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It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011 at 4:19 PM
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http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3112678


It's official: Ekblad a Colt
Barrie taking defenceman with first overall pick
By STAFF
Updated 34 minutes ago

The not-so-secret secret is out of the bag.

The Barrie Colts, who hold the first-overall pick in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, are selecting Sun County Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad.

The Colts made the major announcement during a press conference at the Barrie Molson Centre, Friday afternoon.

Ekblad, a six-foot-three, 200-pound blue-liner, was granted 'exceptional status' to enter the league as a 15-year-old.

The Belle River native becomes the second first-overall pick in the Colts' history. Barrie made forward Daniel Tkaczuk the No. 1 pick in 1995, the organization's expansion season.

The OHL Priority Selection takes place Saturday.

 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 4:33 PM 

some more general info on the kid:

http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3109088&sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4dc43341637f20ad,0


Mr. Nice Guy

Barrie Colts expected to select 15-year-old phenom from Belle River in weekend draft

By Ian Shantz - Barrie Examiner
Updated 1 day ago

During a mid-season practice earlier this year, the player pulled the coach aside for a chat.

"I don't want to call my shots," Todd Lalonde, coach of the Sun County Panthers minor midget squad, recalled the player saying to him. "I don't want to pick my team.

"I want to play anywhere, for anybody that wants me. I want to be the difference."

That player — 15-year-old Aaron Ekblad — will have his chance to be just that.

The Barrie Colts are expected to announce on Friday they're selecting him first overall in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, set for Saturday.

Ekblad, who a few weeks ago became just the second player — behind John Tavares, in 2005 — to be granted 'exceptional status' to enter the league as a 15-year-old, has the undeniable athletic tools to live up to the hype.

The six-foot-three, 200-pound defenceman is a "hell of a player," according to Windsor Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel, and, as Lalonde's son and Ekblad's Panthers teammate, Brandon, put it, "the hardest worker I've ever seen in my life."

Indeed, the kid from Belle River, a town of about 4,000 located along the shores of Lake St. Clair in southwestern Ontario, seems to be built for hockey supremacy.

Yet, according to many who have come to know the youngest son of Dave and Lisa Ekblad on a personal level, the hockey skills the young phenom possesses, while astounding, pale in comparison to his impressively humble, down-to-earth nature.

"If you meet him for the first time, you wouldn't think he's 15," said Rychel, who, along with his wife, Denise, attended high school with Ekblad's parents.

"His strength is not just his on-ice, it's his off-ice (ability)," added Richard Ofner, president of the Sun County Panthers organization. "That comes from the family."


It's not difficult to see that Dave, Lisa, older brother Darien and Aaron are cut from a humble cloth.

There's Dave, the chartered accountant who grew up playing football, hockey and just about every sport under the sun. He tended goal in his junior days in Tilbury, located between Windsor and Chatham, and still plays hockey recreationally.

He's a well-liked, respected and admired hockey dad and family man, according to those who know him.

"He's a very level-headed guy," said Dave Bellaire, who owns a sporting goods store in Belle River and plays in Dave's pick-up hockey league. "Even with all the success of both his kids, he's never one to even talk about it. If you ask him about it, of course, he'll talk. But he's pretty quiet.

"I think that's rolled off onto his kids."

There's Lisa, who works with the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) and helped establish the first nurse practitioner-led clinic in Windsor and Essex County — and just the second in Ontario at the time. The 44-year-old mother of two boys recently completed her masters degree.

"If you strive for something, try to accomplish it," she said. "We set the bar so high for them in how we expect them to behave and be a nice person. Simple rules."

Darien, a 16-year-old goalie who is property of the London Knights, proves the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

"I actually got rid of our other 19-year-old in order to keep him (at the start of the season)," said Mark Seguin, GM and head coach of the Belle River Canadiens Jr. 'C' squad, adding Darien split netminding duties with a veteran goalie this season as the team's lone 16-year-old.

"Darien didn't play in the playoffs, but he never once complained," Seguin said. "He works his backside off, and it made our other goalie the best in the league.

"People ask me why I coach. It's to coach guys like this, that's why."

Darien is not only comfortable with the spotlight that shines on his younger brother — junior hockey's supposed Next One — he's his biggest supporter, and best friend.

"You'd think an older brother would get jealous, but I don't at all," he said. "I'd rather live in his shadows than not be his brother."

That kind of modesty appears to be a family staple.

"You're not going to get better people," said Seguin, who runs into the Ekblads regularly at the rink. "Classy, down-to-earth, real — take any of those words to describe them."

Worry and concern were a few words to describe Lisa's original feelings on her son wanting to enter the OHL. Aaron and his mom created a list of pros and cons surrounding the decision, with the three males in the family supporting the OHL plan.

"She had an arm's length of concerns, and there was a lot of soul searching," Dave said.

"He and I sat down and talked about every point on my list that was, in my mind, negative," she said. "He had an answer for everything that concerned me.

"How could I say no?"

Welcoming, stand-up guy, overall leader and ultra humble are a few other words used by Brandon Lalonde, who said Aaron was the first person to welcome him when he arrived in Sun County from Sudbury two years ago.

"If you talked to Aaron Ekblad and didn't know him, you wouldn't even know he's a hockey player," his teammate said. "He just wants to be another guy."

Jake McGhee, another Panthers teammate, agrees.

"He's a great person," said the 16-year-old, who is also his schoolmate at St. Anne Catholic High School, where Ekblad plays volleyball for the Saints. "Everyone thinks about him as a great hockey player, but I don't know a more caring, loyal person."

The compliments paid to Ekblad regarding his on-ice skills seem to go on for miles, but it's the non-hockey endorsements that mean the most to the family.

"I've always said, people can compliment the kids (Aaron and Darien) and talk about their hockey skills," their dad said. "But what means more for me if off the ice is how nice they are, how they treat the people around them."

It's something Aaron takes to heart, as his big day approaches.

"I appreciate it and I can't wait to take the opportunity," the top OHL prospect said of the chance to go first overall. "It would be an unbelievable experience ... just a great honour."

Without a doubt, it's sure to be a great honour for all of his supporters, too.

"We're proud to have Aaron come up through our system," said Ofner, who heads up the Panthers. "He's proof that you don't need to go to the GTA (to get recognized.)"

And those supporters don't doubt his future OHL team is getting someone special — a rare "complete package" on the ice, and off it.

"There's not really a kid like this," Rychel said. "There's big defenceman that can't skate, and small defenceman, like we had in Ryan Ellis, who can. But not a kid like this that does it all."

His heart is as big as the game itself.

"He's blessed with physical attributes, but that's not what's made him successful," said John Leslie, a family friend and former coach of Aaron's, whose son, Jared, is best friends with the top prospect. "It's his determination ... his drive ... to be the best."

A difference-maker in the making.

"I just want to be the difference, no matter where I go, is what he said to me," Todd Lalonde said. "How refreshing is that?

"He's legitimate. He's not fraudulent," the former GM and head coach of the Sudbury Wolves added.

Refreshing, indeed.

Welcome to the show, Aaron Ekblad. You're the No. 1 pick, and a deserving one at that.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 4:36 PM 

Congrats to Aaron and his family!!

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 4:42 PM 

thanx mom it took you a whole 30 min to post

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 5:21 PM 

It doesn't matter where you get drafted but for some people it is a BRAGGING RIGHT.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 5:41 PM 

4:42, I posted the articles and I am not related to the family in any way. just happy for the kid and wish him well.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 6:11 PM 

ok thanks dad

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 6:31 PM 

ritchie going to Peterborough.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 6:35 PM 

Congratulations to Aaron! The number one draft pick is from the Alliance!!

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 6:39 PM 

Yes that is very nice for him and his family. They should be very proud of him. Congrats....very exciting!

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 10:49 PM 

People can be bitter all you want, but the kid is #1, so who cares who makes the posts, parent or not, hes the best.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 6 2011, 11:04 PM 

So a 96 goes first in the 95 draft, humm.....

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 8:14 AM 

All because OHL is losing ticket sales, and need to attempt to regenerate interest in a dying league. LOL

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 9:00 AM 

prove it. what a douche.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 9:16 AM 

jealousy is an evil thing

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 9:42 AM 

looks like the racist is super jealous this morning.

a draft day in the past made him aware of his miserable existence.

 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 10:51 AM 


 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 11:14 AM 


 
 
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Re: It's Official: Ekblad goes 1st overall!!!

May 7 2011, 11:18 AM 

Flood poster sucks big nigger cocks

 
 
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