Early in lottery, Hounds would prefer quiet 

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If it takes a while for the Soo Greyhounds name to be called on Wednesday, that’ll be just fine with general manager Kyle Raftis.

“If I don’t hear our name, I’ll be happy for sure,” said Raftis, who’ll be among 20 Ontario Hockey League general managers connected on a Zoom call for the league’s first ever draft lottery.

With the loss of the 2020-2021 OHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lottery will determine the first-round order in the 2021 Priority Selections draft, slated for June 4-5.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the order of selections will be determined by a computerized random number generator.

Each team has an equal chance of gaining the first pick overall, and also the final choice in Round 1. Selection order will be reversed at the start of Round 2, and in all subsequent rounds.

The lottery can be viewed on the OHL’s YouTube channel.

Asked about the lottery process, the Hounds GM said he believes the identity of teams, beginning with the one drawing pick No. 20, will be revealed one after the other.

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“The fact the odds are equal makes this definitely more interesting,” said Raftis, noting how the NHL draft lottery is weighted, depending on how low in the league’s standings teams have finished. “You have no idea at all as to how it’s going to play out.”

While the Niagara IceDogs will take part in the lottery, the franchise will forfeit its first-round pick. That means only 19 selections will be made in the opening round.

The IceDogs were penalized by the league for a player recruitment violation, offering to pay a player $10,000 for each of his four seasons, losing both the draft choice and being fined $150,000.

That means the first choice of Round 2 in June, which will go to the team having the final choice in the first round, will actually be selection No. 20 overall.

“I’m very excited,” Raftis said. “I want to see how this plays out.”

While a moratorium on player trades is presently in place, and will be until Aug. 3, Raftis said, clubs may exchange draft choices only between May 31- June 3.

The first three rounds of the Priority Selections will be held on June 4, starting at 7 p.m., with Rounds 4-15 slated for the following day, beginning at 9 a.m.

Along with their first-round pick, the Hounds own Windsor’s second-round selection, Mississauga’s in Round 3 and Sarnia’s choice in the fourth round.

The Soo has no pick in Round 6, but three in the 10th round. As was previously reported, the Under-18 draft is set for June 9, and the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft is scheduled for June 30.

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