Knights trade up for Birr teenager

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Jake Worrad's hometown is pretty small.

"There's no stop light, not even a stop sign," the 16-year-old Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midget defenceman said. "It's just three streets, a collection of houses put together called Birr. If you need directions, you probably have to pull off at the nearest farm."

Worrad won't need a map for his new OHL address. It's the John Labatt Centre -- just 15 minutes from home -- after the London Knights made the talented Elgin blueliner a second-round pick following first-round gamble Scott Harrington of Kingston.

Worrad is no wager.

"It's a great honour to be drafted by the London Knights and I'm excited to get started," the five-foot-10, 180-pounder said. "I can't wait. It's going to be a thrill to stay at home and play."

London traded up on Friday to the No. 35 spot in the second round of the draft by sending a second-round next year and a fourth-rounder in 2011 to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. They had Worrad, who also played four games with the St. Marys Lincolns, in mind.

"He had a very good second half of the season," London GM Mark Hunter said.

It's the highest the Knights have taken a local product since taking speedy former captain Robbie Drummond 28th overall in 2002.

Worrad's a winner. His Chiefs made it to the OHL Cup final. "We had a great group of guys with Elgin. We weren't the most talented, but the reason we were able to beat teams like the (Toronto) Junior Canadiens and the Junior Knights was because we worked hard and played as a team."

Worrad was also pursued by the United States national development program.

He possesses dual citizenship.

"He had some options," Hunter said.

"My dad Brian lived in New York for a while," Worrad said. "He's an Islanders fan so that's a problem right there."

The Islanders could pick Knights sniper John Tavares with the first selection in next month's NHL draft. Elgin captain Boone Jenner went fourth overall to Tavares' old team -- the Oshawa Generals, a club that also served as home to Bobby Orr and Eric Lindros.

"You hear about guys like that and you know they've been good at development over the years," the Dorchester native said. "Nice arena. Lots of history. I want to go there and work hard and help win a Memorial Cup."

In the Eastern Conference, Jenner won't see much of the Knights or his big brother Leo, a Plymouth Whalers defenceman.

"That's all right," Boone said.

Londoner Carter Sandlak, 11th overall pick to Guelph, will have plenty of visits back home. The Storm, whose GM and head coach is Listowel's Jason Brooks, are Midwest division rivals of the Knights.

"I grew up watching the Guelph Storm come in to play London," the Junior Knights top gun said. "I'm really excited about this. A lot of guys from the Alliance (54 players) were picked and that's great for the Alliance and the OHL."

Worrad, Jenner and Sandlak are still alive for spots on this year's Ontario under-17 team. Sandlak missed the Alliance tryouts due to a fractured ankle but he'll be in Ottawa for the next evaluation camp.

2009 OHL DRAFT

LONDON KNIGHTS SELECTIONS

(Round, overall, name, position, organization, height/weight)

1 (19). Scott Harrington, D, Greater Kingston, six-foot, 175 pounds; 2 (35). Jake Worrad, D, Elgin Middlesex Chiefs, five-foot-10, 180 pounds; 3 (51). Dane Fox, C, Chatham-Kent Cyclones, five-foot-11, 170 pounds; 4 (65). Seth Griffith, C, Chatham-Kent, five-foot-10, 180 pounds; 6 (119). Danny Elser, C, Shattuck St. Mary's, five-foot-10, 145 pounds; 7 (139). Darcy Greenaway, C, Lake Forest Academy, five-foot-nine, 165 pounds; 9 (179). Tommy Barzcz, C, St. Catharines Falcons, five-foot-eight, 165 pounds; 10 (199). Yanni Rallis, RW, Hamilton Reps, five-foot-nine, 155 pounds; 12 (239). Greg Milner, C, Elgin-Middlesex, five-foot-10, 165 pounds; 13 (259). Nick Coone, G, Cambridge Hawks, five-foot-11, 160 pounds; 14 (262). Alex Murray, G, Burlington Eagles, five-foot-10, 165 pounds; 14 (279). Jake Lukasic, RW, Burlington, five-foot-seven, 145 pounds; 14 (280). Daniel Morin, D, Thunder Bay Kings, six-foot-two, 205 pounds; 15 (282). Jordan Bolibruck, LW, Welland Tigers, five-foot-11, 160 pounds; 15 (286). Taylor Speed, G, Elgin-Middlesex, five-foot-nine, 155 pounds.


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