Soo Greyhounds, Sudbury Wolves and North Bay Battalion are the northern teams of the Ontario Hockey League. But not to be outdone by geography, the powerhouse London Knights of southwestern Ontario have four skaters from northeastern Ontario in their system.
At the top of the roster chart are 2000 birth year center Billy Moskal — who London has penciled in to be one of its three overage players for the 2020-2021 season — and 2003 birth year center/left winger Max McCue, who debuted as a rookie for the Knights in 2019-2020.
Moskal and McCue are both former second round picks of the Knights from the Sudbury Minor Wolves of the Great North Midget Hockey League. Moskal was taken by London 40th overall in 2016 while McCue was picked by the Knights 34th overall in 2019.
After spending most of his 2016-2017 rookie season with the St. Mary’s Lincolns of the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League — he did get into 13 OHL games with London — the six foot, 190 pound Moskal has now played in more than 200 matches on the Knight shift.
More of a shutdown forward than a scorer, character kid Moskal netted 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points in 58 games for London during the 2019-2020 OHL season.
Meanwhile, as is their norm when it comes to developing rookies, the always contending Knights took their time with McCue over the course of the 2019-2020 OHL season.
McCue got into just 34 games with the Knights this past season and produced modest totals of two goals, four assists, six points. But what is worth noting is how the 6-foot, 165-pound McCue finished the 2019-2020 season in London.
That is, of the 2-4-6 totals that McCue managed in the 34 games that he dressed for with London, he netted two goals, two assists, four points over eight outings between January 19 and March 1 of this year.
As Moskal and McCue are slated to team up again in London come the 2020-2021 season, another graduate of the Sudbury minor midgets will be looking to make his OHL debut with the Knights.
He is 6-foot-2, 175-pound, 2002 birth year left winger Dario Beljo, who London took in the 10th round, 194th overall back in 2018 out of Sudbury and the Great North.
Beljo has developed in the aforementioned GOJHL the past two seasons with the Komoka Kings, leading them in scoring in 2019-2020 with 31 goals, 27 assists, 58 points in 45 games while making the first all-star team lineup in the league’s nine-member Western Conference.
And adding to its northern Ontario talent pool at the recent 2020 OHL priority selections draft, London came away with a plum prospect in the fifth round, 99th overall, when the Knights nabbed slick, 2004 birth-year defenseman Mason Chitaroni from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds.
The 5-foot-10, 150-pound Chitaroni, who won’t turn 16 until October of this year, picked up six goals, 13 assists, 19 points in 38 regular season games for the Jr. Greyhounds in 2019-2020.
Considered to be a steal as a late fifth-round pick by those who know him better than others, Chitaroni hopes to defy the odds and make the Knights as a 16-year old rookie in 2020-2021.
But if he doesn’t, the Knights could opt to keep him close to London and have him play for any of the nearby teams in the GOJHL, be it aforementioned St. Mary’s or Komoka, or the London Nationals or St. Thomas Stars.
Like most teams in the OHL, the Knights employ a scout who is based in northern Ontario.
London’s scout for the northeastern Ontario area is Steve Warner.
PHOTO: London Knights veteran center Billy Moskal.