Nineteen of the 20 teams competing in the 2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour have been established with four teams left to battle over one wild card entry position.
Here’s a fan’s guide to the competing teams:
Kitchener Jr. Rangers (Regular season: 18-6-9, 3rd ALLIANCE)
Qualified: ALLIANCE Finalist (Currently tied 5-5 pts. with Brantford in ALLIANCE Championship Series)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2015 (2-2-1-0, lost in quarter-final to Don Mills Flyers [OT])
Players to Watch: Marko Sikic (F), Matthew Sop (F), Braeden Bowman (F)
Notable Alum: Jason Willms (Barrie Colts), Cole MacKay (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Eric Uba (Flint Firebirds)
Outlook: Labelled by many as a darkhorse in the ALLIANCE ranks, the Kitchener Jr. Rangers just keep coming and have taken the first place Brantford 99ers to Game 6 of their ALLIANCE Championship Series. Led by head coach Dean DeSilva, the hard working Rangers have played particularly well on the road of late. The dynamic duo of Marko Sikic and Matthew Sop provides a bulk of their offence while Braeden Bowman has also been dangerous 17 points (9-8–17) over 12 playoff games.
Mississauga Rebels (Regular season: 19-12-2, 5th GTHL)
Qualified: Wild Card Play-In victory over Waterloo Wolves
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (1-3-0, 3rd Shanahan Division)
Players to Watch: Max Donohoe (F), Pasquale Zito (F), Justin Wu (G)
Notable Alum: Riley Damiani (Kitchener Rangers), Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs), Zach Gallant (Peterborough Petes)
Outlook: Included in the weekly OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 Rankings in 12 of the 17 weeks of the season, the Mississauga Rebels have won their way into the annual showcase. Backed by small-but-nimble netminder Justin Wu, the Rebels play with speed and return to the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour for a fourth straight year.
Qualified: NOHA Representatitve
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (2-2-0, 3rd Lindros Division)
Players to Watch: Chase Stillman (F), Benjamin Gaudreau (G), Max McCue (F)
Notable Alum: Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit), Billy Moskal (London Knights), Brad Chenier (North Bay Battalion)
Outlook: Always an intriguing group to watch, Team NOHA has been a competitive force in each of the past three OHL Cup showcases. This year’s group features high-end talent in Team Ontario representatives Chase Stillman up front and Benjamin Gaudreau between the pipes. Head coach Kyle Brick will lean on a pair of Sault Ste. Marie-based defenders in Tyler Dunbar and Jack Matier. Team NOHA has earned at least four points in 2016, 2017 and 2018, scoring victories over capable opponents along the way.
Toronto Red Wings (Regular season: 23-5-5, 4th GTHL)
Qualified: GTHL Semi-Finalist (Lost 8-2 pts. to Don Mills Flyers in GTHL Semi-Final)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2016 (2-3-0, lost in quarter-final to Don Mills Flyers)
Players to Watch: Francesco Pinelli (F), Josh Rosenzweig (G), Chandler Romeo (D)
Notable Alum: Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Owen Tippett (Saginaw Spirit), Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Outlook: The Red Wings feature one of the GTHL’s premier centremen in captain Francesco Pinelli while late 2004-born forward Adam Fantilli is worth keeping an eye on as well. Josh Rosenzweig was one of the GTHL’s top goaltenders throughout the season. The Red Wings finished the campaign on a nine-game winning streak and hit the ground running in the playoffs, reaching the GTHL Semi-Final before running into the Don Mills Flyers.
Whitby Wildcats (Regular season: 30-1-5, 1st OMHA ETA East)
Qualified: OMHA Champions (Defeated Halton Hurricanes in OMHA Championship Final)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (2-1-2, lost in quarter-final to Toronto Nationals)
Players to Watch: Brenden Sirizzotti (F), Thomas Johnston (F), Ryan Winterton (F)
Notable Alum: Blake Murray (Sudbury Wolves), Jack Hanley (Guelph Storm), Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Outlook: The OMHA champion Whitby Wildcats lost just once during the regular season, boasting arguably the OMHA’s most dominant unit consisting of Sirizzotti, Johnston and Winterton. 6-foot-2, 200Ib netminder Justin DiLauro can be counted upon to give his team a chance to win. The Wildcats have rallied together to play for star defenceman Owen Brady, who has been sidelined since receiving a cancer diagnosis in December.
Detroit Little Caesars
Qualified: USA Invite
Last OHL Cup Appearance: First OHL Cup Appearance (Lost Wild Card vs. Don Mills Flyers last year)
Players to Watch: Luke Hughes (D), James Stefan (F), Jack O’Brien (F)
Notable Alum: Antonio Stranges (London Knights), Joseph Mack (Erie Otters), Theo Calvas (North Bay Battalion)
Outlook: The Detroit Little Caesars make their OHL Cup debut this year, bringing a number of talented names including Luke Hughes, the younger brother of GTHL graduates and highly touted NHL prospects Quinn and Jack Hughes. Little Caesars will also feature Portland Winterhawks prospects Jack O’Brien and James Stefan along with Victoria Royals draft pick Karsten Senden. The team is coached by former first overall NHL Draft pick Patrik Stefan.
Don Mills Flyers (Regular season: 30-0-3, 1st GTHL)
Qualified: GTHL Finalist (Facing Toronto Marlboros in GTHL Championship)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (1-2-1, 3rd Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Shane Wright (F), Brennan Othmann (F), Brandt Clarke (D)
Notable Alum: David Levin (Sudbury Wolves), Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s), Declan Chisholm (Peterborough Petes)
Outlook: An early favourite to win it all this year, the Don Mills Flyers have been the top-ranked team in all 17 editions of the weekly OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 Rankings. Featuring star forward Shane Wright who was granted exceptional status for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection last week, the Flyers also boast a number of other players expected to hear their name called early. Defencemen Brandt Clarke and Roman Schmidt will see plenty of ice behind a cast of talented forwards that includes Brendan Othmann, Liam Arnsby and Francesco Arcuri.
North Central Predators (Regular season: 21-8-5, 1st OMHA ETA West)
Qualified: Wild Card Play-In victory over Mississauga Senators
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2015 (1-3-0, 5th Shanahan Division)
Players to Watch: Ethan Larmand (F), Cole Patey (F), Connor Punnett (D)
Notable Alum: Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack), Luke Richardson (Kitchener Rangers), Patrick Brown (North Bay Battalion)
Outlook: Boasting three members of Team Ontario’s silver medal-winning Canada Winter Games squad (Larmand, Patey, Punnett), the North Central Predators turned in a solid Wild Card Play-In effort, defeating the GTHL’s Mississauga Senators 3-0. In addition to their big three, the Preds have received secondary offence from Nicholas Dowling, Jacob Ventrella and Meguire Naughton this season.
Windsor Jr. Spitfires (Regular season: 19-10-4, 5th ALLIANCE)
Qualified: Won ALLIANCE Wild Card Series (Defeated Waterloo Wolves 4-0 pts.)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2016 (1-2-1, 4th Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Cayden Faust (F), Ray Hamlin (F), Nicholas Beneteau (F)
Notable Alum: Owen Lalonde (Guelph Storm), Blake McConville (Sudbury Wolves)
Outlook: A hard-working group, the Windsor Jr. Spitfires eliminated the London Jr. Knights in first round play before giving the first place Brantford 99ers a run for their money in the second round of the ALLIANCE Playoffs. Cayden Faust, Ray Hamlin, Nicholas Beneteau and Alex Cunningham all scored over 15 goals this season, giving the Spits some depth offensively while goaltender Max Donoso has shown an ability come up with the big save for his team.
York-Simcoe Express (Regular season: 17-9-8, 2nd OMHA ETA West)
Qualified: OMHA Bronze Medalist (Defeated Quinte Red Devils in OMHA Bronze Medal Game)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (5-1-0, lost in semi-final to Vaughan Kings)
Players to Watch: Jacob Holmes (D), Kaleb Nelson (F), Braden Hache (D)
Notable Alum: Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves), Evan Vierling (Flint Firebirds), Cameron Hillis (Guelph Storm)
Outlook: After producing the top two picks of last year’s OHL Priority Selection, the York-Simcoe Express bring a well-rounded defence corps to the ice this week. Led by Team Ontario silver medalist Jacob Holmes, the Express also boast minute-eaters in Braden Hache, Matthew Roy and offensive-minded blueliner Thomas Sirman. Fleet-footed centreman Kaleb Nelson scored 30 goals this season and pushes the pace up front.
London Jr. Knights (Regular season: 20-8-5, 4th ALLIANCE)
Qualified: Wild Card Play-In victory over Guelph Gryphons
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (0-4-0, 5th Lindros Division)
Players to Watch: Brett Harrison (F), Riley Wood (F), Jordan D’Intino (F)
Notable Alum: Nick Suzuki (Guelph Storm), Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm), Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)
Outlook: Back at the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour for a fifth straight year, the London Jr. Knights have taken the long road to the showcase after bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. ALLIANCE scoring leader Brett Harrison provided the lone goal in a 1-0 Wild Card Play-In win over the Guelph Gryphons while Michael Simpson was perfect in the crease. The Jr. Knights feature a new look behind the bench this year with Rob Coutts as head coach.
Quinte Red Devils (Regular season: 20-13-3, 2nd OMHA ETA East)
Qualified: OMHA Championship 4th Place (Lost to York-Simcoe Express in OMHA Bronze Medal Game)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (1-3-0, 4th Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Daniel Michaud (F), Benjamin White (F), Lucas Lapalm (F)
Notable Alum: Nathan Dunkley (London Knights), Brady Gilmour (Saginaw Spirit), Anthony Popovich (Guelph Storm)
Outlook: A part of some highly entertaining games in recent OHL Cup history, the Quinte Red Devils make their return after losing in Wild Card action last year. After an underwhelming 4-10-1 start to the season, Quinte has enjoyed a highly successful second half getting big contributions from centreman Daniel Michaud down the middle.
Thunder Bay Kings (Regular season: 12-7-0-1, 1st NAPHL Elite 16U)
Qualified: HNO Representative
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (0-3-1, 5th Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Jack Michaelis (F), Alex Pineau (D), Jeremy Dunmore (F)
Notable Alum: Cole Tymkin (London Knights)
Outlook: The Thunder Bay Kings are back at the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour looking for their first win at the event since 2016. Playing against opponents from all across North America in the NAPHL, the Kings enjoyed some success this season being led in scoring by Jack Michaelis. The organization that brought the hockey world the Staal brothers will have a shot at success playing in the Shanahan Division alongside a pair of Wild Card entries.
Toronto Marlboros (Regular season: 24-6-3, 3rd GTHL)
Qualified: GTHL Finalist (Facing Don Mills Flyers in GTHL Championship)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (5-1-0, semi-final loss to Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
Players to Watch: Danny Zhilkin (F), Artem Guryev (D), Ethan Del Mastro (D)
Notable Alum: Ryan McLeod (Saginaw Spirit), Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs), Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Outlook: Perennial contenders, the Toronto Marlboros have reached the GTHL Championship Final and bring their usual mix of speed and skill to the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour. Led by Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Coffey behind the bench, the Marlboros have sat atop the GTHL Standings all season and feature a big blue line with five defencemen standing over 6-foot-2.
Waterloo Wolves (Regular season: 20-8-5, 2nd ALLIANCE)
Qualified: Wild Card Play-In victories over Guelph Gryphons and Mississauga Senators
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (0-3-1, 5th Lindros Division)
Players to Watch: Cooper Way (F), Owen Parsons (F), Kyle Maloney (F)
Notable Alumni: Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm), Mitchell Hoelscher (Ottawa 67’s), Keean Washkurak (Mississauga Steelheads)
Outlook: The Waterloo Wolves took the long way into the 2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour, rebound from a Tuesday morning loss to the Mississauga Rebels with back-to-back wins over the Guelph Gryphons and Mississauga Senators. A determined, well-coached team, the Wolves rely on the two-way play of captain Cooper Way and regular season scoring leader Owen Parsons.
Brantford 99ers (Regular season: 21-8-4, 1st ALLIANCE)
Qualified: ALLIANCE Finalist (Currently tied 5-5 pts. with Kitchener in ALLIANCE Championship Series)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (1-3-0, 4th Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Maddox Callens (F), Landon McCallum (F), Cole Hipkin (D)
Notable Alum: Daniel Murphy (Erie Otters), Holden Wale (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Theo Hill (Sarnia Sting)
Outlook: Last year’s ALLIANCE Minor Midget champions, the Brantford 99ers are back at the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour featuring a pair of returnees in Maddox Callens and Cole Hipkin. The first place 99ers have had strong playoff production from Landon McCallum who leads the club with 20 points (6-14–20) over 13 games. OHL grads Andrew Fritsch and Luke Van Moerkerke are on the bench as assistant coaches.
Halton Hurricanes (Regular season: 23-6-3, 2nd OMHA SCTA)
Qualified: OMHA Silver Medalist (Lost to Whitby Wildcats in OMHA Gold Medal Game)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2015 (1-3-0, 4th Nash Division)
Players to Watch: Ethan Burroughs (F), Lawson Sherk (F), Brennan Kennedy (F)
Notable Alum: Matthew Struthers (North Bay Battalion), Christian Propp (North Bay Battalion), Mitchell Brewer (Oshawa Generals)
Outlook: The Halton Hurricanes reached the OMHA Championship Final before falling to the Whitby Wildcats. After a 30-goal regular season, Ethan Burroughs kept scoring into the playoffs while partner in crime Lawson Sherk ended the season with 35 assists. Matteo Drobac was regarded as one of the OMHA SCTA’s top netminders this season and he’ll be counted upon at the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour this week.
North York Rangers (10-19-4, 8th GTHL)
Qualified: Wild Card Play-In victory over Niagara North Stars
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2014 (2-2-0, 3rd Subban Division)
Players to Watch: Logan Dittenhafer (D), Patrick Saini (F), Bryce Richardson (F)
Notable Alum: Ben Garagan (Windsor Spitfires)
Outlook: The North York Rangers are back at the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour for the first time since 2014 following a 3-0 win over the Niagara North Stars. An up-and-down regular season has given way to a golden opportunity for the Rangers as they look to employ a by committee approach against four capable Subban Division opponents. Big 6-foot-4 defender Logan Dittenhafer will see plenty of ice against the best the opposition has to offer.
Qualified: USA Invite
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2018 (1-3-0, 5th Shanahan Division)
Players to Watch: Yuri Ushakov (F), Gibson Homer (G), Joseph Blackley (D)
Notable Alum: Jack Studnicka (Niagara IceDogs), Blade Jenkins (Saginaw Spirit), Alec Regula (London Knights)
Outlook: It’s always interesting to see what TPH Hockey brings to the table and this year will be no different. Russian forward Yuri Ushakov has put up 50 points (26-24–50) over 32 games with the USPHL’s CP Dynamo 16U squad while big defender Riley Rosenthal has put up equally impressive numbers at the South Florida Hockey Academy. 2019 OHL Priority Selection prospects from across several different programs come together to show what they’ve got.
Toronto Nationals (Regular season: 24-5-4, 2nd GTHL)
Qualified: GTHL Semi-Finalist (lost 8-4 pts. to Toronto Marlboros in GTHL Semi-Final)
Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (5-2-0, OHL Cup Championship loss to Mississauga Reps)
Players to Watch: Josh Bloom (F), Ryan Del Monte (F), Landon Cato (D)
Notable Alum: Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion), Ethan Keppen (Flint Firebirds), Zachary Roy (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Outlook: Back after missing out on the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour last year, the Toronto Nationals boast a roster loaded with talent including the offensive presence of Ryan Del Monte and Josh Bloom. Like other talented GTHL clubs, the Nats are strong on the back end as well with Landon Cato, Declan Ride and Deven Nagra sharing the load.