Aaron Ekblad to be the top pick in 2011 OHL Priority Selection

By League Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League in association with the Barrie Colts today announced that Aaron Ekblad will be the first overall pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, presented by State Farm.

Click here for previous HF Podcat featuring Aaron Ekblad

Colts President Howie Campbell made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon in Barrie.

Aaron will be a featured guest on the live 2011 OHL Priority Selection Draft Show, presented by State Farm beginning at 9:00 a.m.  The draft show along with complete draft coverage is available at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.

Ekblad, a 15-year-old from Belle River, is the 2011 Jack Ferguson Award winner as the player selected first overall in the OHL Priority Selection.  He is just the second Colts player to ever win the award after Daniel Tkaczuk was picked first overall by Barrie back in 1995.  Ekblad also becomes the highest Windsor and Essex County player to be drafted since Ed Jovanovski was chosen second overall by the Windsor Spitfires in the 1993 OHL Priority Selection.

On March 31, 2011, the Ontario Hockey Federation announced the results of the review by Hockey Canada in consideration of the application by the 15-year-old Ekblad, determining that the player is to be granted “exceptional player” status making him the only 1996-born player eligible for the Priority Selection.  Ekblad became just the second player to receive “exceptional player” status and the first since John Tavares in 2005.  Tavares was selected first overall by the Oshawa Generals that season and later became the first pick of the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Last season Ekblad collected 34 points in 30 games played for Sun County before putting up 21 points in 18 post-season games. As a 14 year-old Ekblad led the Sun County Panthers to an ALLIANCE Championship title, and was named a First-Team All-Star at the 2010 All Ontario Bantam AAA Championships.

Barrie Colts Head Scout and Director of Player Personnel Darrell Woodley is very happy to have Ekblad.   “He’s the complete package, a big defenceman who skates real well for a big guy.  He’s got great offensive skills and he’s really committed to his own end, he’s just an all-around type of defenceman, similar to a Chris Pronger type.”

“He has very special qualities about him and he really is a great kid,” said Colts Assistant General Manager Jason Ford.  “He does so many things well-he really is everything you could ever want in a player.”

OHL Central Scouting describes Ekblad as a very composed two way defenceman who has shown some real high end offensive potential. He has a collection of very impressive physical tools. He is very physically mature, possessing a large frame and legitimate size. Ekblad also has great puck skills and an excellent stick. He handles the puck and makes plays with a ton of poise and composure.  Like many young players that possess size, he still has to grow into and come to terms with his physical stature. He displays a real smooth and powerful stride which allows him to get up ice quickly.

Player Bio

Aaron Ekblad                     D             6’3”        200 lbs

Hometown:  Belle River, Ontario

Date of Birth:  February 7th, 1996


                                                                                            GP          G             A             P             PIM

2009-10                Sun County Panthers Minor Midget        30           4              30           34           34

For the fourth straight year, media and fans can watch the first three rounds live on the 2011 OHL Priority Selection Draft Show presented by State Farm beginning at 9:00 am at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.  Host Terry Doyle will be joined on set by Phoenix Coyotes Amateur Scout and former Peterborough Petes General Manager Jeff Twohey, and GTA Scout Tim Cherry of OHL Central Scouting to provide analysis, interviews, and video footage of the next wave of OHL stars.

The webcast is in partnership with CCMC and is shown through league partner NeuLion, presented by State Farm.