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OHL ALUMNI IN NHL FINALS

Commissioner David Branch has often referred to the Ontario Hockey League as the world's top producer of talent for the National Hockey League.
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Commissioner David Branch has often referred to the Ontario Hockey League as the world's top producer of talent for the National Hockey League. To be sure, while the Western and Quebec leagues are a hotbed for development and while Europeans have had a significant impact on the North American game, the OHL continues to churn out personnel for the NHL. Case in point is the Stanley Cup finals between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams are laden with talented players from the OHL. Among others, the Hurricanes boast star centres Ron Francis (Soo Greyhounds) and Jeff O'Neill (Guelph Storm) along with so-called lesser lights such as pivot Josef Vasicek (Greyhounds) and goalie Kevin Weekes (Owen Sound Platers and Ottawa 67s.) Then there's Carolina coach Paul Maurice, general manager Jim Rutherford, chief scout Sheldon Ferguson and owner Pete Karmanos who have significant ties to the OHL. Maurice played with Windsor before coaching the Spitfires and Detroit Jr. Wings, Rutherford tended goal for the old Hamilton Red Wings before managing both the Spitfires and Jr. Wings, Ferguson is the OHL's former scouting director and Karmanos still owns the Plymouth Whalers. As for Detroit, a plethora of Red Wings are OHL grads including Steve Yzerman (Peterborough Petes), Brendan Shanahan (London Knights), Darren McCarty (Belleville Bulls), Boyd Devereaux (Kitchener Rangers), Kris Draper (Ottawa) and Kirk Maltby (Owen Sound) just to name a half dozen. Meanwhile, from a Sault Ste. Marie standpoint, there's a good chance the Stanley Cup will make its way here this summer. Red Wings' equipment manager Paul Boyer is from the Sault as are Francis and Maurice from the Hurricanes.