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Battalion prospects get Ontario call

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Brett McKenzie headlines five North Bay Battalion prospects among 68 players invited to the Ontario under-17 provincial camp to be held at Oshawa, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Friday.

The camp, to evaluate players for the Ontario team that will compete at the World Under-17 Challenge at Sydney, N.S., and other Cape Breton centres from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5, is to be held at the General Motors Centre, home of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.

All but one of the players named to the camp, to run from Aug. 14-18, were chosen in the OHL Priority Selection on April 6. Players who advanced to the provincial camp competed at the OHL Gold Cup held at Kitchener from May 9-12.

Apart from centre McKenzie, the Battalion invitees are left winger Mike Baird, defenceman Riley Bruce, goaltender Evan Cormier and left winger Austin Eastman. All five participated in the club’s orientation camp May 25-26 at North Bay.

McKenzie, a resident of Vars, was the Troops’ first-round pick, from the Oakville Rangers minor midgets. Baird, who hails from Cayuga, was chosen in the second round from the Southern Tier Admirals minor midgets, while Bruce, from Carp, was tabbed in the third round from the Ottawa Valley Titans minor midgets.

Cormier, a Bowmanville resident, was taken in the fifth round from the Clarington Toros minor midgets, and sixth-round choice Eastman, who lives in Lindsay, was picked from the Central Ontario Wolves minor midgets.

In its 15-year history in Brampton, the Battalion placed 15 players on under-17 teams, including three current members of the roster.

Left winger Brandon Robinson won bronze at Windsor in January, 2012, while defenceman Marcus McIvor won gold at Winnipeg in January, 2011. Left winger Barclay Goodrow captured silver in January, 2010, at Timmins, Ont.

Centre Sam Carrick won gold in January, 2009, at Port Alberni, B.C., and centre Matt Duchene helped Ontario to the title at London in January, 2008. Centre Cody Hodgson won gold at the Canada Winter Games at Whitehorse, Yukon, in February, 2007.

Other Troops to play on under-17 teams include defencemen Tyler Hanchuck and Jay Harrison and left winger Wojtek Wolski. All three took part in the Canada Winter Games.

Centres Matt Grennier and Jay McClement, left wingers Adam Henrich and Aaron Snow, defenceman John de Gray and goaltender Brad Topping played in the World Under-17 Challenge.

The Ontario entry is to be coached by Roger Hunt, an assistant with the Generals. He will be assisted by Drew Bannister and Seamus Kotyk, assistants with the Owen Sound Attack and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds respectively.

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