All-Ontario Championship Preview

Apr 12, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

Photo from Instagram | @2008vk
Photo from Instagram | @2008vk

Vaughan Kings, Elgin-Middlesex and York-Simcoe highlight provincial tournament

The U15 All Ontario Championship gets underway on Wednesday. The teams competing are the six league champions, plus the host team. Participants will compete in a six-game round robin that runs through Saturday. Then, on Sunday, the top four teams advance to the playoffs.

The tournament — despite only having seven teams — features three of the top four 2008-born teams in Canada. No. 1 Vaughan Kings, No. 3 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and No. 4 York-Simcoe Express headline this tournament of champions. Plus, the Soo Jr. Greyhounds and Upper Canada Cyclones have made appearances in the Top 10 this season as well.

Take an in-depth look at each of the seven participating teams in our Power Rankings below:

7. Sudbury Nickel Capitals – Host Team

They enter the tournament as an honorary participant. The Soo Jr. Greyhounds were already set to compete as the host team. However, the Jr. Greyhounds doubled down by winning the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) championship. Because of that, a seventh team was necessary for competitive balance, so Sudbury Nickel Capitals entered the chat. They come in with a 9-26-2 record on the season and just two victories since Christmas. They average 3.95 goals against this season and could face quite the uphill battle in the All-Ontario Championship this week.

6. Thunder Bay Kings – Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO) champion

Another team that comes into the All-Ontario Championship with a sub-.500 record. The Thunder Bay Kings have already played Vaughan and Soo earlier this season. However, they’re 0-6-0, having played both opponents three times each. While the team has struggled this season in the win column, it’s come while playing one of the toughest schedules in the province. Only Vaughan and the Toronto Marlboros have played a more difficult slate of games in ‘22-23, according to MyHockeyRankings. Are they battle tested enough to compete in this tournament of champions? 

5. Upper Canada Cyclones – Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) champion

The Upper Canada Cyclones debuted in the Top 10 in September, but dropped out shortly after and never returned. They enter the tournament as a relative unknown to fellow participants. Cyclones have only played three games against All-Ontario Championship teams; splitting wins with Elgin-Middlesex and defeating Sudbury 6-2 in November. Admittedly, they may be a tad low at No. 5 here. That split with EMC is telling, as even in defeat, UCC took the higher-ranked Canucks to overtime. The Cyclones can compete at a high level, but they’ll have to do it against the best of the best this week.

4. Soo Jr. Greyhounds – Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) champion

A little home cooking never hurts. Being able to play in their home rink, use their home locker room and sleep in their own beds. It’s certainly a nice perk for the Soo Jr. Greyhounds that the other six teams might not get to enjoy. They tied York-Simcoe 1-1 in January, and were shut out 4-0 by Vaughan. So for the Soo to take the next step and compete with teams ranked ahead of them in the Power Rankings may prove to be a challenge. Nonetheless, the Jr. Greyhounds enter the tournament on a 10-1-1 run in their last 12 games.

3. Elgin-Middlesex Canucks – ALLIANCE Hockey champion

Elgin-Middlesex Canucks are a little concerning because they’ve played the weakest schedule among Top-10 teams; at least according to MyHockeyRankings. That’s slightly supported by their 7-1 loss to Vaughan and 4-4 tie to the Oakville Rangers in the only two games EMC played against ranked opponents. Regardless, they do have a potent offense that averages 4.64 goals per game and enter the tournament with a 13-1-0 record since Feb. 1st.

2. York-Simcoe Express – Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) champion

They opened up the season on a 19-game unbeaten streak, and now enter the All-Ontario Championship on a 19-game unbeaten streak. York-Simcoe Express looks to be arguably the hottest team in the tournament right now. With a plus-209, YSE has the second-best goal differential this season among participating teams. Also reflected by their 60-6-9 record. Only three teams in Ontario reached the 60-win plateau; one of them is the top rated team, and the other is the Oakville Rangers. York-Simcoe has reached rare heights this season and could continue to climb before Sunday.

1. Vaughan Kings – Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) champion

The Vaughan Kings have arguably been the top 2008-born team in Canada for more than two seasons. They won last year’s season-ending U14 OHL Cup championship as the best team in Ontario. This season, they won the International Silver Stick tournament. They also won the regular season and playoff championships in the GTHL. With a 69-5-2 record, all the Kings have done this season is win. They already have victories over York-Simcoe, Elgin-Middlesex, the Soo and Thunder Bay by an average margin of 4.3 goals. It won’t be a cakewalk, but there’s no reason to think Vaughan can be stopped in Sault Ste. Marie this week.

U13 All-Ontario Championships set in Thunder Bay

Top teams from the 2010 birth year will compete in the U13 All-Ontario Championship this week as well. The tournament will run concurrently to the U15 tournament, just an hour west up the coast of Lake Superior.

Participating teams include:

Host Thunder Bay Kings
ALLIANCE Hockey champion No. 2 Sun County Panthers
GTHL champion No. 4 Markham Majors
HEO champion Ottawa Valley Titans
NOHA champion Nickel City Sons
OMHA champion Whitby Wildcats
HNO representative Kenora Thistles

Want more coverage of the All-Ontario Championships? Follow WWH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!


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