Different paths to OHL success

DOUG GRAHAM, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

They were 15-year-old teammates on the Greater Kingston Frontenacs three years ago.

Taylor Hall and Jordan Mayer were the two go-to players for a minor midget team that made it to the OHL Cup in April of 2007, a first for a Kingston squad.

Both Hall and Mayer were highly rated minor midgets for the 2007 OHL Priority Selection.

Hall went second overall to Windsor and Mayer went 11 picks later to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

That is where the paths for the two veered in different directions.

Mayer, who had hoped his hometown team would chose him -- the Kingston Frontenacs opted for Ethan Werek instead -- declined to report to the Sault.

Hall happily headed off to Windsor and has performed so well that he conceivably could be the No. 1 pick in June's NHL entry draft.

For Mayer, the junior experience has unfolded more slowly but after a 22-goal campaign last season for the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, the team he joined halfway through the 2007-08 season, things are looking up for Mayer, too.

The 18-year-old has five goals in his first six games and he's playing at the level expected of a former first-round pick.

"It took me longer to find my confidence," said Mayer, who keeps in regular touch with his former midget teammate.

"Taylor, he put himself in the showcase right away."

Hall is just as confident that his ex-teammate is going to be a big performer this OHL season.

"I know at the end of last season playing against him, he was on the power play and you could tell he was getting more comfortable (in the OHL)," Hall said.

"He's always been a good kid and a good friend. It really looks like he is going to do well this season. I hope he does."

Mayer credits a good second half and a strong playoff showing -- he had four goals in 11 post-season games -- with getting him ready for his second full season in the league.

"Our team had a slow start last year, myself included. In the second half things started to click for me and I got into a flow with my game," Mayer said.

With the Majors, Mayer is playing on a line with Corey Bureau and Dustin Ekelman. In their Kingston minor midget days, Hall, Mayer and Bureau always were together on the power play and often as a line as well.

"Corey is playing well, too," Mayer said.

"I think our team is coming together. I want to do my part and be consistent. That's the big thing."

Home cooking and the comfort of being in his own bed works well for Hall.

In his once-a-year trip into his home town with the Windsor Spitfires, Hall has compiled five goals and four assists in three Windsor wins against the Frontenacs, two at the K-Rock Centre and one at the old Kingston Memorial Centre, where Hall played with his midget team.

"It's the one road trip where I get to stay in my own bed," said Hall about the eastern Ontario swing in which Windsor played in Ottawa, Belleville and then Kingston.

Briefly

Peter Stevens is back in the East Division as an overage player with the Ottawa 67's. Stevens was a fan favourite in Kingston before being traded to the Barrie Colts. The tough guy's first game for the 67's will be Friday night against Kingston ... The Owen Sound Attack moved overage forward Josh Moes to the Niagara IceDogs for a fifth-round draft choice in 2010 ... The Peterborough Petes disciplined three players for breaking team rules on a northern Ontario road trip last week. General manager Jeff Twohey sent Rickey Buehler and Jason Kelly back to their Tier II team. Jamie Wise was the other player and he, too, will be away from the team for while. Twohey said all the players would have to earn their way back to the Petes.

DOUG.GRAHAM@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos