Major Junior (1993–95)
After playing bantam and Junior B in his hometown Windsor, Ontario, Jovanovski joined the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Windsor Spitfires. In his rookie season with the Spitfires, Jovanovski led all team defencemen in scoring, with 50 points in 62 games. In addition to being voted as the Emms Division's top bodychecker by league coaches, he was named to the OHL's All-Rookie and Second All-Star Teams. That off-season, Jovanovski was selected first overall by the Florida Panthers in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He admitted to being surprised at the top selection, as he had not been ranked first at any point in his draft-eligible season. Czech prospect Radek Bonk was ranked first overall by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, but Panthers president Bill Torrey preferred a defenceman over a forward.
Following the draft, the 1994–95 NHL season was suspended for three-and-a-half months due to a dispute between NHL players and owners. Consequently, Jovanovski automatically remained in junior for the beginning of the 1994–95 OHL season. When NHL was set to resume play in January 1995, it was speculated that the Panthers might sign Jovanovski and call him up to the NHL. However, Panthers general manager Bryan Murray announced he would remain with Windsor, citing that he would likely not receive much playing time with the club. He averaged approximately 40 minutes per game with Windsor that season, scoring 23 goals and 65 points over 50 contests. He added nine points in nine playoff games before Windsor was eliminated. Jovanovski was named to the OHL First All-Star Team.
While still with the Spitfires, he was charged with sexual assault, along with two of his teammates. The charges were eventually dropped, after his lawyer threatened the alleged victim with a lawsuit.
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