It was a year like no other in junior hockey and it will be a training camp like no other if and when the Guelph Storm hits the ice in August.
Guelph will pick third overall on June 4, winning the spot in a special lottery held by the league on Wednesday night.
The Sudbury Wolves will pick first overall.
The lottery was deemed the fairest way of deciding the draft selection after the 2020-21 season was cancelled due to COVID.
"There's a group of elite players, for sure, both forwards and defencemen," Storm GM/coach George Burnett said in a phone call shortly after the lottery concluded.
He admitted there was excitement and nerves as he waited for the lottery to unfold.
"Normally you have to go through a pretty rough season to get to pick that high, so it's definitely exciting moving forward," he said, sticking to the theory that the team will pick the best player available with that first pick.
Burnett said he anticipated seven true rookies would likely have been on this year's team had there been one. That number will only be higher next season, as it will be for almost every team.
You have the 2021 and 2020 draft class, plus some late bloomers from the 2019 draft who will push for jobs.
"I think the message to players and their families is don't assume just because you were an early pick that you have a job. There's going to be lots of competition,"Burnett said.
Guelph owns Mississauga's pick in the second round and Barrie's pick in the third round. That means they will pick 12th in the second round and last in the third round, given how the lottery unfolded.
The first three rounds will take place on Friday, June 4, and the remaining 12 rounds will take place the following day.
Nineteen teams had the same chance of the first overall pick in the lottery. The Niagara IceDogs did not have a first round pick, forfeiting it due to recruiting violations.
Niagara was slotted in at 15th in the first round as a means of deciding where they will pick in future rounds.
The draft will be a snake draft, with the order being reversed each subsequent round.
The first round will go as follows: 1. Sudbury 2. Oshawa 3. Guelph 4. Windsor 5. Kingston 6. Peterborough 7. Flint 8. Owen Sound 9. Mississauga 10. Erie 11. North Bay 12. Ottawa 13. Sarnia 14. Hamilton 15. Saginaw 16. London 17. Kitchener 18. Sault Ste. Marie 19. Barrie.