Flint’s Will Bitten and Alex Peters were among the 36 players that will represent the OHL in the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series. The two will suit up for Team OHL on Monday, November 16 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.
Team OHL will compete against the Russian National Junior Team in Game 3 of the series in Owen Sound on Thursday, November 12, with Game 4 to be played in Windsor on Monday, November 16. The series also includes two games in the Western Hockey League prior to both OHL games, and ends with two games hosted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We are very excited that the Flint Firebirds have had two players selected to participate in the CHL Canada Russia Series,” said Firebirds General Manager Terry Christensen. “Will Bitten has gotten off to a great start and is a major reason why the Flint Firebirds have enjoyed the success they have had so far.”
All games will be nationally broadcasted live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports. In 12 years of competition against the Russian National Junior Team, the OHL has a record of 20-3-1 in this series following a 4-0 loss in Peterborough and a 5-1 victory in Kingston last season.
“Our captain has provided excellent leadership for our hockey team both on-and-off the ice," added Christensen. "He is regarded as one of the best defensive defenseman in the OHL and we are very excited that he is being rewarded with being selected to represent Team OHL against Russia.”
36 players will represent the OHL in the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series including 13 players who received invites to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Showcase. Headlining that group is Florida Panthers prospect Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs who won gold as a member of Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Summer Showcase invites on Team OHL also include goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood of the Barrie Colts, defencemen Travis Dermott of the Erie Otters, Vince Dunn of the Niagara IceDogs, Roland McKeown of the Frontenacs, and Mitchell Vande Sompel of the Oshawa Generals. The forward group includes New York Islanders 2014 first round pick Michael Dal Colle of the Generals, Philadelphia Flyers first round pick Travis Konecny of the Ottawa 67’s, Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick Mitch Marner of the London Knights, Arizona Coyotes first round prospects Brendan Perlini of the IceDogs and Dylan Strome of the Otters, Dylan Sadowy of the Saginaw Spirit, and the Frontenacs’ Spencer Watson.
Both 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series hosts will be represented by a pair of hometown players. In Owen Sound, Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven and Florida Panthers prospect Thomas Schemitsch of the Attack will dress for Team OHL on November 12, while the Spitfires’ Logan Brown and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Cristiano DiGiacinto will play before the Windsor crowd on November 16.
Behind the bench for Team OHL in Owen Sound will be Attack head coach and 2014 Canadian National Junior Team assistant Ryan McGill along with Attack assistant coach Derek King, while Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson and assistant coach Jerrod Smith will work the game in Windsor. Serving behind the bench in both games is Spitfires associate coach Trevor Letowski who was recently added as an assistant coach for Canada’s 2016 National Junior Team. Letowski previously served as an assistant coach for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship winning a bronze medal.
The Team OHL rosters were assembled by a Selection Committee that includes Attack General Manager and member of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence Management Group Dale DeGray, and Storm General Manager Mike Kelly. Both DeGray and Kelly worked in consultation with Hockey Canada Director of Player Personnel Ryan Jankowski.