OHF Announces Exceptional Player Status for Aaron Ekblad

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey Federation today announced the results of the review by Hockey Canada in consideration of the application by Aaron Ekblad, determining that the player is to be granted “exceptional player” status and therefore is eligible for the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection on Saturday May 7, 2011. The process was administered by Hockey Canada with a Special Evaluation Panel assembled to evaluate Ekblad’s hockey and academic documentation and assess his level of maturity in reaching their decision.

“The process established for the exceptional player is an extensive evaluation of the player in all aspects of life,” said OHF Executive Director Phillip McKee.  “Aaron should be very proud, just as the OHF is of him, for achieving the exceptional player status.”

Born February 7, 1996, the 15-year-old Ekblad is a 6’03, 200 pound defenceman.  This season he played for the Sun County Panthers Minor Midget AAA program recording 34 points in 30 regular season games before producing 21 points in 18 playoff games.  Last season at 14-years-old, he was named a First-Team All-Star at the 2010 All Ontario Bantam AAA Championships after leading Sun County to an ALLIANCE Championship title.

Ekblad becomes the first player since John Tavares in May, 2005, to be granted “exceptional player” status.  Tavares was later selected first overall by the Oshawa Generals in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection and played four OHL seasons recording 433 points in 247 career games before being selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.

Aaron started as a member of Regional Express as an 8 year old and and enjoyed the next 6 seasons as a member of a powerhouse Regional 96 Gold team. He was part of their 4 year run as Prospects Champions.

END OF AN ERA – 96 GOLD

What a birth year! This group dominated spring hockey for almost 6 years at their age group and we will no doubt be watching many of them at the next level in years to come. Winners of 4 straight Prospects Championships and multiple other Championships over the years this group was a treat to watch. Most recently the team won the Nike Bauer Championship in April going 5 and 0 and again made it through to Sunday at Prospects but unfortunately dropped a 2-1 decision to Skillz after leading 1-0 the whole game until our opponent scored twice in the final 2 minutes to secure the victory. We have received many great emails from parents and players who have participated with this team and you are correct, great hockey and many great memories that we will all share forever. Great job 96 Gold!