OHL Eastern Conference

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

OTTAWA 67'S

Head coach: Brian Kilrea (27th year)

Arena: Ottawa Civic Centre (9,862)

Last year: 34-26-7-1, second in East division; beat Barrie 4-2 in first round; beat Sudbury 4-2 in second round; beat Peterborough 4-0 in conference final; lost to London 4-1 in OHL final. Finished 1-3 at Memorial cup and lost semifinal to Rimouski 7-4.

Team history: Ottawa has appeared in 10 league finals under Kilrea. They have won two Memorial Cups (1984, 1999).

Watch out for: F Chris Hulit (31 goals last year, 11 in playoffs) . . . F Julian Talbot (younger brother of Joe, the former Strathroy Rocket is a typical two-way star) . . . G Danny Battochio was heroic in playoffs and Memorial Cup tournament.

Gone: F Mark Mancari's goal production (36 goals) will be difficult to replace . . . D Brad Staubitz added much offence and pluck to 67's post-season run.

Big news: Senators forward Jason Spezza's brother Matthew will back up Battochio in goal this season.

Local connection: First-round pick Logan Couture, the Western Junior B Hockey League rookie of the year in 2004-05, signed with the 67's in June.

Did you know? The 67's have only finished under .500 five times in the last 30 years -- a remarkable feat.

Outlook: With Battochio in net, Ottawa is going to steal quite a few games.

BARRIE COLTS

Head coach: Marty Williamson (second year)

Arena: Barrie Molson Centre (4,195)

Last year: 33-23-9-3, second in Central division; lost to Ottawa 4-2 in first round.

Team history: The Colts won their lone OHL title in 2000 under head coach Bill Stewart. That team included former Western Mustangs standouts G Mike D'Alessandro and F Matt Dzieduszycki.

Watch out for: F Bryan Little of Cambridge led team with 36 goals last year . . . Overage F Jakub Petruzalek (23 G, 63 P in 2004-05) arrives in trade from Ottawa . . . F Hunter Tremblay had 30 goals last year.

Gone: F Rob Hisey had 21 goals and 52 points in 41 games with the Colts . . . F B.J. Crombeen leaves after posting a 31-goal campaign in 2004-05.

Big news: The Colts have 15 players back from last year's solid squad and will be in the Eastern Conference hunt.

Did you know? The Colts haven't finished under .500 since their expansion season of 1995-96 and, even then, they were only three games under that mark.

Outlook: Barrie's consistency keeps on going with another strong season.

PETERBOROUGH PETES

Head coach: Dick Todd (14th year)

Arena: Peterborough Memorial Centre (3,808)

Last year: 34-21-9-4, first in East division; beat Belleville 4-1 in first round; beat Toronto 4-1 in second round; lost conference final to Ottawa 4-0.

Team history: The Petes have won six OHL titles and one Memorial Cup (1979).

Watch out for: G David Shantz arrived this summer from Mississauga. The 19-year-old is a second-round pick of the Florida Panthers . . . F Daniel Ryder is the brother of Michael Ryder, who was the Montreal Canadiens' second-leading scorer as a rookie in 2003-04 . . . F Jamie Tardiff led the club with 37 goals last year.

Gone: G Jeff MacDougald (19-7-3 in 2004-05) was dealt to Sarnia during the summer . . . F Logan Hunter is a former London Knight . . . D Mark Flood was the Petes captain last year.

Big news: The Petes announced earlier this year they have a record number of season ticket-holders. They're currently hovering around the 2,000 mark.

Did you know? The Petes have never been within seven games of a losing season under Todd.

Outlook: This team has a chip on its shoulder, after losing to Ottawa in the conference final last year.

TORONTO ST. MICHAEL'S MAJORS

Head coach: Bud Stefanski (second year)

Arena: St. Michael's College School Arena (1,617)

Last year: 29-30-6-3, fifth in Central division; beat Mississauga 4-1 in first round; lost to Peterborough 4-1 in second round.

Team history: Prior to their modern-day resurrection in 1997, St. Mike's won Memorial Cups in 1934, '45, '47 and '61.

Watch out for: Blyth native Justin Peters (23-23-5 with three shutouts and 2.78 GAA) . . . F Jeff Larsh had 19 points in 35 games with St. Mike's . . . D Nathan McIver had 26 points and 160 PIM last year.

Gone: Top scorer Darryl Boyce (15 G, 50 P).

Big news: Team returns relatively intact from last year's group that made a big push at the end of the season.

Did you know? Majors owner Eugene Melnyk also owns the NHL's Ottawa Senators.

Outlook: They may not have a big arena, but they have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about 2005-06. Fourth in conference.

SUDBURY WOLVES

Head coach: Mike Foligno (third year)

Arena: Sudbury Arena (6,000)

Last year: 32-23-6-7, fourth in Central division; beat Brampton 4-2 in first round; lost to Ottawa 4-2 in second round.

Team history: The Wolves have never won an OHL title, but the city won a Memorial Cup back in 1932 with the Cub Wolves. Hockey legend Toe Blake played for that team.

Watch out for: F Nick Foligno (coach's son had 10 G, 38 P, 111 PIM last year) D Adam McQuaid, who was returned by Columbus this week, was a team-best plus-31 last year.

Gone: F Kyle Musselman has been assigned to Columbus' AHL affiliate in Syracuse . . . Top scorer Rafal Martynowski (31 G, 67 P) was an over-ager last year.

Big news: F Benoit Pouliot (Minnesota) and Marc Stall (New York Rangers) have not been returned to Sudbury yet from NHL camps.

Did you know? Sudbury's lone OHL scoring champion was Foligno, who had 65 goals and 150 points in 1978-79.

Outlook: Look for the Wolves to howl this year and be a tough playoff opponent as the five seed.

MISSISSAUGA ICEDOGS

Head coach: Greg Gilbert (third year)

Arena: Hershey Centre (6,000)

Last year: 34-21-12-1, first in Central division; lost to Toronto 4-1 in first round.

Team history: After starting out as a sad-sack franchise with 16 wins in their first three seasons, Mississauga has become one of the East's best outfits.

Watch out for: G Michael Ouzas was deemed the league's top goalie in 2004-5, chalking up a 24-11-9 record and 2.18 goals against average . . . D David Pszenyczny had 23 points in 54 games last year, after coming over from Sarnia.

Gone: F Patrick O'Sullivan (31 G, 90 P) will be impossible to replace . . . F John Hecimovic had 19 goals in 39 games last year.

Big news: IceDogs majority owner Mario Forgione also bought the ECHL's Pensacola Ice Pilots last month.

Local connections: Recently acquired RW Jeff McFarland played for the St. Thomas Stars before a short stint in Plymouth last year . . . Director of player development Dave Gagner's son Sam was drafted by London this year. He didn't report to camp and opted to play in the U.S.

Did you know? New Edmonton Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger is governor of the 'Dogs.

Outlook: IceDogs are bound to fall off without O'Sullivan, but they'll still be sixth-best in the conference.

BELLEVILLE BULLS

Head coach: George Burnett (second year)

Arena: Yardmen Arena (3,257)

Last year: 29-29-6-4, third in East division; lost to Peterborough 4-1 in first round.

Team history: The Bulls won their lone OHL championship in 1999 in a seven-game series victory over London.

Watch out for: 17-year-old F John Hughes (13 G, 31 P in 2004-05) . . . F Evan Brophey (28 G, 71 P) split last season between Barrie and Belleville.

Gone: F Cody Thornton (23 goals) dealt to the Soo . . . G Eric Tobia leaves after a four-year career in Belleville.

Big news: Talented Matt Beleskey (68 GP, 10 G, 23 P in 2004-05) injured his knee in August at Canada's Under-18 camp in Kitchener and could miss two months.

Local connections: Bulls assistant coach is Jake Grimes, who used to coach the London Nationals and Petrolia Jets . . . D Wes Cunningham (17 P with Owen Sound and the Bulls) is from Dresden.

Did you know? F Scott Baker lost most of his right index finger in a woodcutting mishap.

Outlook: Youthful team will be energized, but they're still a year away from being big-boy Bulls.

BRAMPTON BATTALION

Head coach: Stan Butler (eighth year)

Arena: Brampton Centre for Sports and Entertainment (4,980)

Last year: 33-24-9-2, third in Central division; lost to Sudbury 4-2 in first round.

Team history: Have alternated winning and losing seasons since 1999.

Watch out for: F Luch Aquino (25 G, 71 P in 2004-05) is still in Islanders camp . . .

D Michael Vernace, who returned from San Jose camp this week, had a blue-line-best 50 points last year.

Gone: F Wojtek Wolski (29 G, 73 P), the team's top scorer last season, signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche last week . . . Six-foot-five F Tyler Harrison had career-high and team-best 31 goals as over-ager last year.

Big news: X-rays showed F Taylor Raszka's jaw wasn't broken by a punch from Guelph's Kelsey Wilson and the 19-year-old skater expects to be in the Troops lineup to open the season.

Local connection: London-born defenceman Nick Duff returned from Minnesota Wild training camp for an over-age season with the Troops.

Did you know? Battalion owner Scott Abbott, who was a former Canadian Press sportswriter, and his friend Chris Haney invented the game Trivial Pursuit in 1979.

Outlook: Butler will find a way to squeak his Troops into the playoffs in an off-year.

OSHAWA GENERALS

Head coach: Randy Ladouceur (second year)

Arena: Oshawa Civic Auditorium (4,025)

Last year: 15-48-3-2, fifth in East division; missed playoffs.

Team history: The junior club, which was home to Bobby Orr and Eric Lindros, is trying to recover from its worst season since 1976-77 when it won just five games.

Watch out for: F John Tavares, the OHL's first overall pick. The Gens petitioned the league under the exceptional player clause in order to pick the 14-year-old Toronto minor hockey stud . . . F Cal Clutterbuck had 18 points in 27 games after trade from Toronto.

Gone: F Brett Trudell wrapped up OHL career in 2004-05 with team-leading 28 goals and 52 points.

Big news: Tavares, who scored 91 goals and 67 assists in 72 games with the Toronto Marlboros minor midgets last year, has provided a consistent scoring touch during the OHL preseason.

Did you know? The Generals won Memorial Cup titles in 1939, '40, '44 and '90.

Outlook: They'll improve this season, but not as much as they need to be for contender status.

KINGSTON FRONTENACS

Head coach: Jim Hulton (third year)

Arena: Kingston Memorial Centre (3,300)

Last year: 28-33-4-3, fourth in East division; missed playoffs.

Team history: The franchise has won just one division title since 1974 -- in 1994-95.

Watch out for: F Radek Smokenak (32 goals last year) returned from Tampa camp . . . Londoner and F Blake Pronk (5 G, 14 P last year) . . . D Justin Wallingford is six-foot-seven.

Gone: F Anthony Stewart was team's top scorer (32 G, 67 P) in 2004-05 . . . F Evan Kotsopoulos led team with 47 assists.

Big news: Kingston is planning a Memorial Cup bid for 2008 to be held in a newly constructed arena on the Inner Harbour. Some are worried that a 5,000-seat facility won't be big enough to win the host role.

Local connections: F Bobby Bolt (11 G, 25 P last year) is a one-time London Knight . . .

D Adam Nemeth, an Amherstburg native, played with the Knights for two seasons.

Did you know? Hulton is only 36 years old but has already coached with three OHL teams: Mississauga, Belleville, Kingston.

Outlook: Unless everything comes together quickly, it looks like another rebuilding program.


Videos

Photos