Friday, May 01, 2009

Younger Mahalak, Jenner to be drafted

Saturday’s version of the annual OHL Priority Selection takes on a little more significance for Plymouth Whalers left wing RJ Mahalak than just adding a handful of new teammates for the upcoming season.

Mahalak’s brother, Matt, is one of the top-rated goaltenders in the draft and is considered by several pundits as a potential first round selection.

“It’s a different experience for him than it was for me,” said RJ of his brother’s approach to the OHL’s spring selection process.

RJ stayed at home in Michigan and played his preparatory midget hockey in the Belle Tire minor system, racking up a state and national championship in the year preceding his selection by the Whalers in the fourth round two springs ago in 2007.

Matt, however, decided to move to Indiana and play for Culver Military Academy as the next step in his hockey career.

“It’s a big opportunity for Matt,” said RJ. “I just wish him good luck. I don’t know if I’ll be playing against him or not. Right now, he has all his options open to him for next season.”

Listed as 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Matt “is long and lanky and moves well for a big goaltender” according to his older brother.

“He plays the puck very well,” noted RJ. Laughing, he added, “I think that’s from all the time he spent in the basement as a kid practicing his puck handling. He passed me up already, size-wise, and my parents think that’s pretty funny.”

Even though Matt may choose to spend next season, his senior year, at Culver, RJ thinks he’s ready to take the next step in his development.

“He’s ready to make a move up in competition,” said RJ. “He’s a level-headed, smart kid. He gets good grades in school. He can handle any of the challenges he’ll face.”

Look for another Whalers brother to be drafted early as defenseman Leo Jenner's youngest brother, Boone, is expected to be a first round draft pick.

The Whalers have the 13th overall selection at the 2009 OHL Priority Selection and complete coverage of all the Whalers draft picks can be found on Don't miss any of the OHL selections as the league's website will have the draft picks up-to-date as they occur.

By: Bob Miller
Special for

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