Photo courtesy of ontariohockeyleague.com
Birthdate: June 3, 1990
Hometown: Orleans, Ontario
Acquired: Signed as free agent (3-02-11)
“He’s got elite vision, he’s got elite passing ability. That’s what separates him, he is able to make plays that other guys can’t make. I think his passing level, his hockey sense, are at a pro level right now.”- Kitchener Rangers GM/Head Coach Steve Spott
“He’s got a special gift. He can see the ice like not a lot of players can. He’s got that extra patience with the puck. Everything is moving fast but, I think, in his head, it looks like it’s in slow motion. He gives himself that extra time so he can make those players.”- Kitchener Rangers Captain Gabriel Landeskog
Akeson spent the first half of the 2007-2008 season, which was his draft eligible year, with the Cumberland Grads of the Central Junior A Hockey League. He finished with 18 goals and 43 assists in 34 games with Cumberland before deciding to forgo his NCAA eligibility and signed with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey league. He made his OHL debut in January of ’08, but his action was limited. He finished the regular season with 2 points in 13 games. He saw more action in the playoffs, playing in 16 of the Rangers 20 games in their J. Ross Robertson Cup winning season, but only registered 1 point in the playoffs. He also got to play in all four games of the Memorial Cup tournament where he scored his first goal as a member of the Rangers and finished with 2 points in 4 games.
In his second season with the Rangers, Akeson played a more vital role on offense. He tallied 20 goals and 44 assists in 56 games. His 64 points was good enough for second in team scoring.
Akeson continued to take another leap forward in year 3. He bested his previous season’s totals with 24 goals and 56 assists in 65 games played. He then followed up with a strong playoff, producing at nearly a point per game clip. His final tally of the 2010 playoffs was 8 goals and 11 assists in 20 games played.
With the departures of Jeff Skinner and Jeremy Morin, Akeson was expected to step up and help make up for their losses. He did not disappoint. His final season in the OHL ended up being a banner year for him. He finished with 24 goals and 84 assists in 67 games. His 24 goals tied a career high. His 84 assists was a career high. He also broke the Rangers record for most assists in a season with his 84th assist. His 108 points were also a career high. He also tied for the OHL lead in scoring. As a result of his banner year, he also became the first player in OHL history to win four major regular season awards. He was awarded the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for the top scorer, the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy for the top scoring right winger, Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy as the overage player of the year, and the William Hanley Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player. He was also recognized by the OHL’s Western Conference as the Most Improved Player of the year. The accolades continued as he also received numerous awards from the Kitchener Rangers including the MVP, Scoring Champion, and the Volunteering and Community Service award.