CHL announces 2016-17 Award winners

Windsor – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 10 national award winners for the 2016-17 season including Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters who earned Sportsnet CHL Player of the Year honours.

Photo by Aaron Bell/CHL Images
2017 CHL Award Winners. Photo by Aaron Bell/CHL Images

The awards were presented as part of the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities in Windsor.

2016-17 CHL Award Winners:

Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award: Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings

Brandon Wheat Kings captain Nolan Patrick is listed number one in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.  The 18-year-old forward from Winnipeg, MB, wrapped up his third WHL season with 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points limited to just 33 games played due to injury.  He is the first WHL player to earn this award since Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in 2013, and could be the first western Canadian to be chosen first overall since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels in 2011.  Finalists for the award include Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads who was listed second by NHL Central Scouting, and Gabe Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires ranked fourth.

Chrysler Top Scorer Award: Sam Steel, Regina Pats

Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel led the CHL with 131 points in 66 games played scoring 50 goals and 81 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-49 helping the Regina Pats to a first place finish atop the WHL’s regular season standings.  The 19-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, delivered the CHL’s highest point total since Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans recorded 134 points in 69 games played during the 2011-12 campaign.  Finalists for the award were Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters with 127 points in 63 games, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques who scored 104 points in 66 games this season.

 BRP Sportsman of the Year Award: Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack

2017 NHL Draft prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack finished fifth in OHL scoring with 96 points including 45 goals and 51 assists in 65 games played with a plus-minus rating of plus-51 while recording just 10 penalty minutes.  The 17-year-old from London, ON, is listed tenth by NHL Central Scouting and helped the Attack secure franchise best marks of 49 wins and 102 points this season.  Finalists for the award were Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos and Hugo Roy of the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

Mastercard Humanitarian of the Year Award: Tyler Wong, Lethbridge Hurricanes

Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong is the CHL’s Humanitarian of the Year after being named a finalist for the award last season, establishing himself as an exceptional ambassador for his team and the league both on and off the ice.  The 21-year-old from Cochrane, AB, carried forward the ‘Canes KidSport program he introduced a year ago which donates $5 to KidSport Lethbridge & Taber for each goal he scores.  Powered by 51 goals of his own and with the help from teammates, alumni, and the community, the initiative surpassed all expectations and raised over $13,000 this season.  Finalists for the award were Garrett McFadden of the Guelph Storm and two-time nominee Samuel Laberge of the Rimouski Oceanic.

CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year Award: Sasha Chmelevski, Ottawa 67’s

2017 NHL Draft prospect Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s achieved a 98% average across his six Grade 12 courses through Michigan’s Virtual Charter Academy.  The 17-year-old from Northville, Michigan, also scored 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 58 games appearing 43rd among North American players listed by NHL Central Scouting.  Finalists for the award were Brian King of the Everett Silvertips and Antoine Samuel of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

Sofina Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award: Ryan McGill, Owen Sound Attack

Ryan McGill led the Owen Sound Attack to an all-time franchise best record of 49-15-2-2 for 102 points surpassing the club’s previous highs of 46 wins and 97 points set during the 2010-11 season.  The 48-year-old from Sherwood Park, AB, helped the Attack become the league’s most improved team in just his second season behind the bench increasing their win total by 17 and point total by 27 while establishing a franchise record 15-game winning-streak and surrendering an OHL-low 177 goals against.  McGill was previously nominated for this award in 2013 during his tenure with the Kootenay Ice.  Finalists for the award were John Paddock of the Regina Pats and Danny Flynn of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

CCM Rookie of the Year Award: Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads

2017 NHL Draft prospect Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads led all rookies in scoring with 86 points in 57 games including 38 goals and 48 assists.  The 18-year-old from Naters, Switzerland, was chosen sixth overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft and is listed second in NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings.  He becomes the second Moosehead to win the award following current Winnipeg Jet Nikolaj Ehlers in 2014, and will challenge for the NHL’s top pick in June where he would follow 2013 first overall pick and Moosehead grad Nathan MacKinnon who currently stars with the Colorado Avalanche.  Finalists for the award were Aleksi Heponiemi of the Swift Current Broncos and Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm.

Vaughn Goaltender of the Year Award: Michael McNiven, Owen Sound Attack
Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven of the Owen Sound Attack carried a record of 41-9-2-2 including six shutout victories that tied for an OHL-high, while also posting a league-low goals-against-average of 2.30 and save percentage of .915 that ranked sixth overall in the OHL.  The 41 wins by the 19-year-old from Georgetown, ON, led the OHL this season and established a new Attack single season record while his shutout tally brings his three-year career total to 11 which is also a new team mark.  Finalists for the award were Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart who was the 2015-16 recipient, and Francis Leclerc of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Superstore Defenceman of the Year Award: Thomas Chabot, Saint John Sea Dogs
Ottawa Senators prospect Thomas Chabot of the Saint John Sea Dogs is the CHL’s Defenceman of the Year after scoring 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points in just 34 games played.  The 20-year-old from Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, QC, was also a member of Canada’s National Junior Team earning a silver medal and Tournament MVP honours at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.  The 18th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft helped the Sea Dogs to a first place finish in the QMJHL this season.  Finalists for the award were Edmonton Oilers prospect Ethan Bear of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Darren Raddysh of the Erie Otters.

Sportsnet Player of the Year Award: Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters led the OHL with 127 points in 63 games scoring 65 goals and 62 assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-60.  The 19-year-old from Farmington Hills, Michigan, helped the Otters capture a second straight regular season title and set a CHL record with their fourth straight 50-win season.  The former CHL Rookie of the Year set a team record for goals in a season while eclipsing the 50-goal and 100-point plateau for the third straight season.  He is the second Otter to win the award in three seasons following current Edmonton Oilers star and NHL Top Scorer Connor McDavid who received the honour in 2015.  Finalists for the award were Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel of the Regina Pats, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques.


OHL This Week for April 26-30, 2017

OHL Logo

Toronto, ON – The Mississauga Steelheads have advanced to the Rogers OHL Championship Series and await the winner between the Erie Otters and Owen Sound Attack currently deadlocked at 2-2 in the Western Conference Final.  That story and more around the OHL this week.


The Mississauga Steelheads have claimed the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions for the first time in team history, sending Mississauga to its first Rogers OHL Championship Series since 2011. The Steelheads took a commanding 7-0 home ice victory in Game 4 on Wednesday, taking a clean sweep of their Eastern Conference Championship Series against the Peterborough Petes. Read more / Photo Gallery / Highlights / Post-Game


Don’t miss a game! Follow your team throughout the #OHLPlayoffs with new OHL LIVE Playoff Packages including the flexibility of single game, team pass and all access options. Visit for full details.


Get caught up on what’s going on around the entire CHL Playoffs in the third edition of LiftMaster Road to the Mastercard Memorial Cup.  11 teams remain in the hunt to join the Windsor Spitfires in May as third round action winds down.  LiftMaster is the Official Garage Door Opener of the Canadian Hockey League. Watch.


Erie Otters defenceman Darren Raddysh has been voted the 2016-17 Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy recipient presented annually to the OHL’s Overage Player of the Year. Raddysh led all overage players in scoring this season with 81 points in 62 games including 16 goals and 65 assists.  His 81 points were tops among OHL defencemen and established a new Otters single season mark for production from the blueline. Read more


2017 NHL Draft prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is the William Hanley Trophy recipient awarded to the league’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. Read more


Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s is the recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year, with Stephen Gibson of the Mississauga Steelheads earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student, and Quinn Hanna of the Guelph Storm named the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award recipient for Top High School Student. All three players will be formally presented with their awards at the annual OHL Awards Ceremony on Thursday June 8.  Chmelevski will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Scholastic Player of the Year which will be announced on Saturday May 27 as part of the events at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor. Read more


A look at the Mississauga Steelheads’ ascension from holding the OHL’s worst record in early December to being crowned Central Division champions at season’s end. Head coach James Richmond and his staff stayed the course and benefited from the midseason additions of Spencer Watson and Vili Saarijarvi. Read more


The Peterborough Petes played in their first Eastern Conference Final since 2006, becoming the talk of the town once again. Former Petes goaltender turned coach Andrew Verner reflects on his playing days in the Electric City and discusses the competitive standard this year’s club set for future seasons. Read more


Forwards Jonah Gadjovich and Kevin Hancock represent an Owen Sound Attack hockey club that flew under the radar and improved into one of the league’s best. The two draft eligible forwards received high praise in the Western Conference Coaches Poll in categories that are the essence of this year’s Attack; improved and underrated. Read more


Erie Otters veterans Dylan Strome, Kyle Pettit, and Darren Raddysh are competing in their fourth straight Western Conference Championship Series. The Otters hope this season will be their year to celebrate the Flagship City’s first OHL title since 2002. Read more


Four OHL players earned medals at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia. A total of 15 OHL players competed in the annual event including nine who competed for Canada in a fifth place finish following a quarterfinal loss to Sweden. Read more


The Niagara IceDogs have named former Director of Player Personnel Joey Burke as General Manager of the club. Burke, who has been with the IceDogs since their inaugural season in Niagara in 2007-08. He has served as the club’s Assistant General Manager since the beginning of the 2010 season. Read more


The Ottawa 67’s have announced that Head Coach and General Manager Jeff Brown has resigned for personal reasons. Brown took over coaching duties with the 67’s in the 2014-15 season and was promoted to the dual role of Head Coach and General Manager in May 2015. In his first season behind the bench, the 67’s finished second in the OHL’s Eastern Division and secured a playoff spot after missing the post-season in the two previous seasons. The team qualified for the playoffs in each year of Brown’s tenure as Head Coach. Read more


The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds forward Boris Katchouk to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. Katchouk, 18, played in 66 games with the Greyhounds this season, recording 35 goals and 64 points to go along with 46 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1,192-pound forward ranked second on the Greyhounds for goals, third for points and fifth for assists. Katchouk paced the entire OHL for shorthanded goals with seven.  Read more


The Anaheim Ducks have signed Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Jack Kopacka to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. Selected in the fourth round (93rd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Kopacka recorded 30-19=49 points with a +8 rating and 16 PIM in 65 games with the Greyhounds in 2016-17. The 6-2, 202-pound forward set OHL career highs during the regular season in goals, points and plus/minus. He also ranked second on the Greyhounds in playoff scoring (5-6=11) and assists in 11 postseason appearances this spring. Read more


Matthew Mancina of the Mississauga Steelheads is the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 23 after posting a 2-0 record including a shutout victory with a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .944. Mancina turned aside 51 shots last week for the Steelheads who opened the Eastern Conference Championship Series with a pair of road victories to take a 2-0 series lead against the Peterborough Petes. Mancina’s standout performance also earned him Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week honours. Read more


The Sarnia Sting have received a commitment from 2017 first round, ninth overall selection Jamieson Rees. Rees, who captained the Mississauga Reps to an OHL Cup title, was also named to the OHL Cup Gatorade All-Star Team after recording 11 points (6-5–11) over eight games with a rating of plus-13. Read more


The Sarnia Sting have received a commitment from 2017 second round (37th overall) selection Alexandre Hogue. The HEO Player of the Year had 14 goals, 33 assists and 47 points in 45 games with the Cumberland Grads U18 Midgets. The Embrun, Ont. native is expected to suit up for Team HEO in the upcoming OHL Gold Cup taking place at the Activia Sportsplex in Kitchener from May 4-7. Read more


The Windsor Spitfires have received a commitment from 2017 first round, 17th overall pick Nathan Staios. The son of longtime NHL defenceman Steve Staios – who is now president and general manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs – Staios had five goals, 11 assists and 32 penalty minutes in 16 games for the the Vaughn Kings Minor Midgets in 2016-17. Read more


The Sudbury Wolves have received a commitment from 2017 first round, seventh overall pick Blake Murray. An Uxbridge, ON, native, Murray led the Whitby Wildcats Minor Midgets to an OMHA Championship this past season before reaching the OHL Cup Quarterfinals. Read more


The Oshawa Generals have received a commitment from 2016 fifth round selection Joe Rupoli. The defenceman from Oakville played with the OJHL’s Mississauga Chargers this past season, recording three goals, 12 assists and 15 points over 48 games. Read more


A total of nine OHL clubs hosted Development Camps last weekend, giving prospective players and their families an opportunity to meet coaches, staff, media, and fans in their respective organizations. Players taken in the 2016 and 2017 OHL Priority Selections in addition to 2017 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection picks and other free agent invitees attended the Development Camps that featured a fitness testing element in addition to on-ice scrimmages and information sessions over the course of the weekend. Read more


Seven players chosen in the 2017 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection are competing in the Telus Cup with the Mississauga Rebels Midgets. The Rebels represent the Central region at this year’s event in Prince George, BC and feature OHL prospects in Evan Benwell (Windsor Spitfires), Elijah Gonsalves (London Knights), Josiah Degazon (Barrie Colts), Bair Gendunov (Saginaw Spirit), Massimo Petricca (Barrie Colts), Eric Mergelas (Sudbury Wolves and Calder Lund (Flint Firebirds). For full coverage of the 2017 Telus Cup, please visit


The Ontario Hockey League will be hosting its 5th annual OHL Gold Cup High Performance Officiating Exposure Camp from May 3-7 to enhance the development and performance of the top officiating prospects in Canada. This camp will be an opportunity for officials to showcase their skills and abilities to members of the OHL Officiating Department. A total of 20 officials out of over 80 applications have been selected to participate. Read more


The 4th annual OHL Coaches Conference is scheduled for Saturday June 3rd on the campus of UOIT in Oshawa, ON. This event provides minor hockey coaches the opportunity to learn from OHL, AHL, and NHL personnel in an interactive professional development day. Programs are open to any coach registered within the OHF, OHA, OWHA, HEO, or HNO, coaching Pee-Wee ‘AAA’, Minor Bantam and Major Bantam ‘AE to AAA’, Minor Midget and Midget ‘AE to AAA’. Read more


What do you do to win? Show Sportsnet your skills using #WhatToWin on Twitter, and you could win a trip to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup! Details.


A proud partner of the Canadian Hockey League, BRP has launched a great new contest that gives fans a chance to win a trip for four to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor! Fill out all of the information and enter for your chance to win. Visit


Voting is now open for the #JanesSaves of the Year! Head to and vote for the best OHL Save of the Year! Enter for your chance to win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup and score a FREE box of Janes ultimates™


Los Angeles Kings prospect Spencer Watson of the Mississauga Steelheads is the OHL’s representative in this week’s edition of CIBC Showdown, a weekly contest that features one great play from all three leagues. Watch his play and vote at


Several OHL players now on the other side of the 2016-17 season have received pro opportunities with AHL and ECHL clubs. The following players have recently signed professional and amateur tryout contracts with pro clubs since their OHL playoff elimination: Jeremy Brodeur (Oshawa Generals/Toledo Walleye – ECHL), Connor Bunnaman (Kitchener Rangers/Lehigh Valley Phantoms – AHL), Max Jones (London Knights/San Diego Gulls – AHL), Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds/Syracuse Crunch – AHL), JJ Piccinich (London Knights/Toronto Marlies – AHL), Mitchell Stephens (London Knights/Syracuse Crunch – AHL),


2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup single-game tickets are now on sale. Tickets for games featuring the host Windsor Spitfires are available at a cost of $90+HST while games featuring two of the other three participating teams are priced at $75+HST. Read more


47 OHL graduates advance to second round of NHL Playoffs: A total of 47 OHL graduates have reached the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers advanced in the Western Conference while the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins moved on in the East. Read more

Marner added to Canada’s Roster for 2017 IIHF World Championship: Fresh off an outstanding rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, London Knights graduate and 2016 CHL Player of the Year Mitch Marner has been added to Canada’s roster for the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship. Marner will be representing his country in international competition for the third time in his career; he won gold at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, and was part of Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Thornhill, Ont. native as Toronto’s rookie leader in regular season assists, posting 42 in 77 games this past season. He played three seasons with London from 2013-16, leading the Knights to an OHL title and a Mastercard Memorial Cup championship last spring.

Brooks named OHA Coach of the Year: OHL graduate and former coach of the Guelph Storm Jason Brooks has been named the 2017 OHA Coach of the Year. Brooks steered the Listowel Jr. B Cyclones to the franchise’s first Cherrey Cup title since 2005 this season, winning 40 games during the regular season. The Cyclones defeated the Elmira Sugar Kings to win the Cherrey Cup before falling to the London Nationals in the Sutherland Cup Semi-Final. Brooks played with the Cyclones before an OHL career spent with the Ottawa 67’s and London Knights from 1993-96. He spent nine years with the Storm organization from 2001-10 in a variety of roles, winning an OHL title with the club in 2004. He finished his most recent OHL coaching stint with the Niagara IceDogs in 2013. Brooks revealed to the Stratford Beacon-Herald this past week that he began undergoing chemotherapy in early February on a benign brain tumour that continued to grow. The Ontario Hockey League wishes Jason nothing but the best in his fight and congratulates him on a great season in Listowel.

Bruins name Cassidy head coach: After filling in on an interim basis, Bruce Cassidy has been named head coach of the Boston Bruins for the 2017-18 season. The Bruins went 18-8-1 under Cassidy, making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014, though the Bruins did not make it out of the first round. He replaced Claude Julien, the Bruins’ coach for a decade, who was fired on Feb. 7.  Cassidy played with Brian Kilrea’s Ottawa 67’s from 1982-85 before an 11-year pro career. He coached the Kingston Frontenacs in parts of two seasons from 2006-08.


Wednesday April 26th
Peterborough 0 at Mississauga 7 (Game 4) – Highlights
Erie 4 at Owen Sound 3 (Game 4) – Highlights

Friday April 28th:
Owen Sound at Erie (Game 5) – 7:00pm

Sunday April 30th:
Erie at Owen Sound (Game 6) – 2:00pm

Monday May 1st:
Owen Sound at Erie (Game 7) – 7:00pm*

Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at

OHL Announces Academic Player of the Year Award Winners for 2016-17

Press Release

67’s Sasha Chmelevski, Steelheads’ Stephen Gibson, Storm’s Quinn Hanna earn Academic Honours

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of the league’s three Academic Player of the Year awards for the 2016-17 season.

Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s is the recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year, with Stephen Gibson of the Mississauga Steelheads earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student, and Quinn Hanna of the Guelph Storm named the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award recipient for Top High School Student.

All three players will be formally presented with their awards at the annual OHL Awards Ceremony on Thursday June 8.  Chmelevski will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Scholastic Player of the Year which will be announced on Saturday May 27 as part of the events at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor.

Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year) – Sasha Chmelevski, Ottawa 67’s:

Sasha Chmelevski earns OHL Scholastic Player of the Year honours achieving a 98% average across his six Grade 12 courses.  The 67’s forward studied British Literature, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Anatomy and Physiology, Probability and Statistics, Psychology, and Physical Education through Michigan’s Virtual Charter Academy.

“I’m very humbled and honoured to win the Bobby Smith Award,” said Chmelevski. “I would like to thank my family, my school and teachers, our academic advisor and the Ottawa 67’s organization for allowing me to receive an education while playing hockey.”

The 17-year-old from Northville, Michigan, scored 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 58 games played during his first full season in the nation’s capital.  The first round pick of the Sarnia Sting in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection joined the 67’s midway through last season and is now among the top OHL players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft listed 43rd among North American players by NHL Central Scouting.  Last season he was a finalist for the Ivan Tennant Award for Top High School Student.

“Sasha embodies the true meaning of dedication to hockey and academics,” said 67’s Academic Advisor Eileen Duffin. “He approaches his studies as a mature, disciplined and self-motivated student. An American player who wanted to complete his high school studies with a Michigan State Diploma, Sasha took advantage of the opportunity to take online university level courses and completed his Diploma almost a term earlier than his peers. Few players can manage to work as independently as Sasha does with a regular daily schedule at home or on the road. His post-secondary goals are lofty, as he investigates studying medicine or optometry, all dependent on his equally lofty hockey goals.”

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.  First presented in 1980, Chmelevski is the fourth member of the 67’s following Doug Smith (1980-81), Ryan Kuwabara (1989-90), and Danny Battochio (2005-06) to claim the award named after one of their own.  Past winners also include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), back-to-back recipient Connor McDavid (Erie 2014-15), and Nicolas Hague (Mississauga 2016).

Finalists for the award include fellow 2017 NHL Draft prospects Alex Formenton of the London Knights and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67's. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Post-Secondary Student) – Stephen Gibson, Mississauga Steelheads:

Stephen Gibson is a Ryerson University student excelling in Business courses that include Human Resources Management, Intro to Financial Accounting, Principles of Marketing, and Microeconomics.  This marks the second straight season the Top Post-Secondary Student is also a member of the Steelheads as Gibson follows former teammate Damian Bourne who earned the award in 2015-16.

“I am honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Roger Neilson Award,” said Gibson. “I value the importance of education, and the Ontario Hockey League allows me to achieve this, while pursuing my goal of playing pro hockey. I’d like to thank the Steelheads organization and academic support staff, including academic advisor Lauren Wilson, for helping me coordinate my classes and exams in consideration of my rigorous hockey schedule.”

The 20-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., is playing in his third full season with the Steelheads who chose him in the seventh round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection.  On the ice the defenceman contributed three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 65 games for the Central Division champions.

“Awards like these reflect positively on the strides that our academic program has taken over the past few seasons,” said Steelheads Assistant General Manager Jan Egert. “It’s a great honour for players like Stephen Gibson and Damian Bourne to be rewarded for their academic achievements, and for players who take education while playing in the OHL very seriously to be recognized. There is no shortage of candidates on our hockey club that deserve recognition for their post-secondary academic achievements this season, including players like Jacob Ramalho, Austin Osmanski, Marcus Dickerson, and Nicolas Hague.”

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.  First presented in 2005, past recipients include two-time winners Danny Battochio (Ottawa 2005-06) and Derek Lanoue (Windsor 2010-11), followed by Kyle Pereira (Guelph 2012), Daniel Altshuller (Oshawa 2013), Patrick Watling (Sault Ste. Marie 2014), and Justin Nichols (Guelph 2015).

Finalists for the award include Jacob Golden of the London Knights, and Austin Hall of the Guelph Storm for the second straight season.

Ivan Tennant Memorial Award (Top Academic High School Student) – Quinn Hanna, Guelph Storm:

Guelph Storm rookie Quinn Hanna achieved a 96% average during the 2016-17 academic year with a full six-course Grade 12 workload at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School where he studied University English, University Physics, University Biology, Religious Education, University Calculus and Vectors, and University Chemistry.

“It’s a huge honour to win this year’s Ivan Tennant Academic Award,” said Hanna. “I was very fortunate to have such a supportive group of people surrounding me this year with the Guelph Storm including Mike Kelly and academic advisor Coleen Driscoll. The list goes on and includes my teammates, coaches, billets and teachers. I can’t thank them enough for the time and energy they put into helping me pursue my academic goals this year.”

The 18-year-old from Peterborough, Ont., was chosen by the Storm in the fifth round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.  The defenceman played in 37 games this season with four points including his first career goal scored on February 10 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

“Quinn is simply an exceptional student athlete,” said Storm Academic Advisor Coleen Driscoll. “He is conscientious, dedicated and a very bright young man. This commitment to his academics has enabled him to continue to achieve incredible success in the classroom carrying one of the most demanding course loads for any high school student. Quinn has dedicated himself to his studies, holding himself to an extremely high standard, while effectively balancing his hockey commitments. He is currently considering post-secondary studies in Biomedical Engineering but is also entertaining studies in Astrophysics in the future.  Regardless of his program of study, I have no doubt his level of excellence will be maintained.”

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.  First presented in 2005, Hanna is the second member of the Storm to receive the award following Adam Craievich in 2014.  Past recipients also include brothers Matt and Adam Pelech (Sarnia 2005 and Erie 2012), Freddie and Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2009 and 2010), and recent winners Stephen Dhillon (Niagara 2015) and Kyle Keyser (Flint 2016).

Finalists for the award include Colton Incze of the Niagara IceDogs, along with Cade Robinson of the Erie Otters and Dennis Busby of the Flint Firebirds.

All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2016-17 OHL Scholastic Team:

2016-17 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Kyle Heitzner
Erie Otters – Alex DeBrincat
Flint Firebirds – Ty Dellandrea
Guelph Storm – Nate Schnarr
Hamilton Bulldogs – Matthew Strome*
Kingston Frontenacs – Brett Neumann
Kitchener Rangers – Riley Damiani
London Knights – Alex Formenton
Mississauga Steelheads – Nicolas Hague*
Niagara IceDogs – Ben Jones
North Bay Battalion – Adam McMaster
Oshawa Generals – Kyle Keyser*
Ottawa 67’s – Sasha Chmelevski
Owen Sound Attack – Nick Suzuki
Peterborough Petes – Zach Gallant*
Saginaw Spirit – Damien Giroux
Sarnia Sting – Ryan McGregor
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Conor Timmins*
Sudbury Wolves – Owen Lalonde
Windsor Spitfires – Michael DiPietro*

*member of 2015-16 OHL Scholastic Team

Best of Both Worlds

OHL Announces Academic Players of the Month for February

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the OHL Academic Players of the Month for February 2017, including Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s, Reagan O’Grady of the Sudbury Wolves, Evan Bouchard of the London Knights and Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.


East Division: For the second time in his OHL career, Ottawa 67’s forward Sasha Chmelevski has earned Academic Player of the Month honours, claiming East Division recognition for the month of February. A native of Northville, Mich., Chmelevski holds a 96% average in Grade 12 Statistics and Probability, British Literature, Anatomy and Physiology, Marketing and Psychology courses. “Sasha approaches his studies as a mature, disciplined, and self-motivated student, who works hard to balance the demands of school and hockey,” said 67’s Academic Advisor Eileen Duffin. The 2017 NHL Draft prospect sits fourth in OHL scoring with 19 goals, 21 assists and 40 points over 49 games. He represented Team Orr in the 2017 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, scoring a goal in Quebec City and also represented the United States at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this past summer, recording four goals and five assists in four contests. Chmelevski was Sarnia’s first round (10th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.

Central Division: Third-year defenceman Reagan O’Grady of the Sudbury Wolves is the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for February. The 18-year-old Lindsay, Ont. native holds an 81% average in Grade 12 University level courses at Lasalle Secondary School and is set to begin University in September. In 56 games this season, the draft eligible blueliner has four goals, 10 assists and 14 points. O’Grady was originally Kingston’s first round (15th overall) pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets.

Midwest Division: Sophomore defenceman Evan Bouchard of the London Knights is the OHL Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for February. The Oakville, Ont. native is maintaining a 93% average in Grade 12 University level studies at Blyth Academy. “Evan’s success this year can be credited to his positive attitude and work ethic,” said Knights Academic Advisor Trish Hurley. “He exemplifies the OHL policy of ‘providing the best of both worlds’ with regard to academics and hockey.” Bouchard is the Sports Representative on Blyth Academy’s Student Council and is involved with clubs within the school community. He has helped organize multiple fundraisers since the start of the school year including an initiative for Sick Kids Hospital. Bouchard has nine goals, 25 assists and 34 points to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-29 in 59 contests this season. He was London’s first round (17th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection and won’t be eligible for the NHL Draft until 2018.

West Division: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds rookie Barrett Hayton is the OHL West Division Academic Player of the Month. The Peterborough, Ont. native has an overall average of 85% in Grade 11 University level Mathematics, English, Science and Physical Education programs at Superior Heights Secondary School. “Barrett is a great example of how a student-athlete with the Greyhounds can achieve success both on the ice and in the classroom,” said Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis. Hayton has seven goals, 13 assists and 20 points in 54 games with the Hounds this season and represented Team Canada White at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, recording a goal and an assist in six games. He was Sault Ste. Marie’s first round (9th overall) pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Red Wings Minor Midgets.

2016-17 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

East Division:
February – Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 67’s)
January – William Ennis (Oshawa Generals)
December – Nathan Dunkley (Kingston Frontenacs)
November – Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Zach Gallant (Peterborough Petes)

Central Division:
February – Reagan O’Grady (Sudbury Wolves)
January – Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs)
December – Adam McMaster (North Bay Battalion)
November – Kyle Heitzner (Barrie Colts)
October – Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads)

Midwest Division:
February – Evan Bouchard (London Knights)
January – Luke Richardson (Kitchener Rangers)
December – Nick Deakin-Poot (Guelph Storm)
November – Cade Robinson (Erie Otters)
October – Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)

 West Division:
February – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
January – Ryan McGregor (Sarnia Sting)
December – Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Hunter Holmes (Flint Firebirds)
October – Cole Purboo (Windsor Spitfires)

During the 2015-16 season, the OHL centrally administered Scholarship Program facilitated scholarships for 315 OHL graduates attending 57 different academic institutions with a total scholarship payment in excess of $2.9 million.  Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

Sasha Chmelevski – Ottawa 67’s – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 186 pounds

Date of birth: June 9, 1999

Hometown:  Northville, MI

Position:  Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 10 overall (Sarnia) 2015 Priority Selection

Born in California and moving to Northville Michigan before becoming a teenager, Sasha Chmelevski is of Ukrainian decent and holds dual citizenship. Chmelevski was involved in some of the finest hockey programs in Michigan. He is a graduate of the Honeybaked Under-16 squad where he notched 10 goals and 14 assists in 25 games during the 2014-2015 season and becoming the 10th overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection by the Sarnia Sting.

After an excellent start for the Sting in which he potted 9 goals and 8 assists in 29 games, Chmelevski was involved in a blockbuster trade that sent OHL star Travis Konecney to the Sting. He would add 2 goals in 5 games for the 67’s. An injury in a game versus the Peterborough Petes in which a hit into the boards broke his collarbone ended his season prematurely.

Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67's. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

The season also saw Chmelevski play in the U.S. Development Program where he had 2 goals and 3 assists in 6 games for the U.S. Under-17 National Team. He also Played for the Americans at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. He scored twice and added two assists for the Americans at the International Tournament.

Chmelevski began this season in August with a superb performance at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. There, Chmelevski scored four goals and nine points in just 4 games. Carrying that performance into the OHL season would be paramount for him entering his draft season.

In his first 29 games of the season, Chmelevski has 14 goals and 11 assists. Eight of those goals have come with the 67’s having the man advantage. He’s been very good on the faceoff dot at 55.5% and is converting his shots into goals 16.3% of the time.

Chmelevski is a speedy pivot who is at his best with the puck on his stick. He’s not afraid to, and will, take on defenders one-on-one and will more often than not beat those defenders. Chmelevski has a good shot with a very good release and possesses a shoot first mentality but he also a more than capable playmaker.

Chmelevski has very high hockey senses and thinks the game incredibly well and quickly. Combined with his speed and shot, it can prove to be deadly for the opposition. But he will need to put those assets to use on a more consistent basis. That will improve in time.

Where Chmelevski needs to improve is when the puck is not on his stick. Whether its competing for pucks are being stronger on the forecheck, it’s an area to be worked on. There are times he’s waiting for the play to come to him instead of trying to force the play.

The injury bug has once again reared its ugly head, and Chmelevski has played just two games in the month of December, sidelined indefinitely with the dreaded upper body injury. 

Alexander Chmelevski


USA Names Roster for the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament takes place from August 8 to August 15 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava Slovakia and is is the precursor to the start of the season for players eligible for the 2017 National Hockey League Draft.

The 2016 Tournament will be the 26th edition. It began in 1991 and has had a variety of different names over the years, but after the passing of Czech hockey great Ivan Hlinka, the Tournament was named after him in 2007.

Canada has won gold for 8 consecutive years now and for the 20th time in the 25 year history of the Tournament.

The United States has named it’s roster for the 2016 edition and it includes three players from the Ontario Hockey League: Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67’s, Ivan Lodnia of the Erie Otters and Dylan Seitz of the Kitchener Rangers.

All Team USA players are eligible for the 2017 NHL draft with Clayton Phillips and Matt Miller making the cut by 6 and 11 days respectively.

Here is the Team USA Roster

Player Pos League College
Keith Petruzzelli G USHL Quinnipiac
Cayden Primeau G USHL Northeastern
Mikey Anderson D USHL Minnesota-Duluth
Ronald Brickey D USHL Western Michigan
Tyler Inamoto D USHL Wisconsin
Joey Keane D USHL Miami
Tommy Miller D USHL Michigan State
Ben Mirageas D USHL Providence
Clayton Phillips D USHL Minnesota
Reilly Walsh D USHL Harvard
Sasha Chmelevski F OHL
Evan Dougherty F USHL Bowling Green
Charlie Dovorany F USHL Minnesota-Duluth
Mark Kastelic F WHL
Ivan Lodnia F OHL
Brannon McManus F USHL Minnesota
Mick Messner F USHL Wisconsin
Matt Miller F T1EHL Michigan State
Ryan Poehling F NCHC St Cloud State
Austin Pratt F WHL
Dylan Seitz F OHL