A small market team in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the Espanola Express has become a major location for Ontario Hockey League draft picks to develop.
Notably, no less than nine players who are currently in the Espanola lineup are priority selection draft picks of seven different OHL teams.
Which not only speaks well of the NOJHL as a development league for the OHL but it says a lot about the program in Espanola with Jason Rapcewicz at the helm as president and general manager and Brent Hughes behind the bench as head coach.
Niagara IceDogs have three of their priority selection draft prospects playing in Espanola — 2002 birth year defenseman A.J. Favot, 2003 birth year forward Bradley Brunet and 2004 birth year defenseman Lucas Littlejohn.
The six other OHL draft picks who are currently developing on the Express lane are 2002 birth year goalie Owen Willis (London Knights), 2003 birth year defensemen Josh Kavanagh (Peterborough Petes) and Wade Bolton (Mississauga Steelheads), 2003 birth year forwards Devon Savignac (North Bay Battalion) and Cameron Walker (Kingston Frontenacs) and 2004 birth year forward Luke Bibby (Owen Sound Attack.)
Of note, Savignac, Brunet, Bibby and Walker represent four of the five leading scorers for Espanola through the first six games of the 2020-2021 NOJHL regular season.