Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that 2017 NHL Draft prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is the 2016-17 recipient of the William Hanley Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.
Suzuki finished fifth in league scoring with 96 points including 45 goals and 51 assists in 65 games played with a plus-minus rating of plus-51 that ranked seventh among all OHL skaters. He recorded just 10 penalty minutes in 2016-17 which was fewest among the league’s top-10 scorers serving just one minor penalty during the final 26 games of the season. He is the first Owen Sound player to receive the award following a season where the Attack secured franchise best marks of 49 wins and 102 points.
“It’s a big honour to be selected for this award,” Suzuki said. “I pride myself on being a good player by sticking to my game and staying away from taking penalties, and also being a good teammate and someone who is well respected on the ice.”
A 17-year-old from London, Ont., Suzuki is playing in just his second OHL season after being chosen by the Attack 14th overall in the 2015 Priority Selection. This season he recorded 25 multi-point performances including a career-high six-point effort with a goal and five assists against his hometown Knights on February 17. Suzuki was also recognized in the annual Western Conference Coaches Poll where he was voted second in the Best Stickhandler category. He is eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft and was listed 10th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings.
“The whole organization is extremely proud of Nick,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “He’s an elite player in an amazing league that has the respect of not only his teammates but his peers. From the moment he joined the Attack, Nick has approached and played the game the right way and there is no more deserving player for this award than him.”
The William Hanley Trophy is awarded each year based on a selection by the 20 General Managers of the Ontario Hockey League. All 20 teams submit a nominee but are not permitted to vote for their own candidate with players receiving five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote. The trophy is presented by the OHL to commemorate William Hanley, former Secretary-Manager of the Ontario Hockey Association for over 25 years.
Suzuki led the voting process by receiving 74 voting points, followed by fellow NHL Draft prospects including Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs who finished in second place with 55 voting points, and Robert Thomas of the London Knights who finished in third place with 18 voting points.
Former winners of the William Hanley Trophy first presented in 1961 include Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1977-78), Kirk Muller (Guelph 1982-83), Brian Campbell (Ottawa 1998-99), Jeff Carter (Sault Ste. Marie 2004-05), Brandon Saad (Saginaw 2011-12), Connor McDavid (Erie 2013-14), Dylan Strome (Erie 2014-15), and Mike Amadio (North Bay 2015-16).
Suzuki will be formally presented with the William Hanley Trophy at the 2016-17 OHL Awards Ceremony set for Thursday June 8 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He will also be the OHL’s nominee for Sportsman of the Year at the Annual CHL Awards held as part of the Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities on Saturday May 27 in Windsor.