67’s opt for defense first policy in OHL Priority Selection draft

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The Ottawa 67’s have high hopes for Henry Mews and Frankie Marelli, a pair of dynamic defensemen they selected in the first round of the OHL’s Priority Selection draft on the weekend.

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Mews, a Nepean native who scored 14 goals and 64 assists in 52 games with the Toronto Canadian Juniors of the Greater Toronto Hockey League last season, was chosen seventh.

Mews had another goal and four assists in five games at the OHL Cup, where Mississauga finished as tournament runners-up.

“He has high end hockey sense, an offensive minded defenseman,” said 67’s general manager James Boyd. “His main attribute of him is what our teams needs. He’s a puck move who can play on the power play.”

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Mews, who played both forward and defense while developing in Nepean, played exclusively as a defenseman last season.

While Mews is a right shot defenseman, Marelli offers a similar skill set as a left shot player.

“He covers a lot of ice and plays with some snap. We were surprised he was there when we (he had a chance to pick).

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Marelli was chosen 21st overall, with the additional pick the 67’s were granted following the trade of Nick Moldenhauer last September. Moldenhauer, a 2021 first round pick, opted to play for the Chicago Steel of the USHL instead of the OHL last season.

It was also a big weekend for top Ottawa talent, as Mews was part of a four-pack of players in the region who were selected among the top 11 in the draft.

Center Nathan Villeneuve of the Navan Grads Under 18 squad was taken third overall by Sudbury.

Center Cole Beaudoin of the Nepean Raiders Under 18’s went to the Barrie Colts with the 10th selection and Ben Cormier, Villeneuve’s teammate in Navan, was chosen by Owen Sound with the following pick.

In the second round, the 67’s took Caden Kelly, a 5-11, 169-pound winger from the GTHL’s Mississauga Senators. Kelly scored 22 goals and 20 assists in 27 regular season games and helped lead Mississauga to the OHL Cup.

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The 67’s drafted four goaltenders on the weekend, including Jack Parsons, Hayden Duncan, Ty Levy and Birk Cassels, the son of former 67’s star center Andrew Cassels.

Their other selections included Ottawa center products Caton Ryan and Ryder Dagenais.

Ryan played with Carleton Place Canadians under-18 squad last season, while Dagenais skated with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ elite under 15 program in Pennsylvania. Dagenais, son of Ottawa native and Peterborough Petes star Mike Dagenais, formerly played for the Ottawa Valley Titans.

“It’s going to be tough to make our team next year, but you can never have too many good defencemen,” said Boyd.

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