In today’s edition of the junior hockey roundup, we have an all-OHL lineup of news including two jersey retirements, a draft pick commitment to Hamilton and a positive drug test resulting in a suspension in the Forest City.
Jan Mysak Commits to Bulldogs
After some not-so-happy news out of Hamilton the last time we checked in, this headline comes with a different feel as a top draft-eligible prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft has committed to playing for the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
On Monday, the team announced that they had signed forward Jan Mysak to a Standard Player Agreement, according to the Ontario Hockey League. Mysak, who is coming from the Czech Extraliga’s HC Litvinov, was a first round pick of the Bulldogs and 20th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.
As an underage player with HC Litvinov, he had five goals and four assists in 26 games. However, his offensive talent showed in his ability to average over a point per game at each level with the Litvinov club in the Czech Republic.
Most recently, he represented Czech Republic at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship where he tallied two points in five games and was one of the top players for his home country.
As a draft-eligible NHL prospect, Mysak is ranked ninth among European skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings, which should land the young forward in the first round of the upcoming draft.
As for the club, Bulldogs President and general manger Steve Staios voiced his excitement to get the commitment from the team’s newest member.
“We are very excited to have received a commitment from Jan. He is a terrific young player and a top talent for this year’s NHL Draft. Our fans will really enjoy watching Jan grow within our organization,” said Staios, according to the release.
London Knights Retire No. 88
On Friday, the London Knights raised their ninth number to the rafters at Budweiser Gardens in London. The team honoured former Knight and current Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane as they lifted the number 88 banner to the ceiling of their home arena.
While he only played one season for the Knights, his numbers were extraordinary in his only OHL season. He finished the 2006-07 campaign with 62 goals and 145 points in 58 regular season games and added 31 points in 16 postseason games for the Knights before graduating to the NHL the following year.
From there, he’s gone on to bolster his resume with the Blackhawks, with three Stanley Cups, a number of individual awards and equal success at the international level representing the US.
“It was amazing what he did, how he did it and all the different ways he scored goals,” said London general manger Mark Hunter. “He has all kinds of skills, but one thing stood out: the will to win, the will to be the best and the will to come to play every night.” (from ‘Patrick Kane returns for memories – a hat – as London Knights retire his number‘, The London Free Press – 1/17/20)
As for Kane, he spent time with the current players on the team and discussed his time playing in London under the Hunter brothers and it was clear that he was a hit in London, even after just one season with the team.
He exited the ice with the hat-trick sombrero that is often thrown onto the ice in London – reminding the crowd, and Kane, of the seven hat tricks he recorded as a Knight. But closing out the night and looking ahead to his Saturday night game in Toronto, Kane had one last message for the fans of his former club.
“It is such a first-class organization and so close to my heart. I’ll never forget you, London.”
One Knight Gone From the Round Table
Sticking with the Knights, it wasn’t all good news for the team this weekend, as Dylan Myskiw was suspended eight games after failing a league mandated drug test. The decision came following an investigation by the CHL and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.
It came down Thursday after it was reported that there was a “prohibited substance found within a post-workout supplement.”
While the CHL recognized that the infraction was, in fact, inadvertent and that the supplement was purchased from a reliable commercial vendor, the team will have to battle without the 20-year-old goaltender until he’s eligible to return Feb. 7.
Related: London Knights – Rich in Tradition
Myskiw was acquired by the Knights in a trade earlier this season with the Sarnia Sting and since then he holds a 10-5 record with mediocre numbers – including a 3.41 goals against average and .890 save percentage.
In the meantime, the Knights will rely on rookie Brett Brochu and have recalled Matt Onuska from the St. Thomas Stars of the GOJHL.
Bryan Little Back in Barrie
As for looking ahead, the Barrie Colts have decided to retire the number 18 in honour of former Colt forward Bryan Little. While many of Kane’s accomplishments came at the NHL level, Little was a big part of the Colts for four seasons.
Over that time his accomplishments were aplenty. He was named the OHL’s rookie of the year in 2004-05 with 68 points in 62 regular season games. He added a gold medal at the World Junior Championships with Team Canada and wore the ‘C’ for the Colts from 2005 to 2007. He remains the all-time leader in goals and points for the Colts franchise and is well on his when it comes to his NHL career.
Little finished his Colts career with 342 points in 247 regular season games, with another 48 points in 38 playoff games for the team.
He’ll see his number raised to the rafters in Barrie on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the Colts take on the Bulldogs.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.