018-19 Regular Season Record: 20-7-6
  • 2019 League Playoff Result: Lost in GTHL Semi-Finals

Despite bowing out to the Marlboros in the GTHL Semi-Finals in six games, the Toronto Titans would go on to capture the OHF All-Ontario Bantam Championships; an enviable runner-up prize.

The Titans boast an offensively gifted lineup through and through. Led by the duo of Kocha Delic and Nicholas Moldenhauer, this is a team that isn’t afraid to run up the score, showcased by their 4.09 goals per game in the GTHL last season. They also added Jonathan Melee, a center who had a huge year with the Eastern Ontario Wild last year. It should be noted that Melee is QMJHL Draft eligible. Meanwhile, the loss of Luke Devlin to the Marlboros will leave a clear hole in the lineup.

With that said, don’t expect the Titans to shy away from their defensive responsibilities. With several defencemen capable of playing a shutdown role, the Titans will lean heavily on Mason Chen and Patrick Wrzesinski. Further, goaltenders Rowan Kimens and Liam Sztuska have each shown flashes of possibly becoming top goaltending prospects for the 2020 OHL Draft.

5: Southern Tier Admirals

Southern Tier Admirals Logo

  • 2018-19 Regular Season Record: 28-1-3
  • 2019 League Playoff Result: Silver Medal at OMHA Championships

Sporting an incredible regular season record in the SCTA, the Southern Tier Admirals plowed their way to the OMHA Championship game, coming up just short against the aforementioned Red Devils. Similarly, the Admirals sported a +110 goal differential in 32 SCTA contests.

Unfortunately for Southern Tier, they will be in tough to replicate their success from the 2018-19 campaign as a result of losing one of their top forwards, Owen Mehlenbacher, to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. In the meantime, Sam Alfano will take the reins; a skilled goal-scorer with size and strength to score some highlight reel goals.

Meanwhile, Andrew LeBlanc and Matthew Donnison are two defenders who can turn heads with their ability to shut down momentum in the defensive zone, and then quickly move the puck up ice with the strong skating skills.


2020 OHL Draft Top Prospect: Adam Fantilli

Although he isn’t eligible until the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Adam Fantilli of the Toronto Red Wings has already established himself as an elite prospect. Despite his age, Fantilli’s name is one that you need to know.

Although he is one of the youngest players eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Adam Fantilli is quickly becoming one of its most dynamic prospects.

Born in December of 2004, it is mind-boggling to comprehend that Fantilli has already competed against players nearly two years older than himself. Having skated for the Toronto Red Wings at the Minor Midget level before moving on to the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Fantilli quickly became one of the GTHL’s most electrifying players before departing for Kimball Union Academy — dazzling his opponents with speed and creativity each and every time he took to the ice.

In 2018-19, Fantilli skated alongside Kitchener Rangers prospect Francesco Pinelli, and  rarely looked out of place. Sure, he may not be strong as his opponents owing to his young age, however, Fantilli’s ability to process the game and operate within it has placed him into a class of his own ahead of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.

Developing an Offensive Dynamo

With Shane Wright awarded exceptional status by Hockey Canada ahead of the 2019-20 OHL season, Fantilli would appear to be a lock for first overall come the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. Sure, others will surely challenge Fantilli for the distinction, yet the youngster’s game could prove to be too well-rounded and dynamic for his Minor Midget colleagues to overcome.

As mentioned earlier, Fantilli is an explosive and purposeful skater — in fact, it is Fantilli’s skating which has come to define his game. Capable of meandering through opposing defences with relative ease, Fantilli relies on his superb edge-work and ample agility to give him an offensive edge. With separation speed and seemingly endless energy, Fantilli’s feet drive all components of his game.

What’s more is that in addition to his excellent footwork, Fantilli is an exceptional player-maker. As a forward who sees the ice well, Fantilli can move the puck to his teammates with confidence and regularly devises complex scoring opportunities. And, while Fantilli can drive the puck to the net himself, he stands as a much more versatile threat when he utilizes his teammates to his advantage.

One aspect of Fantilli’s game which will need to improve in the coming years, however, is the youngster’s on-ice discipline. Although he is as competitive as they come and determined to attain team success each and every time he steps onto the ice, Fantilli features a mean streak which can place him and his team into penalty trouble from time to time.

When able to reign in his aggression and direct it in a far more productive form, Fantilli stands as a boy amongst men despite being one of the youngest players on the ice and has the innate hockey sense and ability requisite of a top-tier OHL prospect and future NHL star.

The Years Ahead

While Fantilli is eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, there are no guarantees that he will take his talents to the OHL-level.

In the past, Fantilli has indicated his desire to play in the NCAA, and it goes without saying that there is surely substantial interest in his services south of the border. Although an NCAA commitment from Fantilli will likely not come until the 2020-21 season, he could select a destination much earlier given his proven potential as an elite prospect.

Most recently and following in his alleged interest to pursue an NCAA career, Fantilli walked away from the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens in order to play alongside his brother Luca with Kimball Union Academy within the USHS-Prep circuit. Although his option to play in the OHL still remains, it appears increasingly likely that Fantilli will compete in the NCAA in the near future given his commitment to the USHL’s Chicago Steel for the 2020-21 campaign.