Any Ontario Hockey League general manager or scout who does his own homework and does not go with the flow may want to go out of his way to check out minor midget aged forward Kobe Barrette of the Timmins Majors of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
For whatever reason — shortsightedness on the part of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association, perhaps — the OHL talent judges won’t find Barrette in the lineup of Team NOHA at any of the showcase tournaments.
That aside, the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Barrette — who is one of only four minor midget aged players on the Timmins roster — leads the Majors in scoring with 11 goals, 10 assists, 21 points in 24 games. He was also called on by the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League as an affiliate player earlier this season and scored a goal in two games.
Barrette’s coach with the Timmins midgets, Brandon Perry, spoke in glowing terms when asked about his rookie forward with the September, 2002 birth date.
“At the beginning of this season he realized what a big jump it was from bantam B hockey to major midget but once he figured it out — and it did not take him long — he has not only become one of the best players on our team but one of the better players in our league,” Perry relayed to HockeyNewsNorth.com.
The 28-year old Perry, who is in his first season as head coach of the Timmins midgets and who has helped guide the program to a major turnaround in 2017-2018 from what was a two-win, 2016-2017 campaign, said Barrette is “a real pleasure to coach.
“He takes the game seriously and he listens to what the coach is saying,” Perry pointed out. “He is a quiet kid and a really good kid and a really good student and as a player you cannot ask for more than what Kobe gives.
“He is a minor midget player who is leading a major midget team in scoring and that is no accident,” Perry said matter-of-factly. “His skill development has improved dramatically and he makes a great effort to be a factor in the offensive zone, defensive zone and neutral zone.”
Perry added that he and his assistant coaches “lean on” Barrette to play in all key situations.
“He plays important minutes for us whether it’s his regular shift, on the power play or on the penalty kill,” Perry continued. “He’s such a smart, skilled player with quick hands and he uses his body to create scoring chances and to prevent them. He’s a great little hockey player and he’s a great teammate who does so many good things that are hard to ignore.”
Perry, a one-time OHL draft pick of the Sarnia Sting who went on to play four seasons in the Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the Kingston Voyageurs and another four with the Queen’s Golden Gaels of Ontario University Athletics and one season at the minor pro level before returning home to Timmins to put his degree to use, has no doubt that Barrette will move up the ladder.
“Absolutely, 100 per cent,” Perry replied, when asked if he thinks Barrette should be a pick at the 2018 OHL priority selections draft.
“First of all, it’s unbelievable that he didn’t get picked for Team NOHA,” said Perry. “That b.s. aside, I really do believe that Kobe will be an OHL draft pick in 2018 and if he does not get taken, that will really be a shame.
“Hopefully the OHL scouts will take a good look him and see for themselves what he has,” Perry summed up. “If the scouts take the time to look at Kobe, then there is no doubt in my mind that he will be an OHL draft pick … and he will go ahead of a lot of the players on Team NOHA.”
PHOTO: Kobe Barrette of the Timmins Majors, in scoring position against the New Liskeard Cubs. (Photo by Timmins Daily Press.)