The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) gets the spotlight today. As we go around the league, we check in on a defenseman who is doing great things within his community. Plus, a familiar last name to OHL fans signs on and we profile one of the best shots in this year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft class.
Woolley Leading On and Off the Ice
Owen Sound Attack defenseman Mark Woolley may not ever get to be a professional hockey player, but he is still doing as much as he can to make a positive impact in his community. He has played in 171 OHL games over the past three seasons, scoring six goals and 29 points to go along with a minus-two rating.
Woolley has put together a solid junior career while being a Type I diabetic. He recently told Lukas Weese of The Hockey News that having diabetes forced him to grow up faster and become a better leader.
Shortly after being traded to Owen Sound from the Guelph Strom, he started his own foundation, Woolley’s Warriors. On Feb. 22, before a home game versus the Erie Otters, he gave a $35,000 check to Diabetes Canada, on behalf of his charity. The money, raised over a six-month period, went towards setting up camps for kids with diabetes.
Through his organization, Woolley shares his story and experiences with other kids living with the disease. But he is always willing to listen and learn from them. Last season, Woolley spoke with up to a dozen kids and their families after each Attack game. Given the tight-knit nature of Owen Sound, it allows for hockey players like Woolley to build unbreakable bonds with members of the community. And the post-game talks serve as a two-way street. “One 10-year-old boy had a service dog to help with his diabetes,” said Woolley. “When I saw that, I had tons of questions about it because that’s something I’d be interested in.”
Woolley is ranked as the 217th North American skater by NHL Central Skating, so it is unsure on whether or not he will be drafted later this fall. No matter what happens in the future, he is making a positive influence in Owen Sound that will outlast his playing career.
IceDogs Get Big Commitment
Staying in the OHL, the Niagara IceDogs announced that they signed 2020 Priority Selection 82nd overall pick Ryan Struthers to a Standard Player Agreement. The 16-year-old forward stands 6-feet tall and weighs 161 pounds.
He scored 13 goals and 30 points in 29 games for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s (OMHA) Oakville Rangers U16 AAA. His team was in the midst of preparing to play for a spot in the 2020 OHL Cup, which is one of the top showcases for minor midget players in Ontario.
General Manager Burke announced the signing today, saying “This is another exciting addition for us. Ryan does everything at a fast pace and is one of the better skaters from this April’s draft. He just adds to our already great 04 depth. We were shocked and thrilled to get him in the fifth round.”
OHL fans should be familiar with the last name. Ryan’s older brother, Matthew, played five seasons in the league with the Attack and North Bay Battalion and signed an American Hockey League (AHL) contract with the Cleveland Monsters last May.
Prospect of the Day – Tyson Foerster
Considering our first two segments involved OHL players, we might as well stick with the theme for the Prospect of the Day. Foerster, a 6-foot-1 forward who can play center and wing, is coming off of a big season with the Barrie Colts.
In 62 games before the 2019-20 season was called off, Foerster scored 36 goals and 80 points. He had very little buzz surrounding him after just 23 points during his rookie season. A 13-game point streak starting in late September got his season off on the right foot and he took it from there.
Related – 2020 NHL Draft Guide
He eventually earned a spot in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Top Prospect’s Game. Heading into the game, the spotlight was on players like Quinton Byfield, Jamie Drysdale and Alexis Lafreniere, but it was Foerster who was the game’s Most Valuable Player.
His biggest asset is his powerful shot, which helped him lead the OHL with 18 power-play goals. It comes off his stick in the blink of an eye and gets to the back of the net in a hurry.
Our own Mark Scheig feels that Foerster won’t be a first-round pick, but he could still be a solid pick for a team that has the time to wait on his development.
Most of the industry has Foerster as a solid second rounder. I tend to agree with this. His performance at the CHL Top Prospects’ Game certainly made a lot of scouts fans of his game. While some see him as a late first possibility, middle of the second seems about the range we’ll hear his name called. That will make patient teams very happy.
While he has a lethal shot to go along with high hockey IQ and good passing skills, he still needs to work on his skating and playing without the puck. His development over the next couple of seasons could determine if he will be nice find after the first round or another forgotten name of a draft class.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.