Gold Cup stand­out signs with Bull­dogs

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TERI PECOSKIE

It’s of­fi­cial. Con­nor McMichael is com­ing to Hamil­ton.

The Ajax na­tive has signed a stan­dard player agree­ment with the Bull­dogs, who se­lected him 11th over­all in last month’s OHL pri­or­ity draft. Team pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager Steve Staios said he was “ex­cited” to add McMichael and feels he has “a very high ceil­ing.”

“He brings a great deal of hockey sense and skill and with those two things there is re­ally some­thing to build off,” he added. “He’s a char­ac­ter kid and will­ing to put in the ef­fort, so we’re ex­cited about where he can take it.”

McMichael, 16, is a five­foot-10, 155-pound cen­tre. He notched 42 goals and 72 points in 42 out­ings with the Ajax-Pick­er­ing Raiders last sea­son while serv­ing as team cap­tain. He also scored two goals and an as­sist at this month’s OHL Gold Cup — a show­case in which On­tario’s top mi­nor midget tal­ent com­petes for an in­vite to Hockey Canada’s na­tional un­der-17 camp — and was named his team’s top player in the bronze medal game.

Staios, who was in the stands for McMichael’s Gold Cup per­for­mance, said his first rounder im­pressed at that tour­na­ment as well as at the team’s ori­en­ta­tion camp in April. “We’re very pleased with our pick,” he added.

With McMichael’s com­mit­ment in place, the Bull­dogs will now turn their at­ten­tion to sign­ing sec­ond round se­lec­tion Arthur Kaliyev. The Amer­i­can­born winger turned heads at ori­en­ta­tion camp, where he led all play­ers in scor­ing — how­ever, he is also be­ing courted by the U.S. Na­tional Team Devel­op­ment Pro­gram. Staios said he ex­pects to have a deal done with the six­foot-one, 165-pound Kaliyev “soon enough.”

McMichael was one of five play­ers to ink OHL con­tracts over the week­end. Billy Con­stanti­nou com­mit­ted to the Ni­a­gara IceDogs, Aidan Prueter and Dun­can Pen­man both signed with the Sag­i­naw Spirit and Jack Quinn agreed to join the Ot­tawa 67’s. NOTES: Michael Cra­marossa is head­ing to McGill Univer­sity. The 20-year-old Bull­dogs grad­u­ate said he re­cently trav­elled to Mon­treal to tour the cam­pus and meet with hockey staff at the

urg­ing of Hamil­ton’s strength and con­di­tion­ing guru Matt Ni­chol — a McGill alum­nus. That was when he de­cided “it seemed right.” Cra­marossa, who played 305 games with the Bull­dogs fran­chise in Hamil­ton and Belleville, plans to pur­sue a Bach­e­lor of Arts de­gree while play­ing for the Red­men. He hasn’t cho­sen a ma­jor . ... The field is com­plete for this year’s Me­mo­rial Cup. The Seat­tle Thun­der­birds clinched the fourth and fi­nal spot by de­feat­ing the Regina Pats in the West­ern Hockey League cham­pi­onship Sun­day. They join the OHL cham­pion Erie Ot­ters, the QMJHL win­ning St. John Sea Dogs and the host Wind­sor Spit­fires in the tour­ney, which kicks off Fri­day . ... For more news and links from around the OHL, visit End to End blog at e2e.thes­pec.com.

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