With the news that he’ll be eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, 15-year-old Don Mills Flyers centreman Shane Wright is eager to hit the ice at this week’s OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour.
The annual showcase will feature a player granted exceptional status by the OHF for the first time since Connor McDavid set an OHL Cup record with 19 points (11-8–19) for the finalist Toronto Marlboros in 2012.
“I mean I was excited about it anyways, but being granted exceptional status makes me even more eager for this opportunity,” he said following last week’s announcement. “It’s been an exciting season for our team from start-to-finish and we want to come out on top.”
The 2004-born talent from Burlington, Ont. has racked up 66 goals, 84 assists and 150 points over 72 games with Don Mills this season, a team that has led the weekly OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 Rankings in all 17 editions.
A right-handed shot standing approximately 6-foot, 183Ibs., Wright has grown accustomed to playing against bigger, stronger competition.
“I’ve played against 2003’s most of my minor hockey career,” he noted. “My dad has been a big influence on me, encouraging me to play above my age group and reminding me to always push myself to be better. That’s been helpful in my development.”
Wright becomes the fifth OHL player to be granted exceptional status, following in the footsteps of John Tavares (Toronto Marlboros, 2005), Aaron Ekblad (Sun County Panthers, 2011), Connor McDavid (Toronto Marlboros, 2012) and Sean Day (Detroit Compuware, 2013). The trio of Tavares, Ekblad, and McDavid were all chosen first overall in the OHL Priority Selection and later first overall in the NHL Draft.
“I watch those guys on TV almost every night,” Wright glowed. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m in a category with guys of that calibre, so it’s pretty amazing.”
Wright’s most recent accomplishment came in Red Deer, Alta. where he captained Team Ontario to a silver medal at the Canada Winter Games. He finished the tournament with 12 points (6-6–12) over six games.
He took the time following Friday’s announcement to describe some of the strengths and weaknesses in his game.
“I’d say my biggest strength is probably my hockey sense and how I’m able to find my teammates,” he said. “I’m a really competitive guy and I want to win on and off the ice, so I like to compete. I think some areas of my game I’d like to improve are both my shot as well as my finishing ability. Those are both things I’m committed to improving this coming summer.”
Wright, along with his parents Simon and Tanya submitted his exceptional status application back on December 1st. Just over three-and-half months later the wait is finally over and it’s time to hit the ice.
Ready to take the next step, Wright’s Flyers see their first OHL Cup action on Tuesday night against the OMHA’s third place York-Simcoe Express at 7:00pm.