City native aiming for OHL title in Ottawa
What’s good for the Ottawa 67’s is good for Will Cranley, says the rookie OHL goalie.
The Peterborough native has served as the back-up goalie on the OHL’s first place club. Earlier this week he was bumped to third-string when the 67’s acquired potential national junior team goalie Michael DiPietro from the Windsor Spitfires.
As well, on Wednesday Cranley was named the OHL East Division Academic Player-of-theMonth for November.
As Ottawa’s second-round draft pick in April he’s clearly a part of the club’s future but his immediate future was thrown into doubt by the trade. Cedric Andree played the bulk of games prior to DiPietro’s acquisition.
“We’re still trying to sort things out on my end,” said Cranley. “I’m not sure what is happening, yet.”
Cranley leads the league in minutes played by a 16-year-old goaltender. He’s played to a 3-12-0 record with a 3.32 goalsagainst average and .883 save percentage over seven games.
The 67’s interest in DiPietro has been rumoured for a while so it wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I knew it might be the best thing for the team,” said Cranley. “Our team is obviously doing pretty well in the CHL and we’re 100 per cent in to going out to win a championship here. Our staff and everyone is pushing for it. It’s a great pick-up for our team. He’s a world class goalie and is going to the world juniors (selection camp). We have two of the best goalies in the league right now. It’s great for the team.”
Now that the DiPietro deal is done, 67’s general manager James Boyd said his biggest focus is on trying to settle Cranley’s situation. If DiPietro were to make Team Canada he’d be away from the 67’s for more than a month so Cranley would be needed in Ottawa. Finding an opportunity for Cranley to get into games at a junior A or B level is not easy at this time of year and teams are limited on how many 16-year-olds they can carry, said Boyd. “He’s really benefitted from practising with our team and our goalie coaches are fantastic ... I have to take some time and sit down with them and get their input about what the best move is here. No doubt, he’s a priority for us.”
It’s only going to benefit Cranley to play at a lower level if he can be the starting goalie, said Boyd. “We want Will to play.’
It’s also important to factor in how it affects his schooling, said Boyd. Cranley earned the academic award for holding an 88 per cent average in Grade 11 university level courses at Blyth Academy in Ottawa. Cranley is studying biology, chemistry and mathematics.
“Will is viewed by his teachers as a dedicated student who is able to balance the demands of hockey and education with his perseverance, respectful behaviour and positive outlook,” stated 67’s academic advisor Eileen Duffin, in an OHL press release.
“It’s an honour,” said Cranley. “It’s hard to balance hockey and school, for sure, but Blyth Academy make it possible and really help their athletes get good grades.”
Cranley represented Team Canada Red at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Then-Peterborough Minor Midget AAA Petes goalie Will Cranley makes a save during the OHL Cup Showcase in Toronto in June.