The Ontario Minor Hockey Association has released the first edition of the U16 and U18 AAA Top 5 Rankings presented by Hudl for the 2023-2024 regular season. These rankings will be released on a bi-weekly schedule. Teams have a handful of games under their belts now but there's still plenty of time for movement.U16 AAA Rankings
The Jr. Colts jump out as the top ranked team to begin the year, while the defending champion Express hold down the third spot.
Players to Watch
Ethan Belchetz (Oakville Rangers):
Alex McLean (Barrie Jr. Colts): The Jr. Colts play fast and compete for every loose puck, and McLean leads the charge for them. He is relentless on the forecheck, closing down time and space quickly, forcing defenders into bad decisions and jamming them up for turnovers. When creating a turnover McLean can then quickly process the situation and flip the switch to offense immediately. His excellent awareness allows him to already know where his teammates are, so when he gets the puck on his stick, it is off it quickly to create a scoring chance. McLean has excellent poise in tight areas and can make plays with limited space. Given any chances around the slot, he can bury with an accurate release. He is a dynamic forward that pushes the pace for his team.
A pure power forward that has a touch of finesse. The obvious attribute that stands out is his size and strength. Belchetz is just physically stronger than anyone in this age group. Along with his size, he also brings an excellent understanding of the game and the skill to execute. He is a handful off the attack, using his reach and body positioning to hold off defenders and protect the puck. Belchetz's awareness of his teammates allows him to move pucks to great areas and then he attacks open space or drives the net. When given time he will make you pay with his rifle release. Away from the puck his work ethic is apparent as he tracks hard for pucks and creates quick turnovers for transition opportunities.
U18 AAA Rankings
The Ajax-Pickering Raiders use their hot start to take the first spot in the Rankings, with lots of strong competition looking to make a move.
Players to Watch
Joshua Bonnyman (Ajax-Pickering Raiders): Off to a torrid start with 13 points in six games, Bonnyman has been crucial to the potent Raiders offence that leads the East conference in the standings. The team also holds strong defensively.
Ethan Royer (Niagara North Stars): One of the big reasons why the North Stars have won four in a row and lead the West conference. His discipline on the ice shows with his ability to stay out of the penalty box thus far, and the longer he can stay on the ice the more it benefits his team.
Reminder: check out the first episode of Home Ice presented by Hudl where we go behind the scenes of a U16 AAA team.