The Jr. A league of Eastern Ontario is known to be a feeder league for various professional and higher-level junior hockey leagues across North America.
These leagues consist of the more obvious – the OHL and the QMJHL – where many former CCHL journeymen find themselves. The list includes many, such as flashy forward Nathan Pancel of the Sudbury Wolves, and top prospect Remi Elie who sports a London Knights sweater.
However due to the volume of graduates, the CCHL most notably acts as a feeder and development league for the NCAA. With multiple players committing from all over North America, the CCHL has already produced 4 official college commits this year, some in the near future and some a few years down the road.
Looking at the list of players, you will see that there is no shortage of talent in the group that has already signed themselves off for the seasons to come.
Eric Israel – Robert Morris University (2015-16)
It’s hard to imagine the kind of damage that Eric Israel will do next season for the Brockville Braves, as he already looks like a season Jr. A veteran in his rookie campaign this year.
I’ve seen Israel play 3 times this season – one thing that I continue to notice from him is the consistency in his game. Rarely do you see a giveaway or lapse on the defensive end of the puck, and on the other side of the ice he’s even more impressive.
The offensive side of this game is a combination of mobility and smarts, proving to be the creator of many Braves scoring opportunities, also using his quick feet to make open space for himself almost at will.
With 21 points in 26 games, by far the most of any D-man on the Braves; the 95-born RMU commit has proven to be a big part of a Brockville squad that currently sits 3rd in their division. Expect his play to only get better as the years goes on.
Jimmy Roll – Lake Superior State University (2014-15)
An import of the Carleton Place Canadians from West Seneca, NY has joined the Superior State team for next season.
Roll is a guy who’s moved around the Jr. A ranks quite a bit. Last season he found himself playing Tier 1 Junior hockey in the United States, finding a home with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers in Iowa. He amassed a total of just 12 points, however this was while playing at the high level of hockey that the USHL advertises
This has clearly helped him along in his return to Canadian Tier 2 hockey, as he is a point per game player with CPC, helping establish the Canadians as the best team in the CCHL.
Next season, a new task is ahead of Roll. With the success of the Canadians combined with the experience of playing for such a good hockey club, it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll fare in his return to American hockey.
Kris Myllari – Penn State University (2016-17)
Pictured at the top of this article, Kris Myllari of the Kanata Stallions has proven to be a special player in his short time around the CCHL.
Another player with a birth date in 1997, Myllari impressed me in the sole time that I’ve seen him on the ice this season. He’s a sizable player with the ability to play on both sides of the puck. This is most likely what got him noticed by Penn State.
However NCAA schools weren’t the only ones to take note of Myllari’s game – as he was taken by the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL in the 2013 Priority Selection and elected to move over to the NCAA route, as a good portion of CCHLers do.
Myllari has a good amount of time – two more seasons to be exact – remaining in the CCHL, which gives him ample opportunity to develop into a special player.
Once he moves on to Penn State, Myllari gets thrown into a sports program that is in the midst of a re-identification which includes a brand new arena on campus. There are no shortage of changes in the hockey program, as the team is currently taking on its first season in the Big 10.
Matt Foget – Merrimack College (2016-17)
When speaking of schools who are known for their development of hockey players, it’s hard not to mention Merrimack College. Local connections Stephane Da Costa of the Ottawa Senators and prolific 67’s scorer Matt Foy both attended Merrimack.
Matt Foget of the Gloucester Rangers is determined to add his name to that list. Looking at his performance up until this point, there doesn’t seem a reason why he won’t at least have an opportunity at doing so.
Foget currently sits 5th on his team in scoring as a 97-born player, the highest Gloucester scorer from his age group.
Foget is a small player, but a very hard worker who doesn’t give in when he’s on the ice. On a last place team like the Rangers, you will occasionally find the atmosphere of the bench discouraging, however I’ve been impressed with the mental toughness of Foget so far this season.
If you poll a group of Hall of Fame members, I would hazard a guess that mental toughness would be rated right at the top as one of the best qualities that a hockey player can possess.
Foget not only has that to his advantage, but a crafty skillset to go along with it. He recently won the CCHL’s Gongshow Goal of the Month competition with this beauty against the Nepean Raiders.
As the season goes on, these players listed above prove to be some of the most notable to watch in the CCHL. This is not only true for the coming season, but also as the years go on when these gentlemen find their way into the NCAA and upper tier ranks of hockey around the world.