The pandemic has made the draft more difficult this year, but the Barrie Colts ‘interim general manager says they relied heavily on what the coaches had to say about the players’ progress
The Barrie Colts’ minor midget âAAAâ program certainly made the most of an uncertain year with seven players drafted by teams from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
The OHL draft took place virtually on June 4 and saw some of the best hockey players born in 2005 draft into the province’s premier hockey league.
The local organization “AAA” had players drafted from the third to the ninth round, one player having been selected by the Barrie Colts.
The seven selected players were:
- Round 3 – 51st pick for Kitchener – Cameron Mercer
- Round 4 – 63rd pick in Barrie – Nicholas Lamont
- Round 5 – 85th pick in Niagara – Jax wismer
- Round 5 – 91st choice in Ottawa – Gavin Ewles
- Round 6 – 117th pick in Guelph – Aidan Amidovski
- Round 7 – 125th pick in Peterborough – Sam mccue
- Round 9 – 160th pick in Sudbury – Noah Cochrane
Barrie’s âAAAâ midget player Owen Johnston was also selected in the second round (23rd overall) by the Oshawa Generals in the OHL’s under-18 priority selection.
Lamont will be heading into Grade 11 in the fall at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie. The 16-year-old was drafted by his hometown – and favorite – team and hope to break into Colts roster at some point in the near future.
âI was watching the draft with my family and as soon as my name was called my phone went off with people calling and texting,â Lamont said. Barrie today. âIt was a super special moment to be drafted into the OHL, but for it to be the team that I grew up watching was even better. “
Lamont says it’s been a tough year for him and his team, but he says they persevered as needed.
“When we were able to do that last year, the ‘AAA’ organization organized exhibition games with an older team so that the scouts could see some of us and also that we could practice,” said the young striker. “It was just a matter of staying fit, staying healthy and making sure I was ready if I needed to.”
Mercer, who is Lamont’s minor midget teammate and student at St. Joan of Arc, was Barrie’s most drafted teen, going to the Kitchener Rangers in the third round.
Mercer recognized the great team he was a part of in Barrie and said it was good to be first in the field. The 16-year-old enters grade 11 next year with a great work ethic, recounting Barrie today it has been a difficult year but he is not looking for excuses.
âThis year has obviously been tough and it has been difficult at times to keep the motivation and hunger going, especially when we weren’t allowed to skate or go to the gym,â he said. âEveryone was in the same boat, so I couldn’t let that be an excuse.
âI woke up everyday trying to be the best I could be no matter how I felt,â Mercer added. âMy strength trainer Dave Blais did a really good job helping me and the guys I train with stay motivated throughout the pandemic. We had online workouts. when the gyms were closed, and we could still interact with the guys really helped us stay focused. “
Barrie Colts’ âAAAâ vice president of operations Joe Rockbrune Jr. said while the pandemic year was unlike any other, it impacted the organization even more from an ice standpoint.
âWe had a group of players born in 2005 who we watched grow and become exceptionally good,â said Rockbrune. Barrie today. “We’ve been watching this group come together for quite some time and it’s a shame they weren’t able to do all they could.”
The players were able to face off in Toronto late last year, and between September and December, OHL scouts were able to see the players in person on the ice.
Marty Williams, interim OHL Barrie Colts general manager, said it was also a tough time for junior clubs to see the players they wanted to draft.
âSome of the players we’ve seen before, but without seeing how far they’ve progressed, it was difficult,â said Williamson. âThere is video, a lot of video, but that doesn’t compare to seeing the players on the ice.
âWe certainly listened to their coaches a lot and what they had to say about the guys,â he added.
Williamson also said it was nice to take a local kid like Lamont.
âIf things are even between two players, I will definitely catch the local guy. In the case of Nicholas, I felt really good with the choice and he has a lot of qualities like (Tyson) Foerster, âWilliamson said of the Philadelphia Flyers prospect.
Foerster, a native of Alliston, had 17 points in 24 games last season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, the Philadelphia Farm Team.
The OHL has not hosted any games since the announcement on March 18, 2020 that the season had been canceled due to COVID-19.
Williamson believes the OHL teams will be back on the ice in the fall and he says he’s excited about the team.
âWe’ll have a bigger camp than usual with a lot more kids to try out, so we’ll be busy for sure,â said Williamson, who also coached the Barrie Colts from 2004-10. I am really excited. about the team that we will be putting on the ice next season.
“We will have a very good team coming back and the players will be good to go.”