OHL Gold Cup Takes Off-Ice Regime To New Heights

By  Leah Dyck |   | Posted in " Player Development, Universal Hockey Alumni, Universal Hockey News "

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The OHL Gold Cup finished up over the weekend and there’s a few Universal Hockey students who have a lot to be proud about. The purpose of this event is to act as the first step in the selection process for Team Canada at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.This year, the OHL Gold Cup was hosted in Kitchener, Ontario at the Activa’s Sportsplex from May 4 to 8, 2016 and it showcased 160 of Ontario’s best hockey players born in 2000. 

There was no shortage of Hockey Canada scouts either. Along every wall and tucked in every corner, they could be found wearing suits and leather shoes, while commenting on each other’s choice of socks. Eventually, these scouts will choose 66 players to invite to the Under-17 National Camp, which is the second step of Team Canada’s selection process.

Universal Hockey Academy of Excellence had a lot of students competing in the tournament, including defenceman Declan Chisholm and forward Jack McBain. Born six days apart in the same city, they played for the Don Mills Flyers AAA hockey club this past season, under head coach Daniel Bochner and Jack’s dad, Assistant coach and ex-NHLer Andrew McBain.

At the OHL Gold Cup, McBain and Chisholm both played on the GTHL Red team in five games over the course of four days. “I thought I played really well,” says Chisholm, who was selected at No. 24 by the Peterborough Petes in the OHL Draft Priority Selection. “I think I stood out. I created a lot of offence, I got a lot of power play time and I even got a few points.”

Chisholm definitely stood out amongst the tournament’s defensemen, which is something he’s become rather good at when it comes to tournaments played in the OHL, such as the OHL Cup. That’s one of the benefits of being an offensive defenceman. People take notice.

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Declan Chisholm in action

McBain didn’t go unnoticed either, as he plays centre and captained his Don Mills team this year - he’s always front and centre when it comes to playing hockey.“I’m pretty happy with the way I played,” he said after leaving the tournament with five goals and three assists under his belt. “The talent at the Gold Cup was unreal.The off-ice stuff brought it all to a new level. From the way you act, warm up, prepare before games... I for sure learned a lot of off-ice stuff.”

McBain wasn’t the only son of a retired NHLer competing in the OHL Gold Cup either. Danil Antropov, son of former Toronto Maple Leafs player Nikolai Antropov, was also competing. Playing for the GTHL Blue team, Danil Antropov was selected at the OHL Draft this year too, at No. 6 by the Oshawa Generals. He also just signed with them.“I had a good start,”Antropov says of his performance at the OHL Gold Cup. His father, Nikolai also attended the event. “He said the first and second games were good. I just played differently.”

Jack Mcbain in action 

Changes For Players Off-The-Ice

The OHL Gold Cup isn’t just a stepping stone into the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge though. It’s also a transitional period into the next level of hockey, a brand new experience with a whole new regime.“We had nutrition logs to fill in every day,” says Antropov.“They gave us prepared meals and told us what time we should eat... it was very intense.You had to carry around water bottles everywhere you went.”

The entire tournament was very focused on off-ice training and game preparation.“We arrived at the rink at the same time every day,” says McBain.“It’s all timed out. We tape our sticks, do our stretching, meet with trainers and then we get some time to ourselves. At night, we’d come back to the hotel full of adrenaline.” McBain says he learned a new relaxation technique that the team did together, “we’d listen to relaxing music and it’d help us fall asleep better. I really liked that.”

“We all had interviews with OMHA or GTHL representatives,”Antropov continued.“I talked with Tony Visca. He really liked myself and Akil Thomas. He said to keep doing what I’m doing. We all had to do a six-page questionnaire... It took like an hour... He said he liked the way I answered the questions. He liked my leadership and he said I did good in the competition.That gave me a boost.”

Danil Antropov in action 

Unlike the OHL Cup, rosters in the OHL Gold Cup came together for the very first time.“Playing with different guys for the first time is really hard,” says McBain, who was also selected in this year’s OHL Draft at No. 20, by the Barrie Colts. Playing together for the first time is something anyone could notice in a game, but the difference is expected.

“Playing together makes you pretty close,” Chisholm adds in. “At the beginning, it’s probably harder, but it gets easier at the end.” By mid-June, McBain, Chisholm and Antropov are all expecting to find out if they’re getting an invite to the Under-17 National Camp taking place in July. At this point though, the likelihood of all three of these players getting invites is looking pretty good.

Video : See Danil Antropov, Jack McBain, and Declan Chisholm at the Universal Hockey High Performance Camp 2014 below.

Blog Post by : Leah Dyck

Photo Credit : OHL Images Aaron Bell