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Troops pick ninth Saturday

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion will exercise the ninth overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection on Saturday.

The Battalion, which finished the season with a won-lost-extended record of 30-28-10 for 70 points and was third in the Central Division before losing a best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal to the Kingston Frontenacs in five games, has 15 picks in the 15-round process.

It’s scheduled to start at 9 a.m. via the Internet, with clubs selecting in inverse order of the overall standings. Non-playoff teams are guaranteed the first four selections.

North Bay has two picks in each of the second and 15th rounds and no pick in either the seventh or 12th round.

The Battalion has its own pick in the second round as well as that of the Oshawa Generals, acquired in a Nov. 30, 2015, trade from the Kitchener Rangers for defenceman Miles Liberati.

The Troops traded their own 14th-round selection to the Guelph Storm on April 4, 2017, for Guelph’s 14th-rounder last year but gained the Owen Sound Attack’s 14th-round pick this year in the Jan. 3 trade that sent Brett McKenzie to Owen Sound for fellow centre Matthew Struthers.

In addition to its own 15th-rounder, North Bay has the Saginaw Spirit’s pick in that round after sending left winger Daniil Vertiy to Michigan on Oct. 15.

The Battalion’s seventh-round selection was dealt to the Attack for defenceman Nick King on Oct. 23, while the 12th-rounder and rearguard Kyle Locke were traded to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Jan. 10, 2016, for left winger Maurizio Colella.

Battalion scouts, under head scout Errol Hook, are to hold a final meeting Friday before the OHL Priority Selection, in which the Sudbury Wolves hold the No. 1 pick. It’s been reported that Sudbury will take centre Quinton Byfield of the York Simcoe Express minor midgets.

The OHL Priority Selection can be followed live at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.

In other news, the Battalion’s Stan Butler is one of seven under consideration for the Matt Leyden Trophy as coach of the year. The others are Drew Bannister of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Billy Burke of the Niagara IceDogs, Hamilton’s John Gruden, Derian Hatcher of the Sarnia Sting, Dale Hawerchuk of the Barrie Colts and Trevor Letowski of the Windsor Spitfires.

In addition, right winger Justin Brazeau is the Battalion nominee for the Red Tilson Trophy as most outstanding player of the year. Brazeau, who led North Bay scorers with 39 goals and 36 assists for 75 points in 68 games, was a 13th-round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the New Liskeard Cubs major midgets.

Among the 20 nominees are Barrie centre Aaron Luchuk, Kingston goaltender Jeremy Helvig, defenceman Evan Bouchard of the London Knights and right winger Jordan Kyrou of Sarnia.

Two Battalion centres from the franchise’s 15 seasons in Brampton won the Red Tilson, Wojtek Wolski in 2005-06 and Cody Hodgson in 2008-09.

The OHL awards ceremony is scheduled June 6 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, but award recipients will be announced periodically throughout the playoffs.

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