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Bulldogs add 14 players after OHL Priority Selection Draft

Brantford BulldogsBulldogs add 14 players after OHL Priority Selection Draft

Brantford Bulldogs added 14 players to the organization through the 2024 OHL Priority Selection Draft on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, 2024.

Matt Turek, General Manager of the Brantford Bulldogs, along with Director of Player Personnel Dave Gray and Head Scout Beau Moyer went across the continent, literally, to deliver the Bulldogs their new draft class.

Beginning at the 14th selection the Brantford Bulldogs were excited to be able to call the name of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia product Aiden O’Donnell from the Steele Subaru U18 program. Eligible for the Ontario Hockey League draft as the son of an OHLer, Chris O’Donnell (who suited up with both the Ottawa 67’s & Oshawa Generals, Aiden has already gotten off to an impressive start to his hockey career. Playing the previous two-seasons with the Harbour Storm U15, first as an underage player, the second as captain, O’Donnell collected 64 goals & 125 points in just 64 games. In the 2023-24 season, the 6’2”, 170lbs forward stepped up again to the U18 level with Steele Subaru. Playing against competition up to two years older, O’Donnell dominated, again leading his team in scoring with 46 points including another team high 24 goals & 22 assists in 31 games while adding a team leading 11 points in 12 playoff games. Skating at the Youth Olympic Games for Canada O’Donnell continued to shine, collecting 4 points in 4 games while posting a team leading plus-8. O’Donnell profiles as an intellectually gifted and highly skilled left-shot center that could help lead the Bulldogs offense for years to come.

Quickly back on the clock with the 23rd overall selection in the 2nd round, the Bulldogs looked closer to home selecting Niagara North Stars captain Patrick Babin. A born leader, the Niagara Falls product has captain Niagara North at each of the U14, U15 & U16 levels. Combining his tremendous character with slick puck moving skills, Babin scored 8 goals while leading his team with 28 assists for 36 points in 34 games from the blueline. The 6’0” 170lbs, right shot helped will his team to an OHL Cup birth where he impressed over the 4-game stint. Babin’s efforts over the course of the season earned him his first taste of junior hockey, skating in a pair of contests at the OJHL level with the Niagara Falls Canucks.

Back to venturing across the map in the 3rd round, the Bulldogs selected Sault Ste. Marie’s Nik Rossetto, who played the 2023-24 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15U side, 53rd overall. Growing up in the Soo Greyhounds AAA program, Rossetto was one of the draft’s top goal scorers. Catching eyes in the 2021-22 season with the Greyhounds U14 side, Rossetto posted an eye-popping 39 goals & 26 assists for 65 points in just 24 games. Following that up with an equally as brilliant U15 season scoring 52 goals & 32 assists for 84 points in 57 games, Rossetto stepped up further to the U18 level with a goal & an assists in a single game there. Moving 9 hours southeast for the 2023-24 season with the Penguins, Rossetto continued to burn out goal lights recording 47 goals & 27 assists for 74 points in 53 games. Combining his shot with blinding speed and a will to win, the 5’8” 153lbs right-winger is an exciting addition for the Bulldogs.

Opening up Day 2 of the OHL Priority Selection Draft, the Bulldogs looked up the 401 to the Oshawa Generals U16 program for centerman Layne Gallacher with the 73rd overall selection in the 4th round. Entering the draft off of a brilliant 2023-24 season, Gallacher led his team both as an assistant captain and in scoring in both OMHA competition with 15 goals & 24 assists for 39 points in 32 games & across all competitions with 38 goals & 53 assists for 91 points in 73 games along with a team leading 20 points across 10 OMHA playoff games. The 6’0”, 160lbs center from Brooklin adds another highly talented and defensively responsible middleman to the Bulldogs pipeline.

Turning back to the Niagara North Stars in the 5th round, with the 84th overall selection the Bulldogs went between the pipes for the first time, calling the name of Stoney Creek’s Maksim Corovic. Possessing elite athleticism in goal combine with tremendous size, 6’2” 181lbs, Corovic has the potential to be a dominant #1 for the Bulldogs. Posting a 2.31 GAA & 4 shutouts over the 2023-24 season, Corovic only got better under pressure with a 2.07 GAA through 6 playoff games in a great season for Niagara North. Already familiar with Bulldogs goaltending guru Nick Grainger, Corovic arrives in a great environment to continue his journey to the OHL.

The Bulldogs returned to the clock with the 116th pick in the 6th round selecting Luca Diplacido of the York Simcoe Express. The 6’1”, 187lbs right-shot rearguard skated in 34 games for York Simcoe on the season 4 goals & 12 assists for 16 points while being known for his heavy physical style and ability break the puck out of his own zone.  During the OMHA playoffs, Diplacido really showed off every part of his game, amassing 6 points on 2 goals & 4 assists through 7 games while posting 44 penalty minutes.

In the 8th round with the 143rd overall selection, Hamburg, NY product Reid Crossman was next for the Bulldogs. From the Buffalo Regals OMHA 15s, Crossman led his team in goals, 27, & points, 41, in 30 games during the regular season, potting 10 more than his closest teammate. The diminutive, 5’8”, 159lbs, but offensively spectacular right-shot center led his team again in the playoffs with 6 goals & 8 assists for 14 points in 8 playoff games showing size is no obstacle for a player with his determination.

With the 176th overall selection in the 9th round, the Bulldogs returned to the Oshawa Generals U16 program, selecting a player with a Stanley Cup legacy in his family in Ethan MacLeish. The great-nephew of former 4th overall NHL Draft pick and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Rick MacLeish, Ethan plays a brings a style to the Bulldogs that would have fit well with those Stanley Cup Champion Flyers. A sparkplug at 5’11”, 161lbs, MacLeish posted 4 goals & 11 assists for 15 points in 32 OMHA season games, while totalling 11 goals & 29 assists for 40 points in 74 games across all competitions. With 184 total penalty minutes MacLeish showed he was a nightmare to have to play against and stepped his game up to another level in the postseason scoring 1 goal & 5 assists for 6 points in 10 playoff games while adding another 30 penalty minutes to his totals.

Back on the clock in the 10th round, with the 196th overall selection the Bulldogs added Grand Bend’s Heath Bogart from the Huron-Perth Lakers U16 program. The 5’10”, 152lbs left-shot rearguard brings a blend of skills from the blueline. Posting 3 goals & 13 assists for 16 points in 30 games, Bogart continued to improve into the playoffs where he posted a goal & 3 assists for 4 points in 9 games while playing solid defense and bringing the ability to quickly and calmly move the puck from his own zone. With 2 assists in 4 games at the OHL Cup and a call-up to play a game with the St. Mary’s Lincolns of the GOJHL, Bogart adds another intriguing prospect to the Bulldogs blueline.

Heading to the great white north for the 11th round, the Bulldogs selected Kaden Wicklander of the Sudbury Wolves U16 program with the 216th pick. Like Reid Crossman selected earlier, the diminutive, 5’8”, 136lbs, left-shot center, brings a wealth of offensive ability to the Bulldogs. Scoring 19 goals & 24 assists for 43 points in 36 games with the U16 Wolves on the season, Wicklander earned his way up to the NOJHL, skating in 5 games with the Elliot Lake Vikings recording an assist in his first look at the junior level.

Back to the crease in the 12th round, with the 236th overall selection the Bulldogs added Wellesley product Brock Schaus from the Kitchener Rangers U16 program. Posting a sparkling 2.02 GAA through the regular season with a shutout over 17 games, the 6’0”, 165lbs netminder adds another competitive keeper to the Bulldogs pipeline to keep an eye on.

It was a Niagara North Stars hat-trick in the 13th round as with the 256th overall pick the Bulldogs selected left-winger Easton Poirier. The St. Catharines products joins fellow Niagara North Stars prospects Patrick Babin & Maksim Corovic in the Bulldogs draft class after posting an impressive 11 goals & 20 assists for 31 points in 24 games while stepping up to the U18 level for a trio of contests. In the playoffs, Poirier continued to show his potential with 5 points in 4 games.

In the 14th round, with the 276th pick the Bulldogs looked to the Markham Majors U16 of the GTHL for Wasaga Beach’s Cruz Doner. The 6’2” 170lbs, left-wing brings a north-south powerhouse game to the Bulldogs draft class. Having compiled 4 goals & 11 assists for 15 points over 35 GTHL season games, Doner led his team in that time with 54 penalty minutes. Happier to go through competition than around it, Doner will be a physical force to watch for at Bulldogs training camp.

With the Bulldogs on the clock for the final time in the 15th round, with the 296th overall selection, the team selected Brody Straus from the Waterloo Wolves U16 program. The 6’1”, 172lbs left-winger broke out late in the season for his hometown Wolves. Leading the Wolves with 14 goals & 7 assists for 21 goals in 28 ALLIANCE regular season games, Straus had a phenomenal playoff, combining his heavy physical game with 7 goals & 6 assists for 13 points across 9 playoff games.

The Brantford Bulldogs are extremely proud to add each of these 14 young men to our organization and look forward to seeing them continue their journey and their growth as hockey players and young men with the Bulldogs organization.

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