By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The Tribute Communities Centre played host to what one day be a group of future members of the Ontario Hockey League or even the Oshawa Generals.
On April 1 and 2, the league hosted 77 minor league players at the OHL Combine, putting them through a series of on- and off-ice training exercises, the final results of which are forwarded to every team’s general manger ahead of the entry draft on April 8.
In total, 36 forwards, 25 defencemen and 16 goaltenders took part in the exercises, along with five-on-five and three-on-three scrimmages to wrap up the weekend.
“Obviously we see these players as making the jump next year as 16-year-olds into the league,” says Daniel Broussard, the OHL’s director of player recruitment. “This is a great facility to do it at. Obviously the Oshawa Generals have such a historic place in the OHL, so I think it’s great for all the families of players to see this.”
Several Durham Region athletes were in attendance at the combine, including Ethan Doyle, Blake Murray, Ethan Langevin and Mason Dreger of the Whitby Wildcats, and Ian Martin and Connor McMichael with the Ajax-Pickering Raiders.
According to the league, the exercise results are not only useful for the general manager’s come Saturday’s draft, but the players as well.
“The results provide a benchmark which gives players an idea of where they stand among their peers to help push their own personal development,” states Joe Birch, the league’s senior director of hockey development and special events in a news release.
“It’s a great opportunity for the players to showcase their athletic abilities and is a big evaluation opportunity for our members teams.”
The combine is also quite similar to what the players may see four years down the road when they look to make the jump to bigger and better things.
“The OHL is a development league, we’re trying to get them ready for hopefully the NHL,” Broussard says. “These are the same tests on and off ice that they’re going to see at the NHL Combine, so we’re really trying to prepare them for that.”