Saturday-May 23, 2009Rimouski, QC – The Canadian Hockey League today announced ten national award winners including Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion as The Hockey Company CHL Player of the Year at the annual CHL Awards Ceremony. The event was held at the Salle Desjardins-Telus Auditorium in Rimouski, QC as part of the festivities at the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup. All CHL award winners were selected by NHL Central Scouting.
The Hockey Company Player of the Year – Cody Hodgson, Brampton Battalion
Hodgson scored a career-high 43 goals and 49 assists for 92 points in 53 games with a plus-minus rating of plus-41 and 33 penalty minutes. The Battalion captain led the OHL with 11 game-winning goals and had a league-high point scoring streak of 23 games from November 21 to February 11. Hodgson recorded 26 multi-point games with four hat-tricks and one five-point game November 6 in an 8-4 win over the Plymouth Whalers. He won gold with Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa and led the tournament with 16 points in six games. Hodgson, a 19-year-old from Markham, ON, is a Vancouver Canucks prospect drafted 10th overall at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Also nominated was forward Brett Sonne of the Calgary Hitmen, and goaltender Nicola Riopel of the Moncton Wildcats.
NeilMed Top Prospect Award – John Tavares, London Knights
Tavares finished the season as the top-rated North American prospect for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to be held next month in Montreal. The four-year player led the OHL in scoring this season with 58 goals and 46 assists for 104 points in 56 games. The 18-year-old from Oakville, ON, set a new OHL all-time record for goals scored this season when he recorded his 215th career goal as part of a four-point performance with a hat-trick March 8 in a 4-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires. Tavares was named tournament MVP when he won gold representing Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa. Also nominated was defenceman Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Evander Kane of the Vancouver Giants.
Right Guard Sportsman of the Year – Cédric Lalonde-McNicoll, Shawinigan Cataractes
Lalonde-McNicoll scored 38 goals and 66 assists for 104 points in 65 games with just 22 penalty minutes to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the QMJHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. His 104 points ranked third in QMJHL scoring. He also led the league with a plus-minus rating of plus-61. The 20-year-old from Longueuil, QC, earns this national award for the second consecutive year. Also nominated were Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion, and Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Boston Pizza Top Scorer – Yannick Riendeau, Drummondville Voltigeurs
Riendeau scored a CHL-high 126 points including 58 goals and 68 assists in 64 games this season with a plus-minus rating of plus-38. 24 of his goals were scored on the power play. He also led the QMJHL with 15 game-winning goals. The 20-year-old and fifth year forward from Boucherville, QC, had an incredible 40 multi-point games this season with two hat-tricks and a seven-point game February 7 with one goal and six assists in a 10-1 win over the Lewsiton MAINEiacs. Also nominated were Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Vancouver Giants, and John Tavares of the London Knights.
Home Hardware Humanitarian of the Year – Matthew Pistilli, Shawinigan Cataractes
Pistilli was a major contributor to the Shawinigan community this season and distinguished himself by visiting underprivileged children and donating his personal tickets to every home game and ensuring that the children received VIP recognition as his guest. Throughout the year he participated in local school activities, fundraising initiatives, and minor hockey initiatives. On the ice, the 20-year-old from Montreal was a top forward scoring 45 goals and 41 assists for 86 points in 63 games. Also nominated were Chris Terry of the Plymouth Whalers, and Taylor Procyshen of the Tri-City Americans.
Subway Scholastic Player of the Year – Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades
Elliott has been a star on the ice and in the classroom during the 2008-09 WHL season. The 18-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., earned a 93.3% average during his first semester of studies in 2008-09 while taking a heavy course load of Grade 12 classes at Marion Graham Collegiate in Saskatoon, SK. He earned a 90% average in Chemistry 30, a 96% average in Francais immersion, and a 94% average in English B 30 in the first semester of the school year. On the Ice, Elliott notched 16 goals and 55 points in 70 games to help the Blades win the East Division title. Eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Elliott has the potential to be a first-round selection. Also nominated were Payton Liske of the Saint John Sea Dogs, and Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion.
Old Dutch Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year – Bob Boughner, Windsor Spitfires
Boughner is awarded the trophy for the second straight season leading the Spitfires to their best regular season in franchise history with a record of 57-10-0-1 for 115 points where they ranked first overall in the OHL to capture the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for first place in the regular season. His team won 16 more games and earned 21 more points than the 2007-08 season when he was the recipient of this award. Boughner, a 38-year-old Windsor native, is in his third year behind the bench after purchasing the Spitfires along with Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich in 2006. He guided them to an 18-43-2-5 record in his first season followed by a 41-15-7-5 record last season. Also nominated were Don Hay of the Vancouver Giants, and Danny Flynn of the Moncton Wildcats.
BMO Rookie of the Year – Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars
Connolly enjoyed a terrific campaign in his first season in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars in 2008-09. The 16-year-old Prince George, B.C., product led his hometown Cougars with 30 goals and 60 points in 65 games this season, helping the Cougars earn a playoff berth. Connolly was one of just two rookies to lead his team in scoring this season while also becoming the first 16-year-old rookie to score 30 goals in a season since current NHL star Patrick Marleau did it with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1995-96. A sniper with tremendous accuracy and a quick release, Connolly was drafted by the Cougars in the first round, 10th overall, at the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft. Also nominated was forward Evgeny Grachev of the Brampton Battalion, and defenceman Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
ADT Goaltender of the Year – Mike Murphy, Belleville Bulls
Murphy, a 20-year-old from Inverary, ON, posted a record of 40-9-2-2 with a league-best goals-against-average of 2.08 with a save percentage of .941 which was also the best mark in the league. He recorded five shutouts in 54 games. He limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in 36 games this season, including the final five games of the regular season where he recorded five wins, including one shutout to help the Bulls clinch first place in the Eastern Conference. He made 40 or more saves in eight games including a season-high 50 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa 67’s as first star of the game November 14. Murphy is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Also nominated were Nicola Riopel of the Moncton Wildcats, and Chet Pickard of the Tri-City Americans.
Jack Link’s Defenceman of the Year – Jonathan Blum, Vancouver Giants
Blum put up another excellent regular-season campaign for the Giants, helping the team to their fourth consecutive B.C. Division crown and to the second-best defensive record in the WHL. The 20-year-old from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, notched 16 goals and a career-high 50 assists for 66 points to go with a +53 rating in only 51 games for the Giants this season. Blum was named the Husky WHL Player of the Month for September/October after starting the season with 14 points and a remarkable +20 rating in his first 10 games of the season. Blum is a Nashville Predators prospect. Also nominated were Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires and Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)