Defenceman Owen Forester of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Milton Menace (photo credit – Owen Mertens  | OJHL Images) has confirmed his commitment to join the NCAA Division 1 Yale University Bulldogs in New Haven, CT beginning with the 2023-24 season.

“I’ve coached Owen for 10 years and it has been a pleasure watching him mature into the amazing hockey player and person that he is today,” said Menace Head Coach/GM Dan Del Monte, who previously coached with the Toronto Nationals AAA organization. “He has a bright future in front of him and the Milton Menace are proud of everything he has accomplished with us.”

Forester, a 90-per-cent student in Grade 12, considered “four of five other (DI) schools” before landing on the Ivy League university.

Coaches from Yale caught several Menace games online before seeing Forester and his teammates eliminate Burlington in the West Division final in-person last month.

“It’s been a lot of fun in Milton, that’s for sure,” said the Mississauga resident who was 16 when he joined the former Newmarket Hurricanes franchise early in its first season (2019-20) in Milton. “We always had a good group of guys. It’s been great to see so many of them develop and get opportunities of their own, going to U SPORTS and D3.”

The Menace went 36-11-1-6 during the regular season, finishing second in the West and tied for fourth overall in the 21-team loop. They swept through two rounds of playoffs before falling to Pickering in the North-West Conference final

“It was a special year, in really our second year together,” Forester said. “It’s been awesome to see what Dan Del Monte and (owner/governor) Jason Tryfon have been able to do with this franchise.”

Forester scored four goals and added 22 assists in 26 games during the 2021-22 regular season. He had two assists in six playoff games.

“Owen has been such a big part of this team,” said Milton Assistant Coach Tyler Pracek. “His dedication and determination pushes him every day and has been a big influence on all of our players. He is a leader both on and off the ice representing the Menace and who we pride ourselves to be in extraordinary ways.

“Owen has a very bright future ahead of him and Yale has definitely found quite the player. I’m excited to continue to see and be a part of Owen’s progression as an exceptional D-man.”

Former OJHLer Luke Pearson was one of three goaltenders on Yale’s 2021-22 roster.

Congratulations to Owen and best of luck in the NCAA!

The OJHL, the largest Jr. A hockey league in Canada, has had more than 120 NCAA, U SPORTS, CHL and professional commitments in 2019-20 – including more than 45 NCAA Division I scholarships.

Check out all our 2021-22 commitments by clicking HERE