Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven of the Owen Sound Attack is the 2016-17 recipient of the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year award.
McNiven played in 54 games this season carrying a record of 41-9-2-2 including six shutout victories that tied for a league-high, while also posting a league-low goals-against-average of 2.30 and a save percentage of .915 that ranked sixth overall. His 41 wins not only led the OHL this season but established a new Attack single season record surpassing Jordan Binnington’s previous mark of 32 set during his award winning 2012-13 season.
“This is a huge honour,” McNiven said. “At the beginning of the year I made it my goal to be the best goalie I could be on a night in, night out basis, and to be named Goaltender of the Year in a league with so many fantastic goalies means a lot to me. That said, this should be viewed as a team award. I wouldn’t have been able to make the saves I did if it wasn’t for my teammates who blocked shots, cleared players from the front of the net, and made my job easier.”
During the 2016-17 campaign, McNiven was part of an Attack squad that set franchise records for wins (49) and points (102) while surrendering a league-low 177 goals-against earning the league’s Dave Pinkney Trophy with partner Emanuel Vella. He won 11 straight games from December 9 through January 21 contributing to the club’s record 15-game winning-streak and was recognized with Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week honours on January 2. McNiven also earned Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month honours for February and was acknowledged in the Western Conference Coaches Poll finishing second in the Best Puckhandling Goalie vote, and first in the Best Shootout Goalie vote.
“Michael is extremely deserving of this award,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “His work ethic and dedication to getting better every day is unmatched and his performance this year showed just how hard he worked. Michael was a large part of our success this year and the entire organization is extremely proud of him.”
A 19-year-old from Georgetown, Ont., McNiven was chosen by the Attack in the fourth round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. He has now played three full seasons in Owen Sound accumulating 77 career wins which ranks second in franchise history behind Binnington’s 86 recorded over four seasons from 2009-13. McNiven did surpass Binnington this season for first on the club’s all-time shutout list with 11. He becomes the third Attack goaltender to earn this award following Binnington (2012-13) and Jamie Storr (1993-94). In September, 2015, McNiven signed a free agent entry-level contract with the Canadiens.
The OHL Goaltender of the Year is awarded to the league’s most outstanding goaltender as selected by OHL General Managers. Teams were not permitted to vote for a goaltender from their own hockey club. Goaltenders received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.
McNiven received 89 of a possible 95 points in the voting process, followed by Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Parsons of the London Knights who finished in second place with 27 voting points, and 2017 NHL Draft prospect Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires who finished in third place with 26 voting points.
The award was first presented in 1987-88 to Rick Tabaracci (Cornwall) with other notable winners including Manny Legace (Niagara Falls 1992-93), Craig Anderson (Guelph 2000-01), Steve Mason (London 2006-07), the league’s only back-to-back winner Mike Murphy (Belleville 2007-08 and 2008-09), Mark Visentin (Niagara 2010-11), Michael Houser (London 2011-12), Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth 2013-14), Lucas Peressini (Kingston 2014-15), and Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie 2015-16).
McNiven will be formally presented with the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year Award on Thursday June 8 at the OHL Awards Ceremony held at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He is also the OHL’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Year to be announced on Saturday May 27 at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor.