Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad has been effective during his team’s run to the OHL Championship series (courtesy of CHL Images)
There are those who wonder if the Ontario Hockey League is being too liberal with its application of Exceptional Player status. But for the now-17-year-old defenseman who was the second to burst through those now-open floodgates, the key to exceptional status is the ability to be a normal, functioning, part of a junior team.
Photo: Owen Sound Attack forward Zach Nastasiuk has followed up a solid sophomore season in the OHL with a gold medal win at the 2013 U18 World Juniors (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
While Team Canada seemingly rode the gifted talent of forward Connor McDavid to their gold medal win over the USA at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, there were contributions right down the roster over the course of this tournament.
Photo: Team Canada strikes the traditional championship team pose after going undefeated at the 2013 U18 WJC to win the gold medal (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
If it's Russia, it must mean gold for Canada at the U18 World Junior Championship as, for the third time on Russian soil, the Canadians once again came away with this tournament's top prize after defeating Team USA, 3-2, in the gold medal game.
Photo: Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid’s first OHL season was a personal success, and he has carried over that performance to the 2013 U18 WJC (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Hype is nothing new to Team Canada's Connor McDavid as it has followed him since he was granted exceptional player status as a 15-year-old, which allowed him to compete in the OHL one year earlier than other players in his age group.
Photo: Forward Vladimir Tkachev has been the scoring star so far for Russia at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
The preliminary round has come and gone at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, and Groups A and B each featured one fairly dominant team.