To the OHL via the NOJHL

February 17, 2024

Those in the game who don’t take the time or make the effort to get to know the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League would thus be unmindful to the number of players that it develops for teams in the Ontario Hockey League.

Andrew Gibson

To be sure, there are more than a score of OHL draft picks who are currently suiting up for a variety of NOJHL teams. And of further note, there are a number of high end players who played at least a full season in the NOJHL who are now mainstays on teams in the OHL.

Following are five examples — and there are more — of players who have moved up from the NOJHL and who are now sustained and even key component players in the OHL.

Andrew Gibson, Soo Greyhounds. A slick, world class defenseman with size who spent one full season in the NOJHL with the Soo Thunderbirds, Gibson is now a second year standout with the OHL Greyhounds who puts up big points from his blue line position. Not only that, Gibson — who has a 2005 birth date — was a second round pick by the Detroit Red Wings at the 2023 National Hockey League draft.

Tyson Doucette

Cooper Foster, Ottawa 67’s. Now in his second full OHL season with the 67’s as a productive forward, Foster, like Gibson, also starred over the course of a year in the NOJHL with the Thunderbirds. A 2005 birth year skater, Foster was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the sixth round of the 2023 NHL draft.

Tyson Doucette, Sarnia Sting. A late developing forward with a 2004 birth date, Doucette is another NOJHL grad who spent the equivalent of a season with the Thunderbirds. A free agent signee to the OHL by Sarnia in 2022, Doucette has blossomed as a second year skater who leads the Sting in the goal scoring department. He is expected to be a highly coveted overage player in the OHL next season, either in Sarnia or elsewhere.

Conor Walton

Chase Lefebvre, Peterborough Petes. After scoring more than 30 goals in just over 50 NOJHL games with the French River Rapids, Lefebvre made it to the OHL with the eventual league champion Petes last season as a former 15th round pick. A 2004 birth year forward, Lefebvre has passed the 30 point mark for Peterborough this season.

Conor Walton, Windsor Spitfires. Espanola Paper Kings of the NOJHL played a season long role in 2022-2023 in the development of the hulking defenseman who is now a top four defender with the OHL Spitfires. A big body who can skate and who plays with an edge, Walton has fit in well this season as one of three young defensemen with 2006 birth dates on a rebuilding Spitfires team. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *