The Petes’ forward depth could be taking a hit as the team transitions into the 2016-17 season because four major contributors up front in Hunter Garlent, Daniel Nikandrov, Greg Betzold and Eric Cornel will not be back. However, through the draft and savvy scouting the Petes are bringing reinforcements from within. Centre Jonathan Ang would probably be considered the General of the Petes’ reinforcement platoon with two seasons of OHL experience after being taken 9th overall in the 2014 OHL priority Selection. A skill set and high level of ability will be what gets a player drafted, but the ability to learn and think about the game is what allows them to make and impact night after night.
“Jonathan is a guy that’s very coachable and wants to get better in every situation. He wants to become a reliable 200-foot player and I think everybody wants to become that, so they can become everyday OHL players,” said Jody Hull, the Petes Bench Boss since 2012.
Ang will be entering his third OHL season in the fall and it seems Coach Hull’s lessons are really sinking in for the Markham-native. After making the team in 2014/15 as rookie and posting 20 points, Ang would more than double his point production this past season with 49 points.
“Comparing last year to this year, I came into [this season] knowing what my role was versus coming in last year and trying to prove myself. Every year you try and prove yourself, but this year I knew what my role was and what the coaches wanted from me. So, I could just go out there and try and play the best I could,” Ang said.
As mentioned before the Petes will be without a handful of impact forwards including two 40-goal men in Garlent and Betzold. It would only seem natural that the speedy centre will be relied on more heavily this coming season.
“I love [the idea of] being a go-to-guy! I think if you ask any player, they will want to play. I want to be on the ice and I want to make a difference. I think next year is a matter of how hard I push myself and how far that takes me,” Ang said.
Ang’s play has earned him recognition outside the Petes and the OHL as he is the 95th ranked North American skater for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. While he admits getting drafted has always been a goal of his, he says he never thinks about it because “he knows his play will sort that out.” Instead, he’s already looking ahead to next season with the Petes and hopes they “do better than last year” and that he can improve his own game.
Jonny will be back next year for the Maroon and White for a third season, but in the meantime he’s getting ready for this Friday’s NHL Entry Draft. Do you have a question for Jonny before the Draft? Ask him here!
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