Saginaw Spirit captain Mitchell Stephens (a second round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 NHL draft) and goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2016 NHL draft) have been chosen to represent the OHL at the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
The pair were chosen to play in both OHL games, the first of which will take place at the home of the North Bay Battalion
inside North Bay Memorial Gardens in North Bay, ON on Thursday November, 10 and the other at the home of the Hamilton Bulldogs
at the First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, ON on Monday November, 14 of next month.
“To be recognized as two of the top players in the Ontario Hockey League is a big achievement for both Mitchell and Evan,” Spirit GM Dave Drinkill said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. “On behalf of the organization, we want to congratulate them on being named to both games of the CIBC Canada/Russia series. This series puts the very best the OHL has to offer up against top Russian players and to have two Saginaw Spirit players in the game means a lot to the franchise. We wish both players the best of luck when competing in these events.”
The CIBC Canada Russia series is a showcase of six hockey games between select junior players from each of the three leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League
(OHL,WHL, and QMJHL) and a select group of Russian national junior hockey players.
Stephens, a 19 year old forward from Peterborough, ON was chosen to represent the OHL last year at the Canada Russia series but was forced to miss with a foot injury. However, he does have quite a bit of international experience representing his country in each of the past three seasons while also playing for the Spirit. In 2013-14 he was chosen to play for Team Canada in the World Hockey Challenge U17 tournament
, then in 2013-14 he was again chosen to play for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship U18 tournament
. Finally, last year he represented Team Canada at the 2015-16 World Junior Championship U20 tournament.
Cormier, an 18 year old goalie from Bowmanville, ON will be playing in his first Canada Russia Series. He represented his country two years ago playing for Team Canada with a 2.63 GAA and a .900 save percentage at the 2014-15 World Junior Championship U18 tournament
before leading two of the youngest teams ever in the OHL playoffs for the Spirit the past two seasons.
The CHL leads the overall series with 54 wins and 18 losses (and 6 overtime losses). Of the three CHL leagues, the OHL has the best record in the series at 22-3-1, followed by the WHL at 18-6-2, and the QMJHL with a 14-9-3 record.
Game 1- Monday November 7 at Prince George, BC
Game 2- Tuesday November 8 at Edmonton, AB
Game 3- Thursday November 10 at North Bay, ON
Game 4- Monday November 14 at Hamilton, ON
Game 5- Tuesday November 15 at Chcoutimi, QC
Game 6 Thursday November 17 at Baie-Comeau, QC