2019 Whitby Silver Stick: Tournament Preview

The 2019 Whitby Silver Stick Tournament is upon us, and this year’s edition is shaping up to be just as exciting if not more so than ever before. Unlike in 2018-19, this year’s tournament does not feature a clear-cut favourite to take home the championship, as a slew of incredibly skilled and capable teams will undoubtedly battle hard until the bitter end. Moreover, this season’s prospect class eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft continues to slowly define itself — the annual Whitby Silver Stick now stands as the perfect opportunity for prospects to impress scouts and fans alike.

– Related: 2020 OHL Cup Ranking

– Related: 2020 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles 

With this being said, let’s take a moment to meet the teams set to compete within this year’s Whitby Silver Stick Tournament as well as the players poised to grace the ice. While some teams will understandably draw greater attention than others, all 30 clubs are certainly worth catching in action from November 28th to December 1st as we head into the final month of 2019.

*Teams ranked within our 2020 OHL Cup Ranking for the month of November are denoted in parenthesis.*

Pool A

  • Detroit Little Caesars
  • London Jr. Knights
  • Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers
  • Vaughan Kings
  • Whitby Wildcats

Who to Watch, and Why:

Pool A within this year’s Whitby Silver Stick Tournament is an extremely deep and talented one, as there is no clear cut favourite to emerge from the group. As always, Detroit Little Caesers will pack as serious punch as they boast a solid combination of size and skill both at forward an on defence. Much is the same when it comes to the London Jr. Knights, as star-forward Bryce McConnell-Barker will look to use the tournament as a proving grounds for his team given their mediocre start to their season.

One interesting addition to this year’s tournament are the Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers. While they will stand as somewhat of an unknown in this tournament, the Jr. Gamblers feature two highly skilled players in Quinn Finley and Braydon Beahm who are nothing short of game-changers. With this being said, let’s not forget about the Vaughan Kings or the Whitby Wildcats. In Vaughan, the Kings boast two stellar young goaltenders in Mikael Kingo and Dominic DiVincentiis who have the ability to steal wins on a nightly basis, while the Wildcats boast a deep attack capable of picking apart opposing defences.

Pool B

  • Buffalo Jr. Sabres
  • Chicago Mission
  • Kelowna POE Hockey Academy
  • Mississauga Reps
  • Southern Tier Admirals (#9)

Who to Watch, and Why:

This year’s edition of Pool B is laden with a handful of extremely talented and dangerous teams. Perhaps the most lethal of which will be the Chicago Mission, Mississauga Reps, and Southern Tier Admirals. All three of these teams feature deep rosters which can scratch out victories in a variety of ways and are remarkably consistent in their abilities to do so. Where the Mission are sizeable and quick, the Reps excel from the blue line out and the Admirals boast a ferocious attack.

On the other hand, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and the Kelowna POE Hockey Academy could certainly surprise a number of teams. Although very little is known about the POE Academy, it is virtually guaranteed that both they and the Jr. Sabres will put forth a considered and concise effort in all of the games in which they play. While both teams may fail to advance, they will surely force their opposition to bring their respective “A” games.

Pool C

  • Detroit Compuware
  • Edmonton SSAC
  • Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
  • South Kent Select Academy
  • Toronto Nationals (#3)

Who to Watch, and Why:

Again, as will be a common theme within this year’s Whitby Silver Stick Tournament, Pool C is loaded with undeniable and competitive teams. While Detroit Compuware may not be able to repeat as Tournament Champions this year, their roster remains flush with talented young players — namely Ryan Abraham and Gavin Hayes — who should give their competition a serious run for their money. Then there is the Edmonton South Side Athletic Club — another newcomer to the Whitby Silver Stick whose top players in Mason Franz and Kayden Rawji will be eager to establish themselves as top 2004-born prospects.

Up next are the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs — a team which has yet to lose a game in Alliance competition this season and are led by Owen Van Steensel and Zander Veccia, two players who can score as well as mix things up physically. Not only do the Chiefs hold a serious chance of emerging from Pool C, but so too does the South Kent Selects Academy and the Toronto Nationals — a pair of teams led by star players such as David Goyette and Zak Lavoie who will make serious waves throughout the tournament.

Pool D

  • Detroit HoneyBaked
  • Guelph Gryphons
  • Kingston Jr. Gaels
  • Thunder Bay Kings
  • Toronto Titans (#7)

Who to Watch, and Why: Unlike many of the other pools within this year’s Whitby Silver Stick Tournament, Pool D is relatively thin in terms of teams who could legitimately challenge for the championship. Of the five teams within Pool D, it is Detroit Honeybaked and the Toronto Titans who hold the best odds of advancing deep into this year’s event. Once again Honeybaked is a powerhouse, and this time around they are led by Justin Varner and Max Namestnikov — the younger brother of Ottawa Senators forward Vladislav Namestnikov. Meanwhile, the Titans boast a roster deep in both skill and capability which could push them deep into the elimination rounds — of their lot, Kocha Delic is surely the most enthralling of which. 

On the other hand there are the Guelph Gryphons, Kingston Jr. Gaels and the Thunder Bay Kings — three teams whose seasons have started slowly yet steadily. Although these three teams may not have the overall skill necessary to advance deep into this year’s tournament, all of which are extremely hard-working and determined to establish themselves as top teams in the minor midget circuit.

Pool E

  • North Bay Trappers
  • Oshawa Generals
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Richmond Hill Coyotes
  • Toronto Marlboros (#4)

Who to Watch, and Why:

Pool E provides us with yet another five teams who will compete tirelessly to move on within this year’s Whitby Silver Stick Tournament. Although there is no clear cut favourite to dominate this pool, expect both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Marlboros to push themselves towards the top of the Pool E standings. For the Penguins, size plays an integral role within their attack —  a reality which makes them a difficult force to stop. Such is also the case with the Marlboros, as the team is an intimidating one led by the likes of Isaiah George and Paul Ludwinski.

With this being said, don’t count out the likes of the North Bay Trappers, Oshawa Generals or the Richmond Hill Coyotes. While the Trappers and Generals have endured somewhat slow starts to their respective 2019-20 campaigns, both teams feature highly skilled and game-breaking players ready to impress. On the other hand, the Coyotes have enjoyed a strong start to their ETA season and stand amongst the top teams in their league — Julian Fantino and Jared Coccimiglio are two of the ones to watch for Richmond Hill.

Pool F

  • Ajax Pickering Raiders
  • Don Mills Flyers
  • Hamilton Huskies
  • Quinte Red Devils (#8)
  • Toronto Jr. Canadiens (#1)

Who to Watch, and Why: As far as Pool F is concerned there are two dynamite teams, one legitimate contender, and two clubs who will be hard-challenged to advance past the round robin. These two dynamite teams are, of course, the Quinte Red Devils and the Toronto Jr. Canadiens — the eighth and first-ranked teams in our 2020 OHL Cup Ranking for the month of November. The Red Devils feature a handful of devastating forwards and defencemen who will be highly sought after come the 2020 OHL Draft such as Dalyn Wakely and Aaron Brown, while the Jr. Canadiens feature one of the top 2004-born defencemen eligible in the form of Ty Nelson. 

 

One team to watch within this Pool will be the Hamilton Huskies, as they are off to a stellar start in Alliance Hockey and currently stand as the third-best team within their league — a standing highlighted by a recent seven-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Don Mills Flyer and Ajax Pickering Raiders, they will be in tough to emerge for their Pool, as their competition may prove to be far too dominant to overcome.

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