Niagara IceDogs will choose #4 in Ontario Hockey League priority selection draft


Published April 20, 2022 at 9:25 pm

The Niagara IceDogs will not get to draft phenom Michael Misa after finishing in the cellar this season.

For the first time, the Ontario Hockey League held a lottery to determine the draft order among the four non-playoff teams. The OHL announced the results on Tuesday and the IceDogs will have the No. 4 selection in the priority selection draft on April 29-30.

The top of the draft class includes Oakville-born forward Michael Misa, an ‘exceptional status’ 15-year-old. Misa led the Mississauga Senators under-16 team to the OHL Cup earlier this month, breaking a tournament scoring record held by Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid.

The Saginaw Spirit received the No. 1 choice and the inside track to draft Misa. The Erie Otters will choose No. 2 and the Sudbury Wolves will choose No. 3.

The IceDogs’ 22-42-4 record was their poorest over a complete 68-game schedule since moving to St. Catharines in 2007.

Two weeks ago, coach Billy Burke and general manager Joey Burke received two-year suspensions from the league. The bans, along with a fine, were spurred by an OHL investigation after the league received transcripts of a March 6 WhatsApp coaching group chat between the pair and other coaching staff that was ridden with profanities, including three slurs against women and an anti-LGBTQ comment.

The IceDogs did not have first-round choice in 2021 after forfeiting it due to a violation of player recruiting rules.

Two seasons ago, they selected Pano Fimis with the No. 2 overall choice. Fimis had 14 goals and 44 points across 54 games in his belated rookie season, sharing the team lead in assists.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario league was the only one in the Canadian Hockey League that did not have a draft lottery among non-playoff teams. The lack of a season in ’20-21 led to using a lottery for all 20 teams to decide the draft order last spring.

(Cover photo by Terry Wilson, OHL Images.)

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