Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Darren Raddysh of the Erie Otters is the 2016-17 recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman of the Year.
Raddysh becomes the first Otter to ever win the award after leading all OHL defencemen in scoring this season with 81 points including 16 goals and 65 assists in 62 games while establishing new team single season records for assists and points from the blue line surpassing Chris Campoli’s marks of 46 and 66 set in 2003-04.
“It’s a huge honour,” Raddysh said. “There were a lot of great defencemen this year and to be recognized as the top defenceman…I’m speechless. I can’t find the words to express how truly honoured I am to accept this award.”
The 21-year-old from Caledon, Ont., was also recently announced as the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy recipient as this season’s Overage Player of the Year. He becomes the first player in OHL history to earn both awards, and just the second overage defenceman to earn the Max Kaminsky Trophy following current Los Angeles Kings star Jake Muzzin who received the honour as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2009-10.
“I learned to be patient and not rush things on and off the ice,” Raddysh added. “It takes time to develop as a person. As a 16-year-old you come in and try to be a sponge and I learned from all of the guys that were here before me. We had a lot of great coaches and I had a lot of great mentors that were on the back end. I tried to learn as much as I could from them and apply it to my game.”
Raddysh finished the 2016-17 campaign with a plus-62 rating behind only his brother Taylor who recorded a league-high plus-67. Since the OHL has recorded plus/minus beginning in 1996-97, Raddysh’s plus-62 is the fourth highest among defencemen following Nick Boynton’s plus-81 (Ottawa 1996-97), Sean Blanchard’s plus-74 (Ottawa 1996-97), and Danny Syvret’s plus-70 (London 2004-05). Raddysh produced 26 multi-point performances this season and earned OHL Defenceman of the Month honours for November and February. He was also recognized in the OHL’s Western Conference Coaches Poll as having the third Hardest Shot and was voted Best Offensive Defenceman.
“Darren is very deserving of this award,” said Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch. “He has sacrificed a lot for the team’s success and after all these years he’s finally being recognized for his talents. As an organization, we’re very proud of him for what he has brought to the Erie Otters organization on and off the ice.”
Originally chosen by the Otters in the fifth round of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, Raddysh played in 274 regular season games over five years accumulating 41 goals and 143 assists for 184 points. He graduates from the Otters as the franchise’s all-time assists and points leader among defencemen surpassing Campoli’s marks of 119 and 150 from 2000-04. Raddysh has also been instrumental in the Otters regular season success achieving a Canadian Hockey League record four-straight 50 win campaigns capped by a 2016-17 Midwest Division title and Hamilton Spectator Trophy.
The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded each year to the Most Outstanding Defenceman as selected by OHL General Managers. All 20 clubs submitted a nominee but were not permitted to vote for their own player. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.
Raddysh received 70 points in the voting process, followed by fellow overage player Santino Centorame of the Owen Sound Attack who finished in second place with 44 voting points, and last year’s recipient Mikhail Sergachev of the Windsor Spitfires who finished in third place with 26 voting points.
Past winners of the award since 1970 include Craig Hartsburg (Sault Ste. Marie 1976-77), Larry Murphy (Peterborough 1979-80), Al MacInnis (Kitchener 1982-83), Chris Pronger (Peterborough 1992-93), Brian Campbell (Ottawa 1998-99), Marc Staal (Sudbury 2006-07), Drew Doughty (Guelph 2007-08), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2008-09 and 2010-11), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011-12), Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie 2012-13), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2013-14), and Anthony DeAngelo (Sault Ste. Marie 2014-15).
The award is named in recognition of Max Kaminsky, who enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career that included four years in the NHL with Ottawa, Boston, and Montreal. After he retired from playing, Kaminsky enjoyed a 15-year coaching career that was capped by winning the Memorial Cup with the St. Catharines Teepees in 1960.
Raddysh will be formally presented with the Max Kaminsky Trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony which takes place June 8 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He will also be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Defenceman of the Year to be announced on May 27 at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor.