The Haliburton County Huskies will be among the best represented clubs at the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s (OJHL) AllStar celebrations, beginning Jan. 13.
After making a stellar start to the 2022/23 campaign, the Dogs had five players selected to participate in the showcase, which is being hosted in Collingwood. Patrick Saini, Ty Collins, Boyd Stahlbaum and Isaac Sooklal each made the cut for Team Mark Giordano, which features the best from the OJHL’s South/East conference. They will face the cream of the crop from the North/West conference as part of Team Zach Hyman.
First-year goaltender Tyler Hodges will be in between the sticks for Team Jake Evans in the InStat Top Prospects game, pitting the league’s best rookies against one another. Hodges will be tasked with stopping Team Justin Danforth, made up of players from the league’s North/West conference.
Teams are named in honour of former OJHL players that went on to play in the NHL.
Hodges will be coached by a familiar face in Brian MacKenzie – the Huskies assistant coach and assistant general manager – filling in at the event for head coach Ryan Ramsay, who has a conflict.
Collins cemented his spot after a phenomenal opening couple of months in the OJHL, where he’s established himself as one of the league’s premiere forwards. Through 34 games he’s recorded 27 goals and 31 assists, with 20 of those points coming on the powerplay.
Stahlbaum makes the cut after impressing for two teams during his senior season. He put up 27 points in 17 games with the Lindsay Muskies to start the year but has taken his game to another level since joining the Huskies. The left-shot winger has been a key contributor on the Dogs’ second line, scoring 16 goals and assisting 15 more in 19 games.
Saini, fresh off an appearance at the 2022 World Jr. A Challenge, was an obvious choice after leading all Huskies forwards in points-per-game so far this year. He’s scored 19 goals and recorded 34 assists across 29 league games.
After having his debut season in the Highlands ruined by injuries last year, Sooklal has taken a step in his final year of junior hockey. He leads all Huskies defencemen with 39 points in 34 games.
The Huskies will have four players competing in the main showcase – more than any other OJHL team.
Hodges will feel aggrieved to have missed out on the all-star game, instead playing in the prospects showcase. Statistically, he’s been the best goaltender in the league this year, with a save percentage of .955 and goals against average of 1.25 across 12 games. He’s 10-2 on the season, recording three shutouts.
All players will be eligible to compete in a new skills competition, debuting this year. Events include hardest shot, accuracy shooting, fastest skater, a speed-skate relay, and an 18-player showdown. Awards will be presented to top individual performers.
The skills competition will take place Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. following a scrimmage between OJHL all-stars and Collingwood Blues alumni. The all-star game takes place 3 p.m. on Jan. 14 and will be televised nationally on CHCH. The Instat Prospect Game will follow at 7:30 p.m.