Attack select "pure shooter" with first-round pick in OHL draft

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Owen Sound’s newest top-prospect won’t have to travel far for training camp.


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With the eighth-overall pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection, the Owen Sound Attack drafted Orillia’s Colby Barlow.

“That’s always good,” Attack GM Dale DeGray said about the proximity. “It means we’ll have some more fans in the stands too.”

He can probably bank on a gathering of Colts-turned-Attack fans when the team travels to Barrie next year as well.

The 16-year-old said he was with his family Friday night watching the livestream of the draft when his name popped up on the screen.

“It was a surreal moment. It’s absolutely awesome. I’m glad I got to spend it with my family,” he said. “To get picked by such a great organization and team is amazing.”

He didn’t need to wait long. Those watching the draft waited less than 10 seconds after Flint made their selection at seventh-overall to hear the Attack’s pick.

“Slam dunk,” DeGray said. “That’s why we like to be as prepared as possible coming into the draft. There was no discussion.”

From the Sunshine City to the Scenic City, Barlow’s hockey career began with the Orillia Terriers before moving on to the North Central Predators – the same organization former Attack standout Aidan Dudas helped lead before graduating to the OHL.

For the past three seasons, the six-foot-one winger has played in the highly-touted Greater Toronto Hockey League with the storied Toronto Marlboros program.

The Marlboros and the rest of the GTHL didn’t play any organized hockey this past season, but DeGray was able to watch Barlow as a bantam and at a few skates this past year.


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“We had him as a Top-5 guy,” DeGray said. “When we started to hear this afternoon he might be there we got pretty excited about the possibility.”

Barlow said he took advantage of every time he was able to get on the ice and made sure he kept trying to improve and stay upbeat when he couldn’t play the game.

“I was trying to stay in the gym or stay active. I’d go for bike rides, but also keeping a positive mindset above all too because it’s definitely a stressful year for everyone and a big year for our age group. Keeping a positive mindset through it all was a really big help,” he said.

DeGray said Barlow can simply put the puck in the net for his club.

“He’s probably the first pure shooter, goal scorer, we’ve been able to have,” DeGray said. “He’s a big strong kid that can really shoot the puck and score. If not the best, one of the top two scorers in this draft.”

Barlow said the scoring touch comes naturally, but it’s also a skill he works hard to hone.

“I work on it a lot. It’s something I love to do. I practice different shots and all that, it’s natural but I work at it as well,” he said. “I think my shot is a big part of that, my snap-shot, my quick release and the curl-and-drag I like to do to change the angle on the shot.”

If the description of a big-bodied sniper sounds familiar to hockey fans in Ontario, that’s by design. Barlow said he likes to model his game after Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews.

“He’s got a wicked shot when he gets it off. I love to try and emulate that,” he said.


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There aren’t as many stats to pour over as in a typical year, but Barlow notched 23 goals and 24 helpers in 34 games with the Marlboros under-15 team in 2019-20 according to his Elite Prospects page.

He also scored an astounding 22 goals in seven games in 2018 with the Marlboros at the Chicago CCM World Invite Championship. That performance earned him the tournament MVP title.

With two picks early in the third round, Owen Sound selected five-foot-eight and 155-pound defender Cal Uens from the Quinte Red Devils before taking five-foot-seven and 150-pound winger Thomas Chafe who last played with the Notre Dame Hounds prep school program based out of Wilcox, Sask.

The first three rounds of the OHL Priority Selection were completed Friday night with the balance of the 15-round draft to finish Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.


First round (8th-overall)
Colby Barlow – RW/C Toronto Marlboros
6’1″, 190-pounds

Third round (42nd-overall)
Cal Uens – D Quinte Red Devils
5’8″, 155-pounds

Third round (47th-overall)
Thomas Chafe – RW Notre Dame Hounds
5’7″, 150-pounds

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