2023 wjc clarke othmann wright

Reuniting the Don Mills Flyers

They were members of the talented Don Mills Flyers team, and now minor hockey teammates Brandt Clarke, Brennan Othmann and Shane Wright are together again at the World Juniors

Shannon Coulter
December 31, 2022

Three players, one minor hockey team and a legacy that continues to be built. After first joining forces in minor hockey, Brandt Clarke, Brennan Othmann and Shane Wright have taken the hockey world by storm and are reunited again to compete for gold at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

In 2016, Clarke had just moved from Ottawa to Toronto ahead of his U14 AAA season. He joined the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s (GTHL) Don Mills Flyers, where he was introduced to two other players that were new to the team: Othmann and Wright.

“I actually didn’t know who either of them [was], I just knew some of the other guys on Don Mills,” Clarke explains. “But we clicked right away, we were the new guys. We talked, we gelled early and there’s just a connection there. They’re two special players.”

Othmann and Wright had previously played against each other, but never on the same team. During a spring tournament, Flyers head coach Marc Slawson pointed out Wright to Othmann, saying he would likely play with him.

“I looked at Shane on the ice and you automatically saw that he stood out, and I was excited watching him play,” Othmann says. “He’s a really good player.”

On the ice, the three Don Mills Flyers quickly gained chemistry with each other.

“I think we fed off each other really well,” Wright says. “We understood where each other were on the ice, we’re reacting and reading off each other on the ice. We just always had that chemistry.”

The team was a force to be reckoned with. During the three years Clarke, Othmann and Wright wore the Flyers logo, they won three consecutive GTHL championships, the 2018 All-Ontario U15 AAA Championship and the 2019 OHL Cup after going 30-0-3 in the GTHL during the 2018-19 regular season.

But the team also faced adversity. In the middle of its U15 championship campaign, Flyers goaltender Roy Pejcinovski was killed in a triple homicide along with his mother and 13-year-old sister, Vana, in Ajax, Ont.

“In that situation, you either come together or you spread apart, and our team obviously came together,” Othmann says.

“It was definitely something that still sticks with us every day,” Clarke adds. “I still think of Roy every single day.”

With Pejcinovski in their hearts, Don Mills continued to play for its netminder throughout the remainder of its time together, culminating in the 2019 OHL Cup. Although the Flyers trailed the Toronto Red Wings (who included World Juniors teammate Adam Fantilli) 4-1 after the first period, they battled back to push the game to overtime.

“Clarke stole the puck from the other team and gave me a little high-flip pass,” Wright explains. “I skate onto it, and we had a 2-on-1 with me and [Othmann]. I passed it and he did the rest.”

“That game was so special. We came in with a lot of adversity and we wanted to win that for our goalie Roy and his family,” Othmann says. “It’s kind of funny thinking about it: Clarkey to Shane, Shane to me. In that way, it looks cool on the box score. That’s my favourite memory of the Flyers and it’s my favourite memory with those two.”

After the OHL Cup, the trio went off on their own hockey journeys. All three players were selected in the top four picks of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Wright became the fifth player granted exceptional-player status and was selected first by the Kingston Frontenacs. Othmann was taken second by the Flint Firebirds and Clarke was grabbed fourth overall by the Barrie Colts.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Clarke says. “We’re all first-round picks. We’re all going to other places around the continent, but when we got the word that all three us of were going to be back together and play on the global stage like this, it was really cool. We’re all texting each other right away… when I saw them in the airport, I went up and gave them a hug.”

The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship marks the second time the Don Mills trio has reunited on the international stage. In 2021, they won gold at the IIHF U18 World Championship. Wright co-led the Canadians in scoring with 14 points and a Canadian record nine goals, Othmann had three goals and three assists and Clarke chipped in with two goals and five helpers.

Although their teams are spread out across North America (all three were first-round NHL picks as well), the three Flyers remain in touch. They have an active group chat, they’ll make time to go golfing or skate together, or play the NHL series video games to stay connected. But despite the distance, the connection remains just as strong as it was at Don Mills.

“That chemistry has stayed the same, just like how we were in minor,” Wright says. “It’s always going to be there, that bond and that trust [we have].”

To be able to play in multiple world championships together with two of your buddies from your minor hockey team is an unlikely feat. But Clarke, Othmann and Wright each push each other to be the best they can be—and that payoff is evident on the ice.

“To do this with Shane and Brennan, the two guys I consider like brothers to me, it’s really special,” Clarke adds.

“Those two have been great the whole way since I’ve been 14,” Othmann says. “It’s been a crazy few years. It’s been ups and downs for all of us but at the same time, it’s been an unbelievable journey and it’s been an unbelievable time with them. To cap it off at the World Juniors, it’s going to be something special.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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