2019-20 GTHL Season Preview
The 2019-20 Greater Toronto Hockey League season is shaping up to be nothing other than a dandy, as all 12 Minor Midget clubs are set to suit up ahead of the much anticipated 2020 OHL Priority Selection.
The GTHL’s 2019-20 Minor Midget campaign is bound to transpire quite differently than it did this last season, when the Don Mills Flyers blew away their competition en route to a sparkling 30-0-3 record and eventual OHL Cup Championship. This season expect there to be considerably more parity present, as up to seven teams could make a legitimate push towards the GTHL Championship and every team’s ultimate goal — the OHL Cup.
However, much like last season, there will be no shortage of elite-level talent on display on a game-by game basis. After placing the GTHL and entire world of Minor Midget hockey on notice last season, Adam Fantilli will return to the ice — this time as a member of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens — with is mind set on dismantling each and every opposing team which he faces. The continued presence of the uber-talented Ty Nelson will undoubtedly aid Fantilli and the Jr. Canadiens on this quest, as ‘JRC’ stands as the team to beat this season.
Shocking turn of events at the 2019 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament!
The Toronto Nationals score 5 unanswered goals in the Final to upset the heavily favoured Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 5-2.
Congratulations to the Nats! pic.twitter.com/tuKwmf4KGi
— Prospect Pipeline (@NHLProspectLine) September 8, 2019
Yet, there are plenty of teams and players worth watching this season outside of the Jr. Canadiens, as the Toronto Marlboros, Young Nationals, Titans, and Vaughan Kings — amongst many others — feature a slew of tantalizing talent eager to leave a lasting impression in the eyes of scouts and management alike. If you’re a fan of goal-scoring — and who isn’t — keep your eye peeled for the likes of Lorenzo Bonaiuto, Zak Lavoie, Kocha Delic, and Julian Facchinelli. Further, if you’re a fan of staunch two-way defending, the likes of Isaiah George, Noah Van Vliet, Emerson Miller, and the aforementioned Nelson won’t disappoint.
With this being said, don’t neglect the goaltenders!
As you’ll read below in our in-depth team previews, the GTHL will feature a wealth of highly talented netminders at the Minor Midget level this season eager to ascend to the next-level.
Now, take a moment to learn about each GTHL team set to compete this season and which players to watch our for. Although there is a clear divide in terms of each team’s talent, nearly each and every team holds the potential to make a serious push come playoff time.
In-Depth Team Previews
As mentioned, we’ve taken the time to assess and analyze each Minor Midget team ahead of the 2019-20 GTHL campaign. While some will stumble, others will stand as legitimate contenders for the GTHL Championship and OHL Cup this coming Spring.
However, at the end of the day, all 12 teams are worth watching closely this campaign.
Don Mills Flyers
2018-19 Bantam Record: 10-17-6 (8th)
3 Players to Watch: Ben Brissette – Ryan Cartwright – Jackson Ebbott
Although the Don Mills Flyers won’t go undefeated in 2019-20 like the 2003-born edition of the team managed in 2018-19, they will still stand as a competitive force in the GTHL this season. Following an eighth-place finish in the Bantam circuit this past campaign, the likes of Ben Brissette, Ryan Cartwright, Jackson Ebbott, and others will surely come to the rink with a renewed sense of purpose in their first years of OHL Draft eligibility.
And, it is safe to say that the Flyers’ 2019-20 season began on a solid note, as the team was able to compile a 3-0-1 record in the round robin of the Toronto Titans Tournament — a mark which pushed them forward into the round of 16. Despite being eliminated by the Southern Tier Admirals by a score of 2-1, the Flyers proved that they could fight and compete against stern competition — a reality which will bode well for the team as they endure a long and trying regular season of GTHL hockey.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 7-20-6 (11th)
3 Players to Watch: Julian Facchinelli – Charles Fisher – Matthew Jennings
The Markham Majors skated to the 11th best record in the GTHL’s Bantam circuit in 2018-19, however, we could very well be staring down a playoff team come the Spring given the wealth of skill and ability present within Markham’s roster. Leading the charge throughout the regular season for the Majors will surely be Julian Facchinelli — a high-flying forward who garnered considerable attention during the Toronto Titans Tournament owing to his eight goals scored in just four games played.
Yet, there is much more to the Majors than Facchinelli alone, as the Majors boast a highly competitive forward in the form of Matthew Jennings as well as a stout two-way defender in Charles Fisher. Further are youngsters such as Michael DiSanto, Noah Yakota, Kiki Brown and Colin Smith — four players who bring an offensive edge as well as a tireless compete level to the ice each and every night. If able to receive consistent production from these players while receiving staunch goaltending, the Majors could be a pleasant surprise in the GTHL this season.
Mississauga Reps Hockey Club
2018-19 Bantam Record: 14-12-7 (4th)
3 Players to Watch: Joshua Beiles – Rosario Colosimo – Joshua Vogelsberg
The Reps were a force in the GTHL during the 2018-19 Bantam season, placing fourth-overall on the heels of a 14-12-7 regular season record. And, at first glance, it appears as though the Reps will once again be an extremely difficult team to play against. Although a number of players have since switched teams, the 2019-20 edition of the Reps appears to be equally competitive — their roster is notably deep and laden with a whack of capable young talent.
A trio of which who have continued to demand attention are Joshua Beiles, Rosario Colosimo, and Joshua Vogelsberg. Although of varying positions, these three have quickly developed into pillars for the Reps and feature the unique ability to improve the play of those around them. If these three — alongside the contributions from the rest of the Reps’ roster — can attain consistency early on in the GTHL campaign, the Reps could and should once again stand as a significant test for their local rivals on a nightly basis.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 14-14-5 (6th)
3 Players to Watch: Andrew Chang – Charlie Fink – Nicholas DeAngelis
After placing sixth-overall in the GTHL last season as a Bantam team, the Mississauga Senators are undoubtedly hoping to climb the Minor Midget standings in 2019-20. However, doing so won’t be an easy task, as the Senators will have to overcome five teams who have shown little signs of backing down to begin their respective seasons. Fortunately for the Senators however, they’ll feature a slew of players eager to take their team to the next level.
Leading the way for the Senators this coming season will surely be Andrew Chang, Charlie Fink, and Nicholas DeAngelis. In Fink and Chang, the Senators boast two incredibly talented and hard-working players who can create offensive opportunities each time they take to the ice. Although their overall games continue to improve, Fink and Chang — in addition to the remainder of the Senators’ roster — should be able to put forth a significant fight on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, the presence of DeAngelis will afford the Senators with a heightened level of confidence when the puck is present within their own zone.
North York Rangers
2018-19 Bantam Record: 7-23-3 (12th)
3 Players to Watch: Colin King – Matteo Iacovelli – Nicholas Yearwood
Yes, the North York Rangers finished concluded their Bantam campaign of 2018-19 as the least successful team in the GTHL. However, past failure does not hinder future success, and the Rangers appear to be on track to improve upon their dismal record from a mere year ago. Following a 2-2 record in the round robin of the Toronto Titans Tournament, the Rangers will kick-off their Minor Midget GTHL season with a renewed sense of purpose and heightened level of confidence.
Contributing to this increased level of confidence is and has been the play of Nicholas Yearwood, Colin King, and Matteo Iacovelli. While the Rangers unquestionably feature a number of other incredibly talented players, this trio in particular have afforded North York with a considerable level of hope ahead of their 2019-20 campaign. In Yearwood, the Rangers boast a prolific goal-scorer who also showcases intensity within his game. Further, in King and Iacovelli, the Rangers feature a defender and forward capable of contributing offensively while also playing steady defence within their own zone.
Toronto Jr. Canadiens
2018-19 Bantam Record: 28-4-1 (1st)
3 Players to Watch: Aidan Castle – Adam Fantilli – Ty Nelson
To say that the Toronto Jr. Canadiens are the team to beat in the GTHL this season would be a massive understatement. After skating to a GTHL-best record at the Bantam age level in 2018-19, the 2004-born crop of Jr. Canadiens stand poised to inflict serious damage in the Minor Midget ranks. A great deal of this damage will surely be devised by Adam Fantilli and Ty Nelson — two players who played at the Minor Midget level in 2018-19 despite their young age and developed dramatically as a direct result.
However, this year’s edition of the Jr. Canadiens will be powered by more than Fantilli and Nelson alone, as the club features a wealth of young players capable of contributing on a game by game basis. Of note are Aidan Castle, Pano Fimis, Kyan Haldenby, Thomas Sirman, and Noah Van Vliet — five players of varying position who bring both poise and ability to these rink. If able to receive consistent contributions from these seven stars in the making in addition to the team’s solid overall roster, the Jr. Canadiens will unquestionably be a team to be reckoned with in the GTHL this season.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 25-4-4 (2nd)
3 Players to Watch: Lorenzo Bonaiuto – Isaiah George – Kalen Peterson
The Toronto Marlboros are a perennial powerhouse within the GTHL, as each and every year the team stands atop their respective age group in the standings. And, during the 2018-19 Bantam campaign the case was no different — the Marlboros pieced together a sparkling 25-4-4 record, a mark good for the second place overall in the GTHL. Now, with the 2019-20 season upon us, the same will surely be the case as the Marlboros once again stand as one of the most capable and technically skilled teams in the league.
Leading the charge this time around will undoubtedly be Lorenzo Bonaiuto, Isaiah George, and Kalen Peterson. In Bonaiuto, the Marlboros feature a tireless skater and offensive dynamo who appeared in a handful of games at the Minor Midget level last season as an underage player. In George, Toronto boasts an intimidating two-way defender who can create offence at his attacking blue line before defending his own with impressive consistency. Finally, there is Peterson — a dynamic and creative force who can score goals as well as create them. Alongside the depth which has come to define Marlboros rosters in the past, this trio should be more than capable of leading their team to a wealth of success in both league and tournament play.
Toronto Red Wings
2018-19 Bantam Record: 10-17-6 (9th)
3 Players to Watch: David Brandes – Gabriel Flores – Rodion Tatarenko
The Toronto Red Wings concluded their 2018-19 Bantam campaign as the ninth-best team in the GTHL — an unfortunate standing which appears destined to continue for Toronto as they enter into the 2019-20 Minor Midget season. However, despite the fact that the Red Wings will likely face an uphill battle on a nightly basis, plenty of bright-spots do exist within the team’s roster. First and foremost are the presences of David Brandes, Gabriel Flores, and Rodion Tatarenko — three players of varying position who have shown they have what it takes to legitimately compete with the GTHL’s top talent.
In Flores and Tatarenko, the Red Wings boast two highly competitive and creative forwards who can devise scoring opportunities in addition to playing a strong two-way game. Further, there is Brandes — a fluid-skating defender who makes strong breakout passes and loves to jump into the rush when the situation allows. Then, mix in Igor Zborovskiy, Brandon Safari, and the stellar goaltending of Patrick Boyle and suddenly the Red Wings stand as a team capable of seriously challenging the GTHL’s elite clubs.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 20-7-6 (3rd)
3 Players to Watch: Kocha Delic – Nicholas Moldenhauer – Liam Sztuska
The Toronto Titans placed third-overall in the GTHL’s Bantam circuit in 2018-19, a standing which they could very well improve upon during their 2019-20 Minor Midget campaign. One driving force behind this potential leap in the standings is the presence of a number of wildly talented young players eager to propel the Titans to the next level. While the likes of Nicholas Moldenhauer and Kocha Delic stand tall, so too do youngsters such as Jake Sederoff, Hayden Simpson, Jonathan Miller, and Emerson Miller — a slew of players poised to develop with remarkable haste throughout the upcoming GTHL season.
In addition to these budding young stars is the presence of Liam Sztuska in goal, a highly competitive and athletic goaltender who boasts the ability to steal wins for his team when the situation demands. Although he isn’t overly intimidating given his average size, Sztuska can read and react to the play extremely well as it develops and features the reflexes and rebound control of a seasoned veteran. If the Titans’ top players can work together towards the same goal, Toronto could very easily challenge the Jr. Canadiens and Marlboros atop the GTHL’s standings.
Toronto Young Nationals
2018-19 Bantam Record: 14-13-6 (5th)
3 Players to Watch: Tobias Iantorno – Zak Lavoie – Max Seguin
The Toronto Nationals shocked those in attendance at the Toronto Titans Tournament in early September, claiming the championship despite the slew of incredibly talented teams which stood in their path. Now, with the GTHL regular season upon us, expect the Nationals to drop opponents’ jaws with regularity throughout the 2019-20 campaign. Although they aren’t necessarily as deep as the Jr. Canadiens, the Nationals feature an effective mixture of star power and work ethic — a combination will can push opposing teams onto their heels for significant stretches of time.
Leading the way for the Nationals is none other than Zak Lavoie, a youngster who played in the Ottawa region before making the jump to the Jr. Canadiens and the GTHL last season. A torrent goal-scorer, Lavoie potted 10 goals in his seven games played during the Toronto Titans Tournament and features the ability to bulge the twine a variety of different ways. In addition to Lavoie are the likes of Tobias Iantorno and Max Seguin — two highly skilled forwards who bring playmaking ability, finish, and compete to the ice. In short, the Nationals win by committee — a reality which will surely make them one of the toughest teams to play against in the GTHL in 2019-20.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 12-17-4 (7th)
3 Players to Watch: Jesse Coppola – Lucas D’Amato – Domenic DiVincentiis
Although they finished seventh-overall in the GTHL’s Bantam standings this past season, expect the Vaughan Kings to make a concerted push up the Minor Midget table this campaign. The greatest strength of the Kings in 2019-20 will undoubtedly be team depth, as Vaughan features a seemingly endless number of players capable of making a difference each time they step onto the ice. While Jesse Coppola will surely lead the team’s offence and Lucas D’Amato will stand as a pillar on the Kings’ blue line, plenty of other youngsters will stand capable of leading Vaughan to considerable success.
Who are these players, you ask?
Well, expect Nick Messina, Jesse Aitken, Liam Filip, Joseph Bonavota, and Lucas Buzziol to all play significant roles up front, while Anthony Francella, Gregory Harley, and Joseph Ianniello will all provide staunch defending within their own zone. The final — if not most significant — strength for the Kings this season can be found in between the pipes, as Vaughan possesses two rock-solid goaltenders capable of stealing wins for their team on demand. If Mikael Kingo and Domenic DiVincentiis can continue to display their elite talents in-goal for the Kings, don’t be surprised to see Vaughan listed amongst the GTHL’s top Minor Midget teams come the Spring of 2020.