Gold Cup standout signs with Bulldogs
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.