Imagine being able to see into the future, and enjoy popcorn, a cold drink – and a hockey game – while doing it. That may sound like science fiction, but getting a glimpse into the future is something fans of the North Bay Battalion get to do at every home game.
As one of the 17 cities in Ontario featuring an Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team, the North Bay Battalion is more than just a great partner to the community of North Bay. It’s a place where future National Hockey League (NHL) stars are showcased every single season. In fact, throughout their history, the Battalion rank seventh among Ontario Hockey League teams for having the most players selected in the NHL draft since 1993.
No less than 43 Battalion players have had their name called by NHL teams while skating for the Battalion, including eight players who have laced up for the team since it relocated to North Bay.
Take this season for example. On any given Battalion game at the Memorial Gardens, fans can see some of the most talented junior hockey prospects playing in Canada working their magic against the home team. That includes names such as Quinton Byfield, Cole Perfetti and Jamie Drysdale, three exceptional OHL stars who are on a fast-track for the NHL. Watching Byfield take the ice is in itself worth the price of admission; looking at the best draft-year performances to come out of the OHL in the last decade, Byfield’s P/GP trails only two players: Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid and the Toronto Maple Leaf’s star forward Mitch Marner. That puts Byfield’s production above such current NHL stars as John Tavaras, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrei Svechnikov.
Budding NHL prospects make a night at a Battalion’s game one of the accessible experiences for any hockey fan who loves to watch the game. Catching these talented athletes in their development years, showcasing their skill in the OHL, is a big benefit of living in a city with an OHL team. These players are highly motivated every night, working hard to impress coaches, fans and scouts in the hope of climbing up the prospect ladder and getting one step closer to fulfilling their hockey dream.
Consider the following names and you’ll find two things in common:
…they are all playing in the NHL and all of them played OHL hockey at North Bay Memorial Gardens.
For more information on where to see future NHL stars in action, click here.