Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the introduction of an annual Under-18 Priority Selection for Midget AAA hockey players in Ontario.
The inaugural OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will take place on Wednesday April 12, 2017, beginning at 7:00 pm with picks submitted online by OHL member clubs and displayed in real-time at ontariohockeyleague.com.
“Midget hockey in Ontario features hundreds of talented players who continue to develop their game,” said OHL Commissioner, David Branch. “Working with our Minor Hockey partners, the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will serve to assist in the continued growth of Midget hockey and provide further opportunities for players at different stages of their overall hockey development.”
The concept of the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection has developed with full support from Hockey Canada’s three Ontario Branches including the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), and Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO).
“The Ontario Hockey League has long been a leader in the advancement of young athletes and the new Under-18 Priority Selection is a continuation of that development,” said OHF President, Tony Foresi. “We believe this second draft will offer players a chance to develop at their own pace while still working toward their hockey goals.”
“The OHL has added a great incentive for those players who may have required an additional year or two of development to reach their full potential,” said HEO President, Ron McRostie. “HEO is excited that some late developing athletes may have an additional opportunity of reaching their goals.”
“The new Ontario Hockey League Under-18 Priority Selection is a great opportunity for players that have continued to develop in Midget AAA hockey within the province,” said HNO President, Glenn Timko. “We see this U18 draft as a positive opportunity for players in the Northwest, to have another chance at being selected by an Ontario Hockey League club.”
The OHL Under-18 Priority Selection will be held in addition to the league’s current Priority Selection process which takes place this season on Saturday April 8, 2017, for all 2001 birth year players and those eligible players currently not playing Midget hockey.
Eligibility for the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection includes all Midget players (1999 and 2000 birth years for 2017 draft) not currently on an OHL Member Team Protected List who were carded with an Ontario based Midget AAA Hockey Club within the OHF, HEO, or HNO in the current season.
The order of selection for the Under-18 Priority Selection shall be the same as the Under-16 Priority Selection format which is determined through the final preceding regular season schedule. The non-playoff teams shall select first determined by inverse order of finish, followed by all other teams with the selection position also determined by inverse order of finish.
The inaugural Under-18 Priority Selection will be capped at four rounds with all OHL Member Teams required to draft a minimum of four players.
To enhance opportunities specifically for goaltenders, should an OHL Member Team select a goaltender with one of their selections, the club has the option to select another player (skater only). An additional round will be added to facilitate the drafting of any additional skaters utilizing the same selection order and process.