The minor midget talent pool from North Bay out-splashed Sault Ste. Marie by several lengths at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft.
No less than five players from the minor midget North Bay Trappers were among those chosen at Saturday’s 15-round OHL draft.
By comparison, only one player from the minor midget Soo Thunderbirds was taken.
The contrast may be traced to the difference in the records between the respective teams as members of the minor midget division of the Great North Midget Hockey League.
As the North Bay minor midgets posted a rousing record of 17-7-0 in 2017-2018 Great North action, the Soo minors had a murky mark of 2-18-4.
Meanwhile, in a stellar show of support and development between minor midget and major junior hockey in the Gateway City, all five Trappers who were taken at the 2018 OHL draft were selected by the hometown North Bay Battalion.
By comparison, the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL totally ignored the Soo minor midgets at Saturday’s draft.
As for the Trappers-Battalion love story, it began in the first round and carried through until the 15th.
As expected, the Battalion took Trappers hard-nosed, high-scoring, smooth-skating defenseman Pacey Schleuting in the first round, ninth overall.
The Battalion then opted for goal-a-game forward David Campbell in the fourth round, a selection which accented the current difference between the minor hockey landscapes in North Bay and the Soo.
Campbell, a Sault Ste. Marie product, moved away from home last fall specifically to play minor midget hockey in the smaller town of North Bay.
At any rate, the OHL Battalion was far from finished with players from the minor midget Trappers after taking Schleuting and Campbell.
The Battalion then went for right winger Jesse Kirkby in the ninth round, goalie Reece Proulx in the 11th and centre Jack Stockfish in the 15th.
Meanwhile, speedy forward Justin Mauro was the lone player from the Soo minor midgets to be taken at the 2018 draft.
Mauro, who led the minor midget Thunderbirds in scoring during the 2017-2018 regular season with 9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points in 22 games, was drafted by the Erie Otters in the 15th round.
Back to Schlueting, the big defender told Postmedia that he was “honoured” to be drafted by the hometown Battalion.
“It was probably the most exciting moment of my life,” said Schleuting.
“I really admire what the Battalion are doing,” said Schleuting, noting how North Bay’s OHL team scouts and pays close to attention to the Trappers minor hockey program.
“The Battalion treats the home-town boys well,” added Schleuting, who was thrilled that four of his Trappers teammates were also drafted by the North Bay OHLers.
“I’m so happy for them, they all worked so hard this year,” Schlueting said of Campbell, Kirkby, Proulx and Stockfish.
PHOTO: David Campbell (left) and Pacey Schleuting (right) are now OHL prospects of the North Bay Battalion.