Hockey's Next Superstar, Aaron Ekblad, Made Numerous Stops in Chatham-Kent This Season
In case you missed him, Aaron Ekblad is the 15-year old hockey phenom from Belle River who many are dubbing, including NHL scouts, as hockey’s next big star.
The 6’3″, 200 lbs defenseman scored more than a point per game this season as a member of the Sun County Panthers Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team competing with and against players a year older than he was.
Recently, Hockey Canada gave Ekblad “Exceptional Player” status, something that was last presented to John Tavaras who went first overall in the OHL and NHL drafts, which allows him to enter the OHL draft and play in the league one year early.
During the regular season and playoffs, Aaron Ekblad made several stops in Chatham-Kent. His Sun County Panthers played in Bothwell and in Chatham including during a 3 games to 1 playoff win over the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget team, a series Ekblad was paramount in for his team.
According to a release by Hockey Canada, Ekblad received a unanimous vote for the “exceptional status” based on a combination of his hockey skills, as well as tests examining his mental readiness, academic abilities, and emotional well being, that occured during a six week review,
“Many players possess the physical tools, but it is the combination of Aaron’s education record, his emotional maturity which is well beyond his stated age, his recognition of the challenges which lay before him and his understanding of what will be required of him to meet those challenges,” said Hockey Canada in an official release.
During his playoff series in Chatham-Kent against the Cyclones, Ekblad managed to rack up 9 points in 4 games, including an incredible 5-point performance in game 1 of their series and 3-points in the elimination game against the Cyclones at Thames Campus Arena in Chatham.
In 3 regular season games against the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, Ekblad managed 6-points, including another 5-point game (1 goal and 4 assists) in early December.
The Barrie Colts hold the 1st overall pick in the upcoming OHL draft. It’s expected the team will use this selection on young Aaron Ekblad. Whether he goes first overall or slips a few positions, Chatham-Kent residents undoubtedly had the opportunity to watch a future NHLer play at local arena’s this past winter.
What do you think? Did you get a chance to see Ekblad play in Chatham-Kent this year?