Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of the League’s three Academic Player of the Year awards for the 2019-20 season.
Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit is the winner of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year presented by CIBC, with Jacob Golden of the Erie Otters earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student and Owen Sound Attack forward Logan LeSage being honoured as the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award recipient as the Top High School Student.
Perfetti will serve as the OHL’s nomination for the CHL Scholastic Player of the Year Award which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Bobby Smith Trophy (CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year) – Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit):
The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that draft eligible forward Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit is the 2019-20 recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year presented by CIBC.
“CIBC proudly congratulates Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Perfetti on receiving the Bobby Smith Trophy as CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year. Cole’s demonstrated excellence both on the ice in hockey and off the ice in academics has set a positive example for his fellow teammates and those in the community, and we look forward to seeing him continue to flourish back on the ice in the near future.”
Perfetti becomes the first Spirit player to win the award, earning the honour for his academic achievements in the classroom combined with his on-ice excellence this season. He has been enrolled in an impressive seven University level courses between Heritage High School in Saginaw and All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, carrying an overall average of 93%. His courses of study include Algebra, World Religions, Organizational Studies in Behaviour and Human Resources, Analyzing Current Economic Issues, Elite Athletics, Healthy & Active Living and Leadership. On the ice, the top NHL Draft prospect finished second in OHL scoring, setting a new Spirit single season record with 111 points including 37 goals, 74 assists and a plus-49 rating over 61 games.
“It is a great honour to be awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy. Mr. Smith was an amazing OHL player who was named CHL Player of the Year and was selected first overall in the NHL Draft,” said Perfetti. “In addition, he was a very conscientious and successful student. Combining excellence on and off the ice has been something I have always strived for and the long list of distinguished winners, including Barrett Hayton, Connor McDavid, Matt Duchene and Steven Stamkos makes it extra special. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Saginaw Spirit ownership, management, coaching staff and my teammates. Thanks to my mom, dad, sister and the Bordeaux’s for their unconditional support. Thank you also to Mrs. Moretuzzo from Heritage High and Ms. Quinn from All Saints for all of their guidance over the last two years.”
The 18-year-old left-winger from Whitby, Ont. is the fifth-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings released on April 8. The Spirit’s fist round (fifth overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection increased his output from 74 points including a Spirit rookie record of 37 goals in 2018-19 to 111 points in his sophomore campaign, finishing second in League assists with 74. Perfetti was widely recognized in the 2019-20 Coaches Poll, leading all OHL players with first place finishes in four different categories as he was named the Western Conference’s Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. He led all OHL players, receiving three star of the game recognition a total of 22 times including a league-best 14 first star performances. Perfetti has also had past success on the world stage, representing Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship in addition to winning silver at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
“As an organization we could not be more proud of Cole for winning this prestigious award,” said Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill. “When Cole came into this season one of his personal goals was to win the Bobby Smith Trophy and it’s great to see him achieve what he set out to do. This is a very tough trophy to win and I think it speaks to Cole’s character and makeup as a person that he is the 2019-20 recipient. It takes incredible discipline, time management, skill, and drive to be the best on the ice and in the classroom to win this award and no one is more deserving than Cole.”
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, a former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. Past recipients since the award was first presented in 1980 include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2008), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Erik Gudbranson (Kingston 2010), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), Adam Pelech (Erie 2012), Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), back-to-back winner Connor McDavid (Erie 2014-15), Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 2017), Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie 2018) and Thomas Harley (Mississauga 2019).
Next in line for the award were a pair of other draft eligibles in blueliner Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters and forward Ethan Cardwell of the Barrie Colts.
Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Post-Secondary Student) – Jacob Golden (Erie Otters):
The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce that Erie Otters overage defenceman Jacob Golden is the 2019-20 recipient of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award presented annually to the League’s Top Academic Post-Secondary Student.
Golden achieved a 95% average in his studies at Mercyhurst University, excelling in Intro to Psychology, Principles of Management, Intro to Sport Industry and Sport Governance programs. He achieved grades of at least 94% in all four areas of study.
“Excelling academically has always been important to me,” said Golden. “I accelerated the completion of my high school education to graduate a year early and began taking university courses in my rookie OHL season. Attending classes at the Western University when I was in London, and Mercyhurst University when in was in Erie, were memorable parts of my OHL career, and working towards a university degree while playing in the OHL was a great opportunity. I would like to thank the Otters for their support and commitment on the ice as well as in the classroom. It is an honour to represent the organization with this award.”
A 21-year-old native of Toronto, Ont., Golden recorded 27 points including four goals and 23 assists over 48 games in his fourth OHL season. The 5-foot-11, 180Ib. blueliner split his OHL tenure between the Otters and London Knights, posting 60 points (9-51–60) over 212 regular season contests. Golden was a fifth round (147th overall) pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2017 NHL Draft and was originally London’s 15th round (295th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midgets.
“Jacob joins a prestigious group of young men that have won an award named after the great Roger Nielson, an innovator of our great game and someone who placed a great deal of importance on academics,” said Otters general manager Dave Brown. “We are so proud and thankful for Jacob’s accomplishments academically and appreciative of the legacy and standards he has set for the future Otters moving forward. We wish Jacob the utmost success in his academic endeavors, career aspirations and are thankful to have him as a member of our alumni.”
The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honour of the Hall of Fame Coach who served behind the Peterborough Petes bench in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players. The award was first presented to Ottawa 67’s goaltender Danny Battochio in 2004-05. Golden becomes the first Otters player to win the award since Derrick Bagshaw claimed the honour in 2006-07.
Finalists for the Roger Neilson Memorial Award include William Ennis of the Oshawa Generals, Eric Uba of the Guelph Storm and Billy Moskal of the London Knights.
Ivan Tennant Memorial Award (Top Academic High School Student) – Logan LeSage (Owen Sound Attack):
The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce that Owen Sound Attack forward Logan LeSage is the 2019-20 recipient of the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award presented annually to the League’s Top Academic High School Student.
LeSage put together an impressive 98% average in his Grade 12 studies at Owen Sound District Secondary School with a course load that included University-level English, International Business, Organizational Business Management, Leadership, Social Science, as well as a Business Leadership Co-op program. He received a perfect 100% grade in his International Business studies.
“I feel very privileged to earn the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award this year from the Ontario Hockey League,” said LeSage. “I’m grateful for all the support I received from the Owen Sound Attack organization, ownership, coaching staff, teachers and teammates. A special shout-out to our Educational Advisor, Sarah Rowe. Sarah’s encouragement and support went a long way in helping me reach my academic goals. It takes hard work to balance academics and a busy hockey schedule, and I am appreciative of the OHL for giving me the tools and resources needed to succeed.”
An 18-year-old native of Nepean, Ont., LeSage appeared in 21 games with the Attack during his rookie season, recording a goal and three assists. He scored his first career OHL goal on February 1 against Windsor. He was the club’s second round (29th overall) pick in the 2019 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection from the Carleton Place Canadians U18 program.
“Logan did an incredible job this year from start to finish,” said Attack general manager Dale DeGray. “Between hockey and school, Logan committed fully to the team and his education. To be able to achieve marks that high while putting his work in every day is fantastic. Logan did this himself, but for Attack educational supervisor Sarah Rowe to have her students win this three years in a row is an accomplishment we want recognized as well.”
The Ivan Tennant Memorial Award is given to the Top Academic High School Player and is named in honour of Ivan Tennant, who spent a lifetime combining hockey and education. He was the Kitchener Rangers’ Education Consultant for 20 years and a key figure on the OHL’s Education Consultant’s Committee. LeSage follows back-to-back winner Mack Guzda (2018 & 2019) along with Andrew Shorkey (2007) as the third different player in Attack history to win the award. Other past recipients include Kyle Keyser (Flint 2016), Adam Pelech (Erie 2012), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2010) and Freddie Hamilton (Niagara 2009).
Finalists for the award included goaltender Aidan Campbell of the Erie Otters and 2019 co-recipient Zack Terry of the Guelph Storm.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2019-20 OHL Scholastic Team:
2019-20 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Ethan Cardwell
Erie Otters – Jamie Drysdale*
Flint Firebirds – Braeden Kressler
Guelph Storm – Owen Bennett
Hamilton Bulldogs – Gavin White
Kingston Frontenacs – Jakob Brahaney
Kitchener Rangers – Michael Vukojevic*
London Knights – Brett Brochu
Mississauga Steelheads – Ethan Del Mastro
Niagara IceDogs – Elijah Roberts
North Bay Battalion – Pacey Schlueting
Oshawa Generals – Lleyton Moore
Ottawa 67’s – Will Cranley
Owen Sound Attack – Ethan Burroughs
Peterborough Petes – Tye Austin*
Saginaw Spirit – Cole Perfetti*
Sarnia Sting – Benjamin Gaudreau
Soo Greyhounds – Rory Kerins
Sudbury Wolves – Jack Thompson
Windsor Spitfires – Jean-Luc Foudy*
*-two-time member of OHL Scholastic Team
2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Thursday when the OHL recognizes its William Hanley Memorial Trophy recipient as Most Sportsmanlike Player in the morning before unveiling its Emms Family Award recipient as Rookie of the Year in the afternoon.
About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.