County boys nabbed in OHL draft
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor Three hockey players who call Glengarry home were chosen last weekend in the Ontario Hockey League’s 2018 Priority Selection draft
Dunvegan’s Joe Vrbetic, a goaltender, was picked in the second round, 31st overall, by the North Bay Battalion. The 15-year-old checks in at 6 ft. 4 in., 163 lb. He played the 2016-17 season as a member of the Eastern Ontario Wild major bantam ‘AAA’ team, amassing a regular-season 1.99 goals against average through 15 games. In playoff action, Vrbetic posted a 2.32 GAA over five contests.
Last season, he moved to the Toronto area, to join the Don Mills Flyers minor midget ‘AAA’ program.
In OHL Cup play, Vrbetic chalked up a 4.45 GAA and .862 save percentage.
In the Battalion’s press release, Vrbetic was quoted saying, ““I’m truly honoured to be selected. I can’t wait to get started.”
In 2017, the goaltender was selected by the CCHL Ottawa Jr. Senators, in the bantam protect draft.
Vrbetic’s netminding partner from the 2016-17 season with the Wild, Nicholas Heinzle, was also chosen in last weekend’s OHL draft, taken by the Sudbury Wolves, in the 13th round.
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The native of Glen Robertson is 16 years old, standing 6 ft. 2 in. and weighing 174 lb.
The winter that he shared the netminding duties, Heinzle chalked up a 1.49 GAA in 14 regular-season games with the Wild, followed by a 2.60 GAA in five playoff contests.
Last season, backstopping the U18 Hawkesbury Hawks, Heinzle had a 1.97 GAA and a .917 save percentage in 21 regular-season matches.
Apple Hill’s John Richer, a defenceman last season with the Ontario Hockey Academy U17 squad, was chosen in the ninth round of the OHL draft, by the Erie (Pennsylvania) Otters.
Checking in at 6 ft. 3 in, 175 lb, the blueliner chalked up 11 points in 35 contests (regular season and playoffs) as a member of the Mavericks.
He spent the 2016-17 season with the Wild major bantam team (along with Vrbetic and Heinzle), seeing action in 39 matches.
The OHL draft was held online, April 7. The top overall pick went to the Sudbury Wolves, who chose centreman Quinton Byfield, from Newmarket.
The top draftee from our region was Josh Barnes, of Cornwall. The centreman starred with the U18 Colts last season.