Oilers Take Hall, Other Spitfires Selected

Left-winger Taylor Hall is quite simply one of the most dynamic players ever to play major junior hockey in Windsor and the face of the Spitfire franchise for the past three seasons. Born in Calgary and who now resides in Kingston, Ontario, Hall was the second overall selection in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. After an impressive rookie season that saw him score 45 goals and 39 assists enroute to being named rookie of the year not only in the Ontario Hockey League but the entire Canadian Hockey League, Hall notched 38 goals and added 52 assists in his sophomore season before leading the OHL in play-off scoring and helping lead Windsor to its first OHL title in 21 seasons. Hall capped his incredible season by capturing the Most Valuable Player Award at the 2009 Memorial Cup where the Spitfires won their first ever major junior title.

Playing under the spotlight of being the number one prospect for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Hall scored 40 goals and added 66 assists in 57 games to finish in a tie for the OHL scoring title, despite missing 11 games. He also participated in the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships (talying 6 goals and 6 assists in 6 games ) while helping Team Canada to the silver medal, the CHL Top Prospects Game , Sub way Super Series and OHL All Star Game. Hall likely capped off his outstanding junior hockey career by repeating as Memorial Cup MVP in May as the Spits successfully defended their national championship.

Hall joins Ed Jovanovski (Florida-1994) as the only Spitfires ever to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

“Taylor is simply the best player available in the NHL Entry Draft,” said Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel. “He is dynamic in all areas of the game. His drive is unbelievable.”

Other Spitfires selected in the draft:

Acquired as part of a blockbuster deal with the Belleville Bulls in January, 2010, the native of Rosenheim, Germany posted a stellar 2.37 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage, with a 13-1-1 record during the regular season with the Spits. Grubauer soon became the team’s go-to netminder in the OHL play-offs, and was particularly steady in Windsor’s sweep of the Barrie Colts in the OHL championship series. Grubauer went 4-0 and posted a 2.14 goals against average and .930 save percentage as the Spitfires captured the 2010 Memorial Cup in Brandon.

Prior to arriving in Windsor, he helped lead Germany to the top of the B Pool at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships, promoting his native country to the A Pool in 2011.

“Phillip is a mentally tough kid and a fierce competitor,” said Spitfire general manager Warren Rychel. “He is outstanding down low and side to side.”

Acquired from the Oshawa Generals on January 9, 2008, right-winger Justin Shugg recently concluded his second full season with the Spitfires. Playing mostly on a line with Scott Timmins and Greg Nemisz during the 2009-2010 season, Shugg scored 39 goals and added 40 assists in 67 games. He followed that up with 5 goals and 10 assists in 18 OHL play-off contests and scored 2 goals and 5 assists in three games while helping the Spitfires win their second consecutive Memorial Cup title. He is a very solid all-around player who is opportunistic when it comes to scoring goals, possesses good hands and has above average offensive instincts.

“Justin found a way to work himself onto the first powerplay unit on a talented team like we had,” says Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner. “I think that says it all about about his game. Justin plays well at both ends of the ice and has tremendous hockey sense.”

Kuhnackl was selected in the first round, 24th overall, of the CHL Import Draft and will be joinging the Spitfires this fall. The 6’2”, 195-lb. right-winger had 12 goals and 12 assists with the Landshut Cannibals in his native Germany. Kuhnackl went pointless in four games with the Ausberger Panther, a team in Germany’s top hockey league. Kuhnackl’s father Eric was voted the top German hockey player of the 20th century.

“We have have had a lot of good players in Windsor over the last four seasons, and Tom will be right up there with the best of them when it comes to pure skill and skating ability,” contends Spitfire general manager Warren Rychel.

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Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata