Breakout Star of the Month: Graeme Clarke
After going viral (multiple times), it was no surprise that Toronto Marlboros forward Graeme Clarke was selected sixth overall by the Ottawa 67s at the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. As one of 82 GTHL players drafted, Clarke is already giving his opponents headaches with his size and skill. Only a few games into his rookie OHL season, the 16-year-old is already proving himself in one of the most competitive junior hockey leagues in the world.
“Graeme shoots the puck like very few players can. He is able to release the puck quickly, confidently and accurately in seemingly all situations,” said Evan Brownrigg, Manager of Player Development with University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Director of Player of Development at Next-Generation HKY in Ottawa. “His ability to shoot in-stride off the rush, in tight or in one-timer situations are separating factors for him amongst his peers.”
When talking about scoring in tight spaces, there’s one highlight reel play that truly exemplified Clarke’s skill set. During the 2017 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour, Clarke managed to successfully pull off the famed “Michigan Sweep” in the middle of a game. From behind the net, Clarke pressed down on the puck with his blade before sweeping it into the air and tucking it in below the crossbar on the unsuspecting goalie. As it turns out, Clarke executed a similar goal the year before at a tournament in Philadelphia.
— GTHL Hockey (@GTHLHockey) March 16, 2017
Now settling in with the 67s, Clarke has managed to make an immediate impact, notching with four goals and two assists in 13 games.
“In working with Graeme for close to 10 years, the thing that impresses me most, outside of his ability, is the character and work ethic he possesses,” said Derek Miller, the Director of Player Development for the 67s. “He is a special player; he does things the right way, is very attentive, coachable and detail oriented. He is a true student of the game, always asking questions and looking for ways to improve upon his game. His skill set has been earned as a by-product of his hard work and dedication to his game.”
In November, the Ottawa native and GTHL grad will be donning the maple leaf, representing Canada on one of three Canadian teams at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge in British Columbia. Given his history and the seemingly unlimited skills of the young goal scorer, fans will surely be treated to more highlight reel goals from Clarke for years to come.