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OHL to hold first-ever lottery ahead of June draft

With the 2020-21 season forced to be scrapped, the Ontario Hockey League is getting creative ahead of its annual player draft.

The OHL announced Wednesday that the 2021 OHL Priority Selection will take place in early June.

It marks the first time since the draft moved online in 2001 that the event will be held over the course of two days, with the first three rounds on June 4 and the remaining dozen rounds to be held the following day.

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“We’re very excited to welcome the next wave of promising young players to the Ontario Hockey League,” commissioner David Branch said in a league statement.

The draft will be its typical 15 rounds, with the selection order determined by a draft lottery on May 5.

According to the league, all 20 OHL teams will have an equal chance of securing the first overall pick, with the order of selection to be determined by a computerized random number generator. The league says the process will be overseen by legal representative Robert Bayne of Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP.

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Also unique to this year’s draft, the selection order will change every round with the league using what they call a “serpentine arrangement,” meaning the draft order will be reversed every round.

Both the lottery and the draft will be livestreamed on the league’s YouTube channel.

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