Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the OHL Academic Players of the Month for January, 2014, including Francesco Vilardi of the Plymouth Whalers,

West Division: The West Division Academic Player of the Month for January is Plymouth Whalers’ rookie forward Francesco Vilardi.  Vilardi, an 18-year-old from Kingston, ON, is currently taking a full course load as a senior at Plymouth High School where he is involved in a very intense academic schedule and is looking forward to carrying his A+ average into graduation this June.  Vilardi has also been enjoying a great year on the ice consistently maintaining a spot among the league’s top-10 rookie scorers and has 30 points in 53 games so far this season.

Midwest Division: The Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for January is Erie Otters’ rookie defenceman Travis DermottDermott, a 17-year-old from Newmarket, ON, has been able to balance his hockey schedule and school work schedule at McDowell High School with ease.  He selected courses that are extremely challenging and he has strived to get the best grades possible. Taking five courses in one semester while playing hockey and achieving all A’s and B’s in those courses is a huge accomplishment.  On the ice, the ninth round 2012 OHL Priority Selection pick has 23 points in 52 games so far this season.  The Erie Otters organization is proud of Travis’ accomplishments this year both on and off the ice.

Central Division: The Central Division Academic Player of the Month for January is Barrie Colts’ defenceman Aaron EkbladEkblad, a Belle River, ON, native who recently turned 18-years-old, receives this monthly honour for the third straight year.  The 2014 NHL Draft prospect and member of Canada’s National Junior Team has been enjoying a great year on and off the ice.  The Colts’ captain is currently carrying an 85% average in his Grade 12 courses at Blyth Academy.  Teachers have described Aaron as a student that “exemplifies dedication, academic excellence and consideration for others at all times. He is an inspiration to the other students.” The staff at both Blyth and the Barrie Colts want to congratulate Aaron on an excellent term.

East Division: The East Division Academic Player of the Month for January is Belleville Bulls’ second-year forward Michael CramarossaCramarossa, a 17-year-old from Markham, ON, was the Bulls’ third round selection in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection and has 13 points in 50 games this season.  Cramarossa is currently maintaining an average of 91% and was recently named to the Principal’s Honour Roll at Quinte Secondary School.  His teachers describe him as “showing great leadership, intensity, and an innate ability to be a person of influence - a true leader in all his classes.”

2013-14 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

West Division:

January – Francesco Vilardi (Plymouth Whalers)

December – Ryan Moore (Windsor Spitfires)
November – Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
October – Connor Schlichting (Sarnia Sting)

Midwest Division:

January – Travis Dermott (Erie Otters)

December – Brett Hargrave (Owen Sound Attack)
November – Owen MacDonald (London Knights)
October – Curtis Meighan (Kitchener Rangers)

Central Division:

January – Aaron Ekblad (Barrie Colts)

December – Austin Gerhart (Mississauga Steelheads)

November – Connor Burgess (Sudbury Wolves)

October – Johnny Corneil (Niagara IceDogs)

East Division:

January – Michael Cramarossa (Belleville Bulls)
December – Mitchell Webb (Peterborough Petes)
November – Andrew Abou-Assaly (Ottawa 67’s)
October – Mitchell Vande Sompel (Oshawa Generals)