Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League in association with the North Bay Battalion Hockey Club today announced that 16-year-old defenceman Ty Nelson of the GTHL champion Toronto Jr. Canadiens will be the first overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection presented by Real Canadian Superstore.
The announcement was made over an online news conference hosted by the Battalion Friday afternoon.
“It’s an honour to receive the Jack Ferguson Award as the first overall pick of the OHL Priority Selection,” said Nelson. “I want to thank my mother, father and sister for all of their dedication, love and hard work they’ve put into helping me get here. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family. I also want to say thank you to all of the coaches, teachers and trainers that I’ve had over the years as they’ve shaped the player that I am today. Lastly I want to thank Mr. Abbott, Mr. Dennis, Coach Oulahen and Coach Winstanley. It’s an honour to be drafted by an outstanding organization like North Bay. To the Battalion fans, I can’t wait to get started.”
Nelson is the first of 15 selections currently held by the Battalion ahead of Saturday’s proceedings and joins a developing young club that features 2019 first round selection Liam Arnsby along with 17-year-old twin brothers Alex and Paul Christopoulos in front of 6-foot-6 netminder Joe Vrbetic.
“Those close to our team have seen the growth in the second half of the season and the promise in our young group,” said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis. “It’s imperative that we add to this momentum, and we feel that in Ty we’re adding a player and a person that can do that. Getting to know Ty and his family, we know that we’re bringing a top class person into our dressing room and somebody that can really add to what we’re building here.”
Nelson led all GTHL defencemen in regular season scoring with 32 points (11-21–32) over 33 games before pacing all rearguards offensively throughout the GTHL Playoffs, putting up 12 points (1-11–12) over 11 contests as the Toronto Jr. Canadiens were crowned league champions. The Toronto native was a member of Canada’s bronze medal-winning team that competed at the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne, Switzerland this past January. A swift-skating, puck-moving defenceman that stands 5-foot-8 and 174Ibs., Nelson was born March 30, 2004, making him eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Nelson is the 2020 recipient of the Jack Ferguson Award presented annually to the player selected first overall in the OHL Priority Selection. The ‘Fergie’ recognizes the dedication and contributions made by Jack Ferguson during his 25 year association with the OHL, first as a scout with the Ottawa 67’s and followed by his appointment as head of the OHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in 1981 as its Director of Central Scouting. Nelson is the second member of the Battalion franchise to receive the award following defenceman Jay Harrison, who was the Brampton Battalion’s first-ever draft pick back in 1998. He’s the first defenceman selected first overall since another Jr. Canadiens rearguard in Ryan Merkley was selected first by the Guelph Storm in 2016. Prior to that, Jr. Canadiens blue line standout Jakob Chychrun was selected first overall by the Sarnia Sting in 2014.
“Ty was one of the leaders on his team this year and a big force behind their GTHL championship,” said OHL Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley. “He never stops competing and is a bulldog on the ice. He also finishes all his checks which makes him very hard to play against. He is an offensive threat whenever he is on the ice, especially with the puck on his stick, and averaged over a point-per-game this season. He possesses a very good and accurate shot from the point and also finds lanes well to get the puck on net in order to either create rebounds or score. There isn’t much he doesn’t do well and he will be a very impactful player at the next level.”
Nelson will be officially announced as the first overall pick of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection when things get underway on Saturday, April 4 at 9:00am. The first three rounds of the Priority Selection will be streamed live on the OHL’s YouTube channel beginning at 8:45am. Live results and full Priority Selection coverage can be found at ontariohockeyleague.com.
Former winners of the Jack Ferguson Award include:
1981 Dan Quinn, Belleville Bulls
1982 Kirk Muller, Guelph Platers
1983 Trevor Stienburg, Guelph Platers
1984 Dave Moylan, Sudbury Wolves
1985 Bryan Fogarty, Kingston Canadians
1986 Troy Mallette, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1987 John Uniac, Sudbury Wolves
1988 Drake Berehowsky, Kingston Raiders
1989 Eric Lindros, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1990 Pat Peake, Detroit Ambassadors
1991 Todd Harvey, Detroit Ambassadors
1992 Jeff O’Neill, Guelph Storm
1993 Alyn McCauley, Ottawa 67’s
1994 Jeff Brown, Sarnia Sting
1995 Daniel Tkaczuk, Barrie Colts
1996 Rico Fata, London Knights
1997 Charlie Stephens, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors
1998 Jay Harrison, Brampton Battalion
1999 Jason Spezza, Mississauga IceDogs
2000 Patrick Jarrett, Mississauga IceDogs
2001 Patrick O’Sullivan,Mississauga IceDogs
2002 Robbie Schremp, Mississauga IceDogs
2003 Patrick McNeill, Saginaw Spirit
2004 John Hughes, Belleville Bulls
2005 John Tavares, Oshawa Generals
2006 Steven Stamkos, Sarnia Sting
2007 Ryan O’Reilly, Erie Otters
2008 John McFarland, Sudbury Wolves
2009 Daniel Catenacci, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
2010 Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting
2011 Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts
2012 Connor McDavid, Erie Otters
2013 Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s
2014 Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting
2015 David Levin, Sudbury Wolves
2016 Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm
2017 Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts
2018 Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves
2019 Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs