U.S. Born Phenom Ready For the OHL

By Scott Hamburger

On May 5th, the Mississauga Ice Dogs made 16 year old Patrick O’Sullivan
the first overall pick in this years OHL priority draft. Making him only the
second USA born player to be selected 1st overall. “This O’Sullivan kid is
gonna be something, we watched him play one night in his junior A league and
he was the most dominant player on the ice scoring 2 goals and 2 assists, we
decided right then that he was the best player available in the 1985 draft.”
said Ice Dogs GM Don Cherry. While only 16, he’s shown that he has the
talent and the heart to make the jump into the Ontario Hockey League, and his
competitive attitude should make the transition easy on him.

Playing with guys a lot older than him will be nothing new to Patrick.
This past season O’Sullivan was the youngest on his U.S.A. Development Team
(Under-17). In league and international play O’Sullivan lead his team,
scoring 33 goals with 51 assists in just 63 games this season. Which was
good enough to earn him spots on both the NAHL All Star Game and the All
rookie team. “He’s got a great hockey sense and always knows where everyone
is on the ice.” says team mate Greg Goodnough. Although he shows a lot of
maturity and confidence on the ice, he won’t let his early success get to his
“I had an alright year, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. I
would have liked to make the playoffs in the NAHL but winning the gold at
Christmas was the best moment of my life.” said O’Sullivan. “Pat has great
hands, and can stick handle and make plays at very high speed with his head
up. He competes hard and is a great set-up guy but can also put the puck
home.” Said Ryan Whitney of the Under-18 team.

But the past, is the past, and now O’Sullivan is thinking about the
future. His first OHL training camp is just a few months away, and he seems
as calm as a 4 year veteran of the league. “I am not nervous at all, I’m
going into my 4th year of junior hockey so the nervousness is basically gone
by now.” “I’m really looking forward to this up coming season, I am really
looking forward to playing with Patrick Jarrett and improving our teams
record” said O’Sullivan when asked for his feelings on being drafted by the
Ice Dogs. That very “team first attitude” is what will help him succeed in
what he calls “A quicker league in which the players are bigger and
stronger.” “I’ll be ready and looking forward to the challenge” added
Patrick. “I feel the OHL is the best developmental league in the world and
it best prepares you for the NHL style game.”

Is it his speed, hands, vision, passing, shot or just his great attitude
and confidence that has Ice Dogs GM Don Cherry comparing him to the likes of
Steve Yzerman? It’s a very rare thing to find such a blend of skills,
especially from a kid who’s only 16 years old. I only see Patrick improving
with time because of his love for the sport and he WANTS to learn and get
better. That might be his MOST important characteristics of all. At this
point the best thing for him is experience. Keep your eyes and ears open for
the name Patrick O’Sullivan, I have a feeling that you’ll be hearing it a lot
from now on.