The Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) three subsidiary organizations — Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL) — began regular-season action over the weekend, while the United States Hockey League (USHL) is slated to start later this week. The “Big Four” major junior hockey entities in North America serve as breeding ground for the next group of NCAA and NHL players, each scattered with a wealth of former Selects players.

Fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, ’00 ECS-O alum Ryan O’Reilly embarks on his third season in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers.

In total, nearly 350 Selects alumni are in position to compete at junior hockey’s highest level. 

All 20 teams in the OHL have at least two alumni on their 30-man rosters for the upcoming season. The Saginaw Spirit leading the way with 10, including their team captain Damien Giroux (00 East Coast Selects-Q). Four other alumni have also been announced as captains for their respective teams, including defending Robertson Cup champion Guelph Storm’s Cam Hillis (00 East Coast Selects-O), Liam Ham (99 East Coast Selects-O) for the Mississauga Steelheads and both co-captains for the Kitchener Rangers with Riley Damiani (00 East Coast Selects-O) and Greg Meireles (99 East Coast Selects-Q). 

With 122 Selects alumni in the OHL, more than 20 percent of all active players in the league this season will have ties to the program. 

In addition to that, 15-of-18 teams in the QMJHL also have Selects representation on their rosters. A diverse league, the 41 alumni stem from eight different countries including our North American-based Selects teams and academy, Austria Selects (2), Czech Selects (2), Finland Selects (1), Germany Selects (3), Latvia Selects (2) and Slovakia Selects (2). 

Major strides were taken to improve Selects reach and impact on Western Canada, beginning with the ‘02 and ‘03-birth years. Just a few short years later, those pioneering players in the program now set their sites on the WHL, accounting for 77 alumni spread across all 22 teams in the league. That also includes the last two players to be selected first overall in the 2018 and 2019 WHL Bantam Drafts with Dylan Guenther (03 Western Canada Selects) and Matthew Savoie (03 Western Canada Selects) respectively. Amidst the overall group are 21 players from the 02-birth year from Western Canada Selects and 22 players from the 03-birth year between WCAN and Pacific Selects teams. 

The smallest league of the group, the 16-team USHL features 88 alumni in addition to 24 more players that are members of this year’s U.S. National Team Development Program. Both of those figures are record highs for the Selects program that continues to evolve, adapt and grow to reach more youth hockey players every year.

Roughly 349 major junior and Tier-I junior players in North America have roots stemming from the 02 Jr. Selects teams, East Coast, West Coast and Western Canada Selects teams, as well as 10 different European Selects teams and regions.

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