The Punkari Brothers Preview The 2017 Road To The Roar

Brett Says: Well it’s that time again where the four year cycle comes to an end and the top teams in Canada fight it out to represent their country at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.. We kick things off with the Road to the Roar where 14 men’s and women’s teams get one last shot at one of two spots in the Olympic Trials. The format for this preview will cover the Favourites, Darkhorses, Wildcards and teams that well….I guess rather be at the patch?

Lucas Says: Whoever decided that viewers only wanted to see the playoff games on TSN this weekends needs to be hit with a wet salmon. Anyways, as you will see with this field in both divisions, there’s a number of rinks that can end up anywhere in the overall standings when the event concludes Sunday.

Women’s Event

Brett’s Favourites

Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)

Widely considered to be the second best team in Manitoba, Einarson has steadily rose up the curling ranks over the last two years, as she has won two Grand Slam events and finished fourth in her first trip to the Scotties in 2016. Last year’s provincials didn’t go very well at all as she missed the playoffs, but if Einarson has consistent play this rink should be a potential lock to make her first Olympics trials. Now if only she could beat Jennifer Jones somehow.

Krista McCarville (Northern Ontario)

After being away from the national scene for a few years, Krista McCarville has brought Northern Ontario women’s curling to new heights after a second and fourth place finishes at the last two Scotties. Having finished third at the 2009 Olympic Trials, McCarville has a great chance to return to that event if the front end of Sarah Potts and Ashley Sippala can play well.

Lucas’s Favourites

Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)

Given her recent form over the past couple of years, especially on the Grand Slam scene, the Einarson rink should make it into the Trials with ease. If they get there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sneak into the playoff discussion given how topsy-turvy the women’s scene is at the moment.

Krista McCarville (Northern Ontario)

Okay so our pick of her winning the Scotties last year didn’t go as planned, but the Thunder Bay group has been in the mix at every event they’ve been in for the last couple of years despite playing on a limited basis. Doubt them at your own peril as they might be able to get into the finals in Ottawa if they gab nab one of the two spots in Summerside this weekend.

Brett’s Darkhorses

Tracy Fleury (Northern Ontario)

Besides becoming the first team to represent Northern Ontario at the Scotties in 2015, Tracy Fleury has been a bit hot and cold over the last couple of years. Since acquiring Crystal Webster the team has gone to a five person rotation, and while they did make a Grand Slam final two years ago where they lost to Rachel Homan, they’ve had some mostly mediocre showings since then and haven’t been able to get back to the Scotties. Fleury has been in the pre-trials before and they are in the mix again here, though she might have been a potential favourite if it wasn’t for the inconsistent play.

teamharrison

Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)

Over the last couple of years, this rink has risen through the ranks in Ontario to steadily become one of the better teams in the province. Last season, Harrison captured her first Grand Slam title by beating Krista McCarville in the Tier II Tour Challenge and was in the mix to win a provincial crown. She should be in the mix once again this week and could knock off one of the favourites.

Shannon Kleibrink (Alberta)

Last year was pretty much a revival of sorts for Shannon Kleibrink as she upset Val Sweeting to make the Scotties, although she was sidelined for most of the week with back problems and Heather Nedohin stepped in to skip the team. This year, she has brought in former Canadian Mixed Doubles champion Kalynn Park at the second postion which should help things a little. As former Olympic trials champion and a finalist on two other occasions, Kleibrink has the experience to help this rink get in the mix.

Lucas’s Darkhorses

Tracy With Gates

Tracy Fleury (Northern Ontario)

Having just missed out on qualifying for the main trials, Fleury’s Sudbury rink entered the season as one of my favourites to advance out of Summerside along with her provincial rival McCarville. Now while she’s probably been passed by Einarson given the Manitoba’s squad strong start to the year, this is a team that can be in the mix if everything goes well. Plus who doesn’t love Amanda Gates.

Jacquelin Harrison

Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)

Given her strong season last year, which saw her make the playoffs at a few Slams and pick up a few wins over Rachel Homan, Harrison is one of those rinks that is sliding in under the radar but isn’t talked about a lot for whatever reason. A good showing this week might change that, along with a possible Scotties trip later this year.

Kelsey Rocque

Kelsey Rocque (Alberta)

This is a rink that is due for a breakout performance and it might happen this week. Given the talent they have and the experience Kelsey and her team have gained over the last couple of seasons, a playoff trip isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Brett’s Wildcards

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Shannon Birchard (Manitoba)

A two time Canadian Junior runner-up Shannon Birchard has been giving some of the bigger teams in Manitoba fits, especially with a semifinal trip in 2016. I expect her to push a lot of the top teams here this week and make a run at the Scotties in the near future, especially as everything changes in Manitoba once Jennifer Jones moves on.

teammeilleur

Brianne Meilleur (Manitoba)

One of the young teams who have been around the WCT circuit for a while, Meilleur has been in the mix at the Manitoba Scotties recently and almost got into the tiebreaker mix last year. This team is kind of in the same situation as Shannon Birchard and Kelsey Roqcue, though their probably isn’t as much pressure on them as some of the other rinks. Plus, BJ Neufeld is their coach, so that’s cool.

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Sherry Middaugh (Ontario)

For a team that has had a ton of experience at big events, including a runner-up finish at the 2013 Olympic Trials, this is probably their last gasp at making the Olympics. Their play at the Grand Slams this year hasn’t been great, as they have a 1-7 record through two events and a few blowout losses. They have a chance to be in the mix here, but it’s hard to see them going much farther.

teamrocque

Kelsey Rocque (Alberta)

Let’s be honest, the first two seasons on the World Curling Tour have been rough for the former two time Canadian and World Junior champion. Personally, I think this team is going to use this experience to start their run towards the 2022 Olympics as their is a lot of talent and potential in this squad. A playoff berth this week isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.

teamtippin

Julie Tippin (Ontario)

Julie Tippin has pretty much been, dare I say, the walking mediocrity of Ontario women’s contenders, even though she’s made the last two provincial playdowns. Granted, she’s started to play in more Grand Slam events and made it to the tiebreaker at the Tier II Tour Challenge in September where she lost to Eve Muirhead, so she might make some noise in the future. However, it’s hard to tell at this point.

Lucas’s Wildcards

Shannon Birchard

Shannon Birchard (Manitoba)

One of the skips to watch for the next Olympic cycle, Birchard has been in the mix in Manitoba for the last couple of years and could be one of those breakout rinks in the coming years. It probably won’t be this week for the mixed doubles partner of Jason Gunnlaugson, but a standout showing is coming.

Shit Balls and Shannon

Shannon Kleibrink (Alberta)

Now if Heather ‘Shitballs’ Nedohin had been a part of this rink, I’d probably pick them to win the whole thing, but alas she’s not here. Given Shannon’s success in other trial runs, it’s not that crazy to think that she could be one of the playoff teams this weekend, even if she hasn’t curled in a lot of major events besides last year’s Scotties.

Briane Meilleur

Brianne Meilleur (Manitoba)

Like Shannon Birchard, Meilleur is another one of those young Manitoba rinks that are in the mid-level of the provincial scene but will probably be a contender in the next few years. I don’t see that jump happening this week, but she will pull off a few upsets in the round-robin.

Sherry Middaugh

Sherry Middaugh (Ontario)

It feels odd to put the 2013 Trials runner-up in this spot, but it feels like Middaugh has fallen well back of the rest of the pack on the women’s scene. I mean, she’ll probably have a good week in Summerside, but I don’t think she would be in the mix in Ottawa next month against a stronger field.

Brett’s #Patch Teams

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Theresa Breen (Nova Scotia)

So how does a team who has not made the Scotties out of Nova Scotia the last three years make the pre-trials? When you look deeper Theresa Breen has been to three Scotties as a member of Anne Merklinger’s rink and she made the Nova Scotia provincial final in 2015. With that said, how did Jill Brothers not get a spot in here.

teamrobertson

Darcy Robertson (Manitoba)

Let’s be honest, the only reason Robertson is in a pre-trials spot was due to her shocking run at last year’s Manitoba Provincials, where she not only obliterated Kerri Einarson in a tie-breaker but also pulled a gigantic upset over Jennifer Jones in the semis. Like Breen, Robertson has a lot of Scotties experience in the past but with limited success, so don’t expect much.

teamscotland

Nadine Scotland (Alberta)

They have sponsorship from Audi and Rebecca Konschuh from the old Jocelyn Peterman junior championship rink is on the team. However, this Alberta team hasn’t done a lot over the lats couple of years so they might be in tough here.

teamthompsonKarla Thompson (British Columbia)

If you recall her first trip to the Scotties, Thompson got off to a bad start with lose to Nunavut in the pre-qualfying round but she bounced to keep British Columbia in the main event. She’s made a strong addition to her lineup with Shannon ‘Crooked Neck’ Jonaisse this year, and this rink could be a wildcard if everything goes right for them this week, but I wouldn’t hold my breath about it.

Lucas’s #Patch Teams

Theresae Breen

Theresa Breen (Nova Scotia)

I mean it’s an East Coast team so they’ll get supporters that way, but I’m not expecting a lot of a rink that hasn’t really done a ton over the last three years. To me, it’s just filling out the numbers and I’m still wondering how Jill Brothers missed out like Brett is.

Darcy Robertson

Darcy Robertson (Manitoba)

Given what she did in her upset-filled run to the Manitoba provincial final last year, Robertson will surprise a few rinks I’m sure this week, but I can’t see her being in the playoff mix given how strong the field is.

Nadine Scotland

Nadine Scotland (Alberta)

When you curl in a strong province like this one, it’s hard to get a chance to break through against strong fields unless everything goes right. Unless a lot of teams change lineups over the next calendar year, I feel like Scotland falls into this category.

2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Karla Thompson (British Columbia)

Given the tough spot the province is in since Kelly Scott left the competitive scene, Thompson is the best rink in British Columbia right now but might be a mid-level rink at best on this scale. I feel like this province is just waiting for either Corryn Brown and the Van Osch’s to break through nationally before becoming a true contender again.

Julie Tippin

Julie Tippin (Ontario)

A playoff run might be too much to ask for this rink, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tippin’s squad ends up in the mix in the coming years as they play in more Grand Slam events and provincial playdowns.

Men’s Event

Brett’s Favourites

teambottcher

Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)

Brendan Bottcher was a player that a lot of people kept an eye on after winning two Canadian Junior titles earlier this decade, and he’s been getting better each yaer. He made a couple of Grand Slam playoff runs in 2016 and made it to the Brier last year after Darren Moulding replaced Pat Simmons just before the provincials at third. I think he’ll be a main threat in the Trials in the next four-year cycle, but he could surprise this year’s field if he is able to make it to Ottawa.

teamgunn

Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)

#BeAGunner (Someone needs to make that a trending topic on Twitter.) Anyway, the king of bombs and smashing rocks has returned to the mix after jumping around from team to team over the last few years. He’s taken full advantage of his chances this year with a win at the Tier II Tour Challenge and a quarter-final run at the Masters. Gunner’s always been a crowd favourite with his giant hitting ability and he should make some more fans this week with a great chance to return to the Trials after his surprise run in 2009.

teammorris

John Morris (British Columbia)

Johnny Mo has been back with Jim Cotter for the last couple of years now, and while they haven’t been quite as good as they were in their Trials and Brier run in 2013 and 2014, they did win the Elite 10 event last spring on the Grand Slam circuit. This season, there’s been a lineup change with Catlin Schneider joining the rink at second and Tyrell Griffith moving down to lead. Even with those differences, this probably the best bet to make the Trials, though may not be quite as strong as they were when they lost to Brad Jacobs in the 2013 final.

Lucas’s Favourites

Brendan Bottcher

Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)

With a Brier trip under his belt, the former Canadian junior champion is on the verge of becoming a legit contender. That will probably happen in the next Olympic cycle once everyone changes rinks, but a trip to Ottawa might accelerate that process if Bottcher has a good week in Summerside.

Be A Gunner

Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)

A national hero, well for me at least, the man with the biggest takeout weight in all of curling and one of my all-time favourites is having a strong campaign to start this season. As a result, he has a legit chance to be in the mix not only for an Olympic Trials spot but to maybe win the Manitoba playdowns depending on what happens in the coming months.

John MOrris

John Morris (British Columbia)

Sure the return with Cotter hasn’t been as successful as there’s first go-around together, but it’s Johnny Mo. He’s always solid when it comes to these events and I penciled him right away as one of the teams to make the Trials, where a really good field puts him as a darkhorse to contend once again.

Brett’s Darkhorses

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Greg Balsdon (Ontario)

After stunning Glenn Howard in the 2014 Ontario men’s provincials to make his first Brier appearance, we have not heard a whole lot from Greg Balsdon as he’s made quite a few lineup changes since then. He might be a bit more of a wildcard than a darkhorse, but he has had previous pre-trials experience including a come from behind victory over Brad Jacobs when he was down 8-3 back in 2013.

teamhoward

Glenn Howard (Ontario)

For the first time in his career, Glenn Howard will be in the situation of playing in the pre-trials in what will be his final kick at the can of making the Olympics. He has a pretty good lineup, even with Richard Hart out with an injury and Adam Spencer stepping in, and he has a good chance of making some noise. Maybe he can catch some of the old magic that led him to two Brier titles as a skip yet again.

teammenard

Jean-Michel Menard (Quebec)

So besides all of those trips to the Brier, Menard has not done a lot on the tour circuit over the years. However, we all know that he’s always a tough team to play against on the national stage. If he gets off to a strong start this week, he’s got a good shot of making it to the Olympic Trials in what might be his last run at it.

teamsimmons

Pat Simmons (Alberta)

Pat is now on his third different team in as many years, and he’s inherited a pretty good young Manitoba rink by joining up with Matt Dunstone’s old squad that made it the provincial finals in 2016 just weeks after winning the Canadian Junior title. Pat’s previous experience should help these guys out a ton, especially with a young group of curlers that can throw some big weight.

Lucas’s Darkhorses

Jean Michel Maneard

Jean-Michel Menard (Quebec)

A threat whenever he plays at the Brier, Menard might be in the mix here this week if everything goes right. A key will be a good start though, as it might be hard to make ground in the pool process.

2015, Halifax N.S. Ford Men's World Curling Championship, Canada skip Pat Simmons, Curling Canada/michael burns photo

Pat Simmons (Manitoba)

With Matt Dunstone moving on to join Steve Laycock’s rink, the former Brier champ has moved into a good situation with a young trio of talented hard throwing players. With the veteran presence, they should be in the mix this week to be in the playoffs.

Charley Thomas

Charley Thomas (Alberta)

Maybe it’s me, but I feel like Charley is super under the radar coming into this weekend. Sure, he hasn’t been in the mix for major event titles like his competitors, but Thomas is always solid and he has a good team around him. Doubt the former Junior star at your own peril.

Brett’s Wildcards

teamcasey

Adam Casey (Saskatchewan)

After leaving PEI in 2016, Casey took over skipping duties in Saskatchewan and it turned off with a beating of Steve Laycock in the provincial finals and a 5-6 finish at the Brier as he took over a Shawn Meachem rink that had been in the mix the last few years. There is a lineup change with Brock Montogomery coming in to replace Catlin Schneider at third, so it’s hard to say how things will go.

teamflasch

Colton Flasch (Saskatchewan)

Following their provincial final loss to Adam Casey, their was a switch to Steve Laycock’s squad as Colton Flasch left the rink and was replaced by Matt Dunstone. Now a skip, Flasch has done a pretty decent job so far picking up he’s won an event and played in the Tier II Tour Challenge. It’s hard to say how he’ll fair here, but I’m sure there would be lots of hype if he somehow faced his old team at the Trials.

teamlyburn

William Lyburn (Manitoba)

William Lyburn is another one of those skips that is always giving the big teams in Manitoba fits, but isn’t quite on the same level as a Reid Carruthers or a Mike McEwen. He did make it to the Tier II Tour Challenge final earlier this year where he lost to Gunner, so there’s a chance for him to surprise this week.

teammurphy

Jamie Murphy (Nova Scotia)

Besides Brad Gushue because of obvious reasons, Jamie Murphy is the top team in the Maritimes at the moment with a couple of decent Brier showings over the last couple of years. Paul Flemming has joined the squad this year to add some veteran depth, and I think this will help them to some degree.

teamthomas

Charley Thomas (Alberta)

It seemed like at the beginning of last year, Thomas was finally starting to turn the corner on the men’s circuit but he hasn’t really done a lot since then. Plus, with Craig Savill leaving the rink after last year, it feels like he’s been dealt a big blow lineup wise in addition to missing out on the playoffs at all of the event he’s been at lately.

Lucas’s Darkhorses

Greg Baldson

Greg Balsdon (Ontario)

Ever changing lineup aside, Baldson is one of the guys that will also present a tough challenge at any event. He may not make the playoffs this weekend, but he will be in the mix.

Adam Casey

Adam Casey (Saskatchewan)

With a great group of curlers on his side and some good shot making ability, Casey is one of those guys that will be in the mix for years to come out West. A good showing this week will probably help him in an always stout provincial field later this year as everyone will be trying to stop him from making a second straight Brier trip.

Glenn Howard

Glenn Howard (Ontario)

I mean, he’ll probably beat John Epping in the provincial finals again, but it’s hard for me seeing Howard being a legit threat in this event given not so great Grand Slam showings over the last couple of years. He will be at the Olympics though either way as the coach for Eve Muirhead.

William Lyburn

William Lyburn (Manitoba)

Brett said this already, but Lyburn’s a solid skip and has a good team that has yet to break through in Manitoba. Don’t be surprised if he becomes more of a threat in the coming years.

Brett’s #Patch Teams

teambice

Mark Bice (Ontario)

Bice made the Brier in 2014 with Greg Baldson and is now pretty much skipping that former Ontario championship rink after some lineup changes. We haven’t heard a lot from them recently, but they are always in the mix come playoff time.

teamderuelle

Danya Deruelle (Ontario)

Last year was technically Deruelle’s best year as he rose to 16th in the CTRS rankings. Other than that though, I can honestly say I’m not expecting much from this team.

Lucas’s #Patch Teams

Mark Bice

Mark Bice (Ontario)

Nothing against Bice, but I don’t think the depth in the Ontario’s men side is all that great at the moment and that might be tough to deal with at a strong field like this one.

Dayna Dereuelle

Danya Deruelle (Ontario)

Please see my previous statement.

Colton Flasch

Colton Flasch (Saskatchewan)

It’s odd to not see Flasch with the Laycock rink, but he’s in a good situation with the old member of Bruce Korte’s squad. It’s a young team so this will be a learning week for them, but they might be in the mix in Saskatchewan this year in the provincial playdowns.

Jamie Murphy

Jamie Murphy (Nova Scotia)

Jamie’s a solid skip and his rink will play well at the Brier, but it’s hard to see him being a legit threat at a field like this. With the said, being one of the East Coast sides should give him some support to build off of from the fans.

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The 2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards Results

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As we reached that quiet time between the CHL Import Draft and the Ivan Hlinka, I figured now would be a good opportunity to share the results from this year’s voting for The Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards, which featured a lot of interesting results.

Before we get to the results, let’s meet the rest of this year’s voters, besides those of you who voted in the online poll and myself.

  • Brad Coccimiglio – Sports reporter for Village Media and beat writer for the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
  • Brett Punkari – My brother and supporter of every team that’s not Canada at the World Juniors
  • Chris McLeod – Play-by-play announcer for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires on TV Cogeco
  • Cody Buhler – Play-by-play announcer for the MJHL’s Portage Terriers
  • Joey Payeur – Sports reporter for the Fort Frances Times and beat writer for the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers
  • Les Lazaruk – Play-by-play announcer for the Saskatoon Blades
  • Michael Oleksyn – Sports reporter for the Melfort Journal and beat writer for the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs
  • Marc Smith – Sports reporter for Golden West Radio and beat writer for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors
  • Mike Stubbs – Play-by-play announcer for the OHL’s London Knights
  • Nathan Kanter – Play-by-play announcer for the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars
  • Pete Krupsky – Play-by-play announcer for the US NTDP
  • Phil Heilman – Friend of the show and man about town in the Battlefords
  • Robert Murray – Sports reporter for Fort McMurray Today and beat writer for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons

As ever, a big thanks to everyone who sent their ballot along. Now let’s meet this year’s winners.

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Forward of the Year – Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters)

DeBrincat has always been a dominant goal scorer, but he took it to a completely different level this past season by putting home 65 goals. He may not have made the American World Junior team, but winning a OHL title, being named CHL Player of the Year and becoming the first player since Dale McCourt to score 50 more goals in three straight seasons should make up for that. It will be interesting to see how his game transfers to the pro level as he joins the Chicago Blackhawks system this fall.

  1. Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters) – 91 votes
  2. Sam Steel (Regina Pats) – 65 votes
  3. Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) – 60 votes
  4. Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 37 votes
  5. Dylan Strome (Erie Otters) – 35 votes
  6. Adam Brooks (Regina Pats) – 33 votes
  7. Tyler Wong (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – 30 votes
  8. Coby Downs (Battlefords North Stars) – 24 votes
  9. Jeremey Leipsic (Portage Terriers) – 18 votes
  10. Jayden Halbgewachs (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 9 votes
  11. Zach Aston-Reese (Northeastern Huskies) – 8 votes
  12. Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie High School) – 8 votes
  13. Jordan Kawaguchi (Chilliwack Chiefs) – 8 votes
  14. Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters) – 7 votes
  15. Joel Caron (Granby Inouk) – 4 votes
  16. Brendan Harris (Wenatchee Wild) – 4 votes
  17. Eduards Tralmaks (Chicago Steel) – 4 votes
  18. Jack Jacome (Georgetown Raiders) – 2 votes

Cake Maker

Defenceman of the Year – Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits)

There’s probably a lot of people that have never seen Makar play, even though he was just picked fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche at the NHL Draft. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to see him play in person, I can tell you that having watched him during every game of the Western Canada Cup that Makar was an absolute pleasure to see play and was the most exciting player from this year’s draft class in my opinion. I’m not sure yet how he’ll play at UMass, but his highlights from this past season are well worth looking up online.

  1. Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits) – 97 votes
  2. Thomas Chabot (Saint John Sea Dogs) – 82 votes
  3. Darren Raddysh (Erie Otters) – 71 votes
  4. Ethan Bear (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 51 votes
  5. Connor Hobbs (Regina Pats) – 40 votes
  6. Will Butcher (Denver Pioneers) – 38 votes
  7. Santino Centorame (Owen Sound Attack) – 20 votes
  8. Jordan Murray (UNB Varsity Reds) – 10 votes
  9. Samuel Girard (Shawinigan Cataractes) – 9 votes
  10. Connor Mackey (Green Bay Gamblers) – 9 votes
  11. Eric Sinclair (Flin Flon Bombers) – 8 votes
  12. Brendan Guhle (Prince George Cougars) – 6 votes
  13. TJ Melancon (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada) – 5 votes
  14. Jake Stevens (Victoria Grizzlies) – 5 votes

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Goaltender of the Year – Tyler Parsons (London Knights)

Tyler had an excellent final season in the OHL for the Knights. Not only did he win a gold medal at the World Juniors with the United States, but he was sublime in the playoffs as he helped his team beat the Windsor Spitfires and pushed the eventual champion Erie Otters to the limit. If it wasn’t for his play, the Knights would have been nowhere close to being in that situation. His next stop is the Calgary Flames system, while the runner-up in this year’s voting (Michael DiPietro) will more than likely be the favorite to win this award as he heads into his third season with the Windsor Spitfires.

  1. Tyler Parsons (London Knights) – 66 votes
  2. Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires) – 64 votes
  3. Michael McNiven (Owen Sound Attack) – 44 votes
  4. Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) – 43 votes
  5. Connor Ingram (Kamloops Blazers) – 31 votes
  6. Tanner Jaillet (Denver Pioneers) – 29 votes
  7. Taryn Kotchorek (Battlefords North Stars) – 26 votes
  8. Kristian Stead (Nipawin Hawks) – 24 votes
  9. Zach Sawchenko (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 22 votes
  10. Stefano Durante (Cobourg Cougars) – 17 votes
  11. Michael Bitzer (Bemidji State Beavers) – 14 votes
  12. Jordon Cooke (Sasakatchewan Huskies) – 13 votes
  13. Matiss Kivlenieks (Sioux City Musketeers) – 13 votes
  14. Nate McDonald (Powassan Voodoos) – 10 votes
  15. Chris Janzen (Trenton Golden Hawks) – 8 votes
  16. Mathew Robson (Penticton Vees) – 4 votes
  17. Mitchel Benson (Brooks Bandits) – 1 vote

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Rookie of the Year – Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads)

Hischier was highly touted coming out of Switzerland in the CHL Import Draft last season, but no one expected him to be picked ahead of Nolan Patrick and be the highest drafted player ever from his country in NHL Draft history when the year began. He’ll start the season in New Jersey, but if he ends up back in Halfax, the Mooseheads will become a legit contender to be at the Memorial Cup in Regina.

  1. Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) – 91 votes
  2. Clayton Keller (Boston Terriers) – 58 votes
  3. Andrei Svechnikov (Muskegon Lumberjacks) – 42 votes
  4. Carl Stankowski (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 36 votes
  5. Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos) – 32 votes
  6. Joel Grzybowski (Battlefords North Stars) – 29 votes
  7. Oliver Chau (Brooks Bandits) – 24 votes
  8. Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm) – 23 votes
  9. Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – 20 votes
  10. Adam Dawe (Notre Dame Hounds) – 18 votes
  11. Mareks Mitens (Aston Rebels) – 16 votes
  12. Adam Fox (Harvard Crimson) – 13 votes
  13. Jake Oettinger (Boston Terriers) – 11 votes
  14. Jett Woo (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 10 votes
  15. Trent Frederic (Wisconsin Badgers) – 8 votes
  16. Hunter Miska (Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs) – 7 votes
  17. Nate McDonald (Powassan Voodoos) – 3 votes

windsor-spitfires

Team of the Year – Windsor Spitfires (Memorial Cup Champions)

I’ll admit it’s a bit strange that a team that got knocked out in the first round of the OHL playoffs ended up being voted as the top squad of this past season, but when you beat the OHL, QMJHL and WHL champions on your way to a winning the Memorial Cup, that’s pretty hard to top. Although Windsor loses some top guys, their will still be some decent pieces returning next season so I don’t think there will be a huge drop-off like we’ve seen from other Memorial Cup winners.

  1. Windsor Spitfires (Memorial Cup Champions) – 60 votes
  2. Cobourg Cougars (RBC Cup Champions) – 46 votes
  3. United States Under-20 Team (World Junior Champions) – 45 votes
  4. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL Champions) – 39 votes
  5. Denver Pioneers (Frozen Four Champions) – 37 votes
  6. Brooks Bandits (AJHL and Western Canada Cup Champions) – 30 votes
  7. UNB Varsity Reds (University Cup Champions) – 30 votes
  8. Portage Terriers (MJHL Champions) – 20 votes
  9. Erie Otters (OHL Champions) – 17 votes
  10. United States Junior Select Team (World Junior A Challenge Champions) – 16 votes
  11. Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL Champions) – 15 votes
  12. Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL Champions) – 14 votes
  13. Czech Republic Under-18 Team (Ivan Hlinka Champions) – 10 votes
  14. United States Under-18 Team (World Under-18 Champions) – 10 votes
  15. Terrebonne Cobras (QJHL and Fred Page Cup Champions) – 8 votes
  16. Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL Runner-Up) – 7 votes
  17. Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL Champions) – 6 votes
  18. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL Champions) – 4 votes
  19. Chicago Steel (USHL Champions) – 3 votes
  20. Penticton Vees (BCHL Champions) – 3 votes
  21. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL Quarter-Finalist) – 3 votes

kris-knoblauch-aaron-bell-chl-images-2

Coach of the Year – Kris Knoblauch (Erie Otters)

Since he arrived in Erie, Knoblauch played a huge role in the Otters becoming one of the top teams in the country. Now granted, having Connor McDavid on the roster will help with that, but even with him gone Knoblauch’s side continued to run off 50 wins or more over the course of the last four seasons. He didn’t get a Memorial Cup crown, but now he’s off to the pros as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers in a well deserved promotion.

  1. Kris Knoblauch (Erie Otters) – 53 votes
  2. Nate Bedford (Battlefords North Stars) – 48 votes
  3. Ryan McGill (Owen Sound Attack) – 41 votes
  4. Rocky Thompson (Windsor Spitfires) – 39 votes
  5. Jim Montgomery (Denver Pioneers) – 35 votes
  6. Steve Konowalchuk (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 31 votes
  7. Tom Keca (Fort McMurray Oil Barons) – 30 votes
  8. Blake Spiller (Portage Terriers) – 29 votes
  9. John Druce (Cobourg Cougars) – 28 votes
  10. Ryan Papaioannou (Brooks Bandits) – 23 votes
  11. Kyle Brick (Blind River Beavers) – 21 votes
  12. Dan Muse (Chicago Steel) – 10 votes
  13. Danny Flynn (Saint John Sea Dogs) – 8 votes
  14. Manny Viveiros (Swift Current Broncos) – 7 votes
  15. Patrick Grandmaitre (Ottawa Gee-Gees) – 6 votes
  16. Dave Bracken (Belle River Nobles) – 5 votes
  17. Doug Johnson (Nipawin Hawks) – 5 votes
  18. Scott Wray (Powassan Voodoos) – 3 votes

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Game of the Year – Cobourg 3 Brooks 2 (RBC Cup Final)

Not only did this game feature a national championship game being decided in overtime, but Nick Minerva’s blast from the point sent the fans in Cobourg into a frenzy as their hometown team picked up their biggest win in franchise history. Coupled with the fact that the Cougars tied the the game late in the third and goaltender Stefano Durante had an incredible performance to stymie the Bandits shooters and help upset the top Junior A team in the country, this is a game that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

  1. Cobourg 3 Brooks 2 (RBC Cup Final – Overtime) – 57 votes
  2. Windsor 4 Erie 3 (Memorial Cup Final) – 56 votes
  3. Everett 3 Victoria 2 (WHL First Round Game  – Quintuple Overtime) – 50 votes
  4. United States 5 Canada 4 (World Juniors Gold Medal Game – Shootout) – 50 votes
  5. Erie 5 London 4 (OHL Quarter-Final Game 7 – Overtime) – 45 votes
  6. Swift Current 5 Regina 4 (WHL Quarter-Final Game 4 – Triple Overtime) – 24 votes
  7. Seattle 4 Regina 3 (WHL Final Game 6 – Overtime) – 23 votes
  8. Lethbridge 5 Medicine Hat 4 (WHL Quarter-Final Game 7 – Overtime) – 16 votes
  9. Penticton 1 Chilliwack 0 (BCHL Final Game 7 – Overtime) – 11 votes
  10. Cape Breton 5 St. Francois 4 (Telus Cup Final – Overtime) – 10 votes
  11. Chicago 2 Sioux City 1 (USHL Final Game 5 – Overtime) – 7 votes
  12. Olds 4 Canmore 3 (AJHL First Round Game 3 – Overtime) – 7 votes
  13. Boston 4 North Dakota 3 (Frozen Four First Round – Double Overtime) – 6 votes
  14. Minnesota-Duluth 2 Harvard 1 (Frozen Four Semi-Final) – 5 votes
  15. Erie 4 Mississauga 3 (OHL Final Game 5 – Overtime) – 3 votes
  16. Red Deer 4 Lethbridge 3 (WHL First Round Game 3 – Double Overtime) – 3 votes

The 2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards

CHLAwardsCover

So here we are once again.

With another junior and college hockey campaign in the record books, I’ve brought back The Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards for a second straight year.

As I did last summer, I’ve sent out a ballot to all of the guests that have been on the show over the past 12 months and I’m allowing you the listener to take part in the fun.

The seven awards you can vote for are as follows:

The plan is to keep the polls open until Friday, July 7 when I’ll start tabulating the votes from the public and guests and I’ll post the results online on Sunday, July 9 as we see who joins last year’s winners.

  • Forward Of The Year: Mitch Marner (London Knights)
  • Defenceman Of The Year: Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Goalie Of The Year: Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)
  • Rookie Of The Year: Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads)
  • Team Of The Year: London Knights (OHL & Memorial Cup Champions)
  • Coach Of The Year: Jukka Jalonen (Finland World Junior Team)
  • Game Of The Year: London 3 Rouyn-Noranda 2 (Memorial Cup Final – Overtime)

2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Game of the Year

Boston 4 North Dakota 3

Boston 4 North Dakota 3 (Frozen Four First Round – Double Overtime)

  • After a winning goal by the Fighting Hawks was called back on an offside in the first extra frame, Charlie McAvoy found the back of the net in the fifth period of play to knock out the defending national champions.

Cape Breton 5 Gatineau 4

Cape Breton 5 Gatineau 4 (Game 7 – QMJHL First Round – Overtime)

  • Jordan Ty Fournier scored early in overtime as the Screaming Eagles won their first ever Game 7 overtime game and avoided blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Olympiques.

Chicoutimi 4 Rouyn-Noranda 3

Chicoutimi 4 Rouyn-Noranda 3 (Game 7 – QMJHL Quarter-Final – Overtime)

  • Oliver Galipeau tied the game with 1:11 to go in the third period and then fired home the winning goal in overtime as Chicoutimi knocked out the defending QMJHL champions.

Chicago 2 Sioux City 1

Chicago 2 Sioux City 1 (Game 5 – USHL Final – Overtime)

  • Tyler Gratton’s only point of the playoff proved to be the biggest goal in the history of the Steel as his overtime marker gave the team their first Clark Cup title.

Cobourg 3 Brooks 2

Cobourg 3 Brooks 2 (RBC Cup Final – Overtime)

  • A 41-save performance by Stefano Durante and an equalizing goal by Ryan Casselman with 1:07 to go set the stage for Nick Minerva’s blast from the point in overtime that gave the tournament hosts their first national title in a stunning upset over the top ranked team in the country.

Czech Republic 4 Canada West 3

Czech Republic 4 Canada West 3 (World Junior A Challenge Quarter-Final – Shootout)

  • After watching a 2-0 lead vanish in the third period, the Czech Republic tied the game with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation before knocking out the defending tournament champions on a goal by Kristian Reichel in the shootout.

Erie 5 London 4

Erie 5 London 5 (Game 7 – OHL Quarter-Final – Overtime)

  • Warren Foegele’s overtime goal gave the Otters their first Game 7 win in franchise history as they knocked out the defending OHL and Memorial Cup champions.

Erie 4 Missisauga 3

Erie 4 Mississauga 3 (Game 5 – OHL Final – Overtime)

  • Taylor Raddysh completed a hat trick late in the third period to tie the game and Anthony Cirelli scored the series-clinching goal in overtime as the Otters captured their first championship since 2002.

Everett 3 Victoria 2 Game 6

Everett 3 Victoria 2 (Game 6 – WHL First Round – Quintuple Overtime)

  • Cal Babych scored on a breakway in the fifth extra frame as Everett won the longest game in CHL history to earn a spot in the WHL quarter-final.

Kingston 3 Hamilton 2

Kingston 3 Hamilton 2 (Game 7 – OHL First Round – Overtime)

  • Linus Nyman’s overtime goal propelled the Frontenacs to the quarter-finals in the OHL’s Eastern Conference for the second straight year following a playoff drought that began in 1998.

Lethbridge 5 Medicine Hat 4

Lethbridge 5 Medicine Hat 4 (Game 7 – WHL Quarter-Final – Overtime)

  • Seconds after Stuart Skinner made a massive save on John Dahlstrom, Tyler Wong fired home a shorthanded goal as the Hurricanes knocked out their rivals in a back and forth affair.

Minnesota-Duluth 2 Harvard 1

Minnesota-Duluth 2 Harvard 1 (Frozen Four Semifinal)

  • Alex Iafallo gave the Bulldogs the lead with 26.6 seconds to go, but they had to survive a shot from the slot by Luke Esposito that hit the crossbar with four seconds remaining to earn a spot in the national championship game.

Olds 4 Canmore 3

Olds 4 Canmore 3 (Game 3 – AJHL First Round – Overtime)

  • After the Grizzlys tied the game with 26 seconds to go, Landon Gross found the back of the net in overtime as Olds upset a second ranked Canmore side that finished 37 points ahead of them in the North Division standings.

Penticton 1 Chilliwack 0

Penticton 1 Chilliwack 0 (Game 7 – BCHL Final – Overtime)

  • A night after the Chiefs won in Penticton’s rink in overtime to force a seventh game, Duncan Campbell turned the tables in Chilliwack’s home barn as the Vees captured their second BCHL title in three years.

Rebels v. Lethbridge Gm. 3

Red Deer 4 Lethbridge 3 (Game 3 – WHL First Round – Double Overtime)

  • Evan Polei scored a highlight reel goal to give the Rebels the victory after they scored twice in the final three minutes to force overtime against the Hurricanes.

Seattle 5 Everett 4

Seattle 5 Everett 4 (Game 3 – WHL Quarter-Final – Overtime)

  • After watching his team cough up a three goal lead by allowing Everett to score four times in the second period, Mathew Barzal tied the game up in the third and gave the Thunderbirds the win in overtime as they took a 3-0 series lead over their division rivals.

Seattle 4 Regina 3

Seattle 4 Regina 3 (Game 6 – WHL Final – Overtime)

  • Down 3-1 to the Pats with 6:48 to go in the third period, the Thunderbirds scored two goals in the final minutes before Alexander True’s overtime marker gave Seattle their first ever WHL title.

Swift Current 5 Regina 4

Swift Current 5 Regina 4 (Game 4 – WHL Quarter-Final – Triple Overtime)

  • Despite a four-goal performance from Dawson Leedahl, the Pats found themselves facing a 3-1 series deficit as Glenn Gawdin gave the Broncos the win in a game that saw both teams fire 69 shots on goal.

United States 5 Canada 4

United States 5 Canada 4 (World Juniors Gold Medal Game – Shootout)

  • A day after he scored three shootout goals in a semifinal win over the United States, Troy Terry scored the only goal among 10 shooters as Tyler Parsons stymied all five attempts from Canada to give the Americans their fourth World Junior crown.

Windsor 4 Erie 3

Windsor 4 Erie 3 (Memorial Cup Final)

  • Aaron Luchuk scored the winning goal in the third period and Michael DiPietro made 35 saves as the host Spitfires completed one of the most unlikely championship runs in the history of the Memorial Cup.

 


2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Coach of the Year

Nate Bedford

Nate Bedford (Battlefords North Stars)

  • Was the head coach at Keyano College for two years before being hired as head coach and general manager for the North Stars in August.
  • Led the North Stars to their first SJHL championship since 2000 and their best regular season record in franchise history.
  • Was hired by Portage College to be their head coach in June.

KYle Brick

Kyle Brick (Blind River Beavers)

  • Was an assistant coach with the Soo Thunderbirds for two seasons prior to being hired as the Beavers head coach last April.
  • Led a team that went winless two years ago into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and brought them to their first ever NOJHL final.
  • Was named NOJHL Coach of the Year.

Jason Clarke

Jason Clarke (Carleton Place Canadians)

  • In his eighth season as general manager, head coach and owner.
  • Led the Canadians to their fourth straight CCHL title.
  • Was the head coach for Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge for the second straight season and won a silver medal.

John Druce

John Druce (Cobourg Cougars)

  • Was an assistant coach with the Cougars for one season before being promoted in June.
  • Led the Cougars to their first RBC Cup title, which they won on home ice.

Danny Flynn

Danny Flynn (Saint John Sea Dogs)

  • In his second season as head coach.
  • Led the Sea Dogs to their first championship since 2012.
  • Was named QMJHL Coach of the Year for the second time.

Patrick Grandemaitre

Patrick Grandmaitre (Ottawa Gee-Gees)

  • Was hired by the Gee-Gees in 2015 after coaching Gatineau College.
  • Helped the team reach the OUA playoffs in their first season since the program went on hiatus after the 2013-14 season as a result of sexual assault allegations.

Tom Keca

Tom Keca (Fort McMurray Oil Barons)

  • In his second season as general manager and head coach.
  • Helped the Oil Barons reach the semifinal after missing the playoffs last season.
  • Was named AJHL Coach of the Year.

Kris Knoblauch

Kris Knoblauch (Erie Otters)

  • In his fifth season as head coach.
  • Led the Otters to their fourth straight 50-win season and their first title since 2002.
  • Won a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada at the World Juniors.
  • Was hired by the Philadelphia Flyers to be an assistant coach in June.
  • Placed 13th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Coach of the Year award.

Steve Konowalchuk

Steve Konowalchuk (Seattle Thunderbirds)

  • In his sixth season as head coach.
  • Led the Thunderbirds to their second straight WHL final and their first league title.
  • Was hired by the Anaheim Ducks to be an assistant coach in June.
  • Placed 10th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Coach of the Year award.

Ryan MCgill

Ryan McGill (Owen Sound Attack)

  • In his second season as head coach.
  • Led the Attack to their first trip to the Western Conference final since 2011.
  • Received the CHL & OHL Coach of the Year awards.
  • Was hired by the Vegas Golden Knights to be an assistant coach in June.

Denver University Hockey

Jim Montgomery  (Denver Pioneers)

  • In his fourth season as head coach.
  • Led the Pioneers to their first national title since 2005.
  • Won the Spencer Penrose Award.

Dan Muse

Dan Muse (Chicago Steel)

  • In his second season as head coach.
  • Led the Steel back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and their first ever title.

Pats Sat 20160123-08.JPG

John Paddock (Regina Pats)

  • In his third season as head coach and his second season as general manager.
  • Led the Pats to their first trip to the final since 1984.
  • Won the WHL Coach of the Year for the second time and was named WHL Executive of the Year.

View More: http://em-rose.pass.us/brooks-bandits-2015-2016

Ryan Papaioannou (Brooks Bandits)

  • In his eighth season as head coach and general manager.
  • Led the Bandits to their fourth AJHL title in six years and their third trip to the RBC Cup in five years.
  • Placed 20th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Coach of the Year award.

Blake Spiller

Blake Spiller (Portage Terriers)

  • In his 11th season as head coach and general manager.
  • Led a Terriers team that finished fifth in the regular season to their third straight MJHL title.
  • Placed seventh in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Coach of the Year award.

Rocky Thompson

Rocky Thompson (Windsor Spitfires)

  • In his second season as head coach.
  • Led the Spitfires to their third Memorial Cup title after a 44-day layoff following a first round exit.
  • Was hired by the AHL’s Chicago Wolves to be their head coach in June.
  • Placed 16th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Coach of the Year award.

Jay Varady

Jay Varady (Sioux City Musketeers)

  • In his fourth season as head coach and director of hockey operations.
  • Lead a team that finished last in the USHL a year earlier to the league final.
  • Was named USHL Coach of the Year.
  • Won a gold medal as head coach for the United States at the World Junior A Challenge.

Manny Vivieos

Manny Viverios (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Was the head coach for Ingolstadt prior to being hired in July.
  • Led the Broncos to their first playoff series win since 2008.

Greg Walters

Greg Walters (Georgetown Raiders)

  • In his seventh year as general manager and head coach.
  • Led the Raiders to their first OJHL title.
  • Was named CJHL & OJHL Coach of the Year.

Scott Wray.jpg

Scott Wray (Powassan Voodoos)

  • In his third season as head coach.
  • Led the Voodoos to their first league title in their third year of existence.
  • Was hired by the North Bay Battalion as an assistant coach in June.


2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Team of the Year

Battlefords North Stars

Battlefords North Stars

  • Had a 48-9-1 record in the regular season to finish first in the SJHL Olympic Buildings Division
  • Leading Scorer: Coby Downs with 72 points
  • Leading Goalie: Taryn Kotchorek with a 27-3-0 record and a 1.61 goals against average.
  • Went 12-0 in the playoffs to win their second title and their first since 2000.
  • Were the first team since the Prince Albert Raiders in 1982 to go unbeaten in the SJHL playoffs.
  • Coby Downs led the playoffs in scoring with 25 points and was named Playoff MVP.
  • Went 1-4 at the Western Canada Cup and lost 4-0 to the Penticton Vees in the semifinal.

Brooks Bandits

Brooks Bandits

  • Had a 51-5-4 record in the regular season to finish first in the AJHL North Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Ty Mappin with 90 points
  • Leading Goalie: Mitchel Benson with a 36-3-2 record and a 1.73 goals against average.
  • Award Winners: Oliver Chau (AJHL Rookie of the Year) and Cale Makar (AJHL & CJHL MVP & Top Defenceman)
  • Went 12-1 in the playoffs to win their second straight title, their fourth overall and their fourth in the last six years.
  • Josh McKechney led the playoffs in scoring with 23 points.
  • Cale Makar led all defenceman in scoring with 18 points and was named AJHL playoff MVP.
  • Went 5-0 at the Western Canada Cup and defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs 6-1 to win their first title.
  • Mitchel Benson was named top goaltender and tournament MVP, while Cale Makar was named top defenceman.
  • Went 4-2 at the RBC Cup and lost 3-2 to the Cobourg Cougars in the final.
  • Cale Makar was named tournament MVP and top defenceman for the second straight year.
  • Placed ninth in voting for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Team of the Year Award last year.

Carleton Place Canadians

Carleton Place Canadians

  • Had a 50-12-0 record in the regular season to finish first in the CCHL Robinson Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Connor Merkley with 66 points
  • Leading Goalie: Connor Hughes with a 36-10-0 record and a 1.99 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Owen Grant (Top Defenceman)
  • Went 12-4 in the playoffs to win their fourth title and their fourth in a row
  • Connor Hughes went 12-4 with a 2.27 goals against average and was named playoff MVP
  • Went 2-3 at the Fred Page Cup and lost 5-2 to the Terrebonne Cobras in the final.
  • Placed 15th in voting for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Team of the Year Award last year.

Chicago Stee

Chicago Steel

  • Had a 38-17-3 record in the regular season to finish first in the USHL Eastern Conference.
  • Leading Scorer: Reggie Lutz with 47 points
  • Leading Goalie: Ales Stezka with a 22-10-3 record and a 2.28 goals against average
  • Went 9-5 in the playoffs to win their first championship.
  • Jack Badini led the playoffs in scoring with 17 points.
  • Eduards Tralmaks had 12 points and was named playoff MVP.

Cobourg Cougars

Cobourg Cougars

  • Had a 39-11-4 record in the regular season to finish second in the OJHL East Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Ryan Casselman with 73 points
  • Leading Goalie: Stefano Durante with a 24-6-0 record and a 1.92 goals against average.
  • Award Winner: Brennan Roy (Top Defenceman)
  • Went 8-5 in the playoffs and lost 4-0 to the Trenton Golden Hawks in the semifinals.
  • As hosts of the RBC Cup, they went 5-1 and defeated the Brooks Bandits 3-2 to win their first title.
  • Spencer Robert led the tournament in scoring with nine points and was named top forward.
  • Stefano Durante was named top goaltender.

Czech Republic Under 18

Czech Republic Under-18 Team

  • Had a 2-1 record to finish second in Group A at the Ivan Hlinka.
  • Defeated Sweden 2-1 in overtime and beat the United States 4-3 to win their first title.
  • Leading Scorer: Filip Zadina with seven points.
  • Leading Goalie: Jakub Skarek with a 4-0 record and a 1.69 goals against average.

Denver Pioneers

Denver Pioneers

  • Finished the season with a 33-7-4 record.
  • Leading Scorer: Troy Terry with 45 points
  • Leading Goalie: Tanner Jaillet with a 28-5-4 record and a 1.84 goals against average
  • Went 18-3-3 in conference play to win the NCHC regular season title.
  • Award Winners: Henrik Borgstrom (NCHC Rookie of the Year), Will Butcher (Hobey Baker Award and NCHC Player of the Year), Tanner Jaillet (Mike Richter Award and NCHC Goalie of the Year) and Jim Motgomery (Spencer Penrose Award)
  • Finished third in the NCHC Tournament. After defeating Colorado College in two games, they lost 1-0 to North Dakota in the semifinal and beat Western Michigan 3-1 in the third place game.
  • At the Frozen Four, they defeated Michigan Tech 5-2, beat Penn State 6-3, upended Notre Dame 6-1 and edged Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 to win their eighth national title and their first since 2005.
  • Jarid Lukosevicius had a hat trick in the Frozen Four final and was named Most Outstanding Player.

Dryden ICe Dogs.jpg

Dryden Ice Dogs

  • Went 45-7-4 in the regular season to finish in first place in the SIJHL.
  • Leading Scorer: Braeden Allkins with 97 points
  • Leading Goalie: Patrick Zubick with a 21-4-3 record and a 2.30 goals against average.
  • Award Winners: Braeden Allkins (MVP), Eric Stout (Rookie of the Year), Kurt Walsten (Coach of the Year) and Patrick Zubick (Goalie of the Year)
  • Went 8-0 in the playoffs to win their third title and their first since 2008.
  • Were the first team since the Wisconsin Wilderness in 2011 to go undefeated in the playoffs.
  • Braeden Allkins led the playoffs in scoring with 15 points and was named Playoff MVP.
  • Went 1-2 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and missed the playoffs.

Erie Otters

Erie Otters

  • Went 50-15-3 to finish first in the OHL Midwest Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Alex DeBrincat with 127 points
  • Leading Goalie: Troy Timpano with a 36-8-0 record and a 2.37 goals against average
  • Award Winners: Alex DeBrincat (CHL & OHL Player of the Year) and Darren Raddysh (OHL Defenceman and Overage Player of the Year)
  • Went 16-6 in the playoffs to win their second title and their first since 2002.
  • Alex DeBrincat led the team in scoring with 38 points
  • Warren Foegele had 26 points and was named Playoff MVP.
  • Went 3-2 at the Memorial Cup and lost 4-3 to the Windsor Spitfires in the final.
  • Dylan Strome and Taylor Raddysh led the event in scoring with 11 points, with Strome being named tournament MVP.

Georgetown Raiders

Georgetown Raiders

  • Went 45-5-4 in the regular season to finish first in the OJHL West Division
  • Leading Scorer: Jack Jacome with 91 points
  • Leading Goalie: Josh Astorino with a 28-3-2 record and a 1.93 goals against average
  • Award Winners: Josh Astorino (OJHL Goalie of the Year), Jack Jacome (CJHL Top Forward and OJHL MVP) and Greg Walters (CJHL and OJHL Coach of the Year)
  • Went 16-6 in the playoffs to win the first title.
  • Jack Jacome led the playoffs in scoring with 24 points and was named Playoff MVP.
  • Went 3-2 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and lost 2-1 to the Trenton Golden Hawks in the final.
  • Jack Jacome was named tournament MVP.

Lone Star Brahmas

Lone Star Brahmas

  • Went 44-12-2 in the regular season to finish first in the NAHL South Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Carson Kelley with 50 points
  • Leading Goalie: Alec Calvaruso with a 24-7-0 record and a 2.13 goals against average
  • Went 9-2 in the playoffs to win their first title.
  • Drake Glover was named playoff MVP.

Penticton Vees

Penticton Vees

  • Went 41-13-4 in the regular season to finish first in the BCHL Interior Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Nicholas Jones with 62 points
  • Leading Goalie: Mathew Robson with a 35-11-3 record and a 1.94 goals against average.
  • Went 12-9 in the playoffs to win their 11th title and their third in the last six years.
  • Won three Game 7’s on their way to the championship.
  • Went 4-2 at the Western Canada Cup and beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 3-2 in the runner-up game to earn a spot at the RBC Cup.
  • Nicholas Jones led the tournament in scoring with 11 points and was named top forward.
  • Went 2-3 at the RBC Cup and lost 3-1 to the Cobourg Cougars in the semifinal.

Portage Terriers

Portage Terriers

  • Had a 37-19-4 record to finish in fifth place in the MJHL.
  • Leading Scorer: Jeremey Leipsic with 100 points
  • Leading Goalie: Brock Aiken with a 27-14-0 record and a 3.01 goals against average.
  • Went 12-6 in the playoffs to win their 11th title, their third in a row and their eighth in the last 14 years.
  • Jeremey Leipsic led the playoffs in scoring with 19 points.
  • Josh Martin had 15 points and was named playoff MVP.
  • Went 1-3 at the Western Canada Cup and missed the playoffs.
  • Placed 16th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Team of the Year award.

Powassan Voodos

Powassan Voodoos

  • Went 46-7-3 in the regular season to finish first in the NOJHL East Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Andy Baker with 75 points
  • Leading Goalie: Nate McDonald with a 30-4-2 record and a 2.16 goals against average.
  • Award Winner: Nate McDonald (MVP)
  • Went 12-0 in the playoffs to win their first title.
  • Were the first team since the 1995 Timmins Golden Bears to go undefeated in the NOJHL playoffs.
  • Parker Bowman had 20 points and was named playoff MVP.
  • Went 1-3 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and lost 2-1 to the Georgetown Raiders in the semifinal.

Saint John Sea Dogs

Saint John Sea Dogs

  • Went 48-14-6 to finish first in the QMJHL Maritimes Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Matthew Highmore with 89 points.
  • Leading Goalie: Callum Booth with a 31-12-3 record with a 2.59 goals against average
  • Award Winners: Thomas Chabot (CHL & QMJHL Top Defenceman) and Danny Flynn (QMJHL Coach of the Year)
  • Went 16-2 in the playoffs to win their third title, their first since 2012 and their third in the last seven years.
  • Mathieu Joseph led the playoffs in scoring with 32 points.
  • Thomas Chabot led all defenceman with 23 points and was named playoff MVP.
  • Went 1-3 at the Memorial Cup and lost 6-3 to the Erie Otters in the semifinal.

Seattle Thunderbirds

Seattle Thunderbirds

  • Went 46-20-6 in the regular season to finish second in the WHL US Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Ryan Gropp with 84 points
  • Leading Goalie: Rylan Toth with a 36-18-3 record with a 2.75 goals against average
  • Award Winner: Ethan Bear (WHL Top Defenceman)
  • Went 16-4 in the playoffs to win their first championship.
  • Keegan Kolesar led the playoffs in scoring with 31 points.
  • Mathew Barzal had 25 points was named playoff MVP.
  • Went 0-3 at the Memorial Cup and missed the playoffs.

Sweden Under 17

Sweden Under-17 Team

  • Went 1-2 in the round-robin to finish second in Group A at the World Under-17 Challenge.
  • Defeated the United States 4-3, knocked off Canada White 3-2 and beat Canada Black 2-1 to win their second tournament and their first since 2013.
  • Leading Scorer: Samuel Fagemo with seven points
  • Leading Goalie: Olof Linbom with a 4-1 record and a 2.22 goals against average

Terrebonne Cobras

Terrebonne Cobras

  • Went 44-5-0 in the regular season to finish first in the QJHL Burrows Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Benjamin Bohemier with 105 points
  • Leading Goalie: Jeremy Belisle with a 25-3-0 record and a 2.74 goals against average
  • Went 12-4 in the playoffs to win their second QJHL title and their first since 2010.
  • Jeremy Belisle went 11-4 with a 2.91 goals against average and was named playoff MVP.
  • Went 4-0 at the Fred Page Cup and defeated the Carleton Place Canadians 5-2 to win their first title and become the first team from the QJHL to reach the RBC Cup since 2006.
  • Loik Leveille led the tournament in scoring with seven points and was named Tournament MVP and Top Defenceman.
  • Chad Pietroniro had five points and was named top forward.
  • Went 2-3 at the RBC Cup and lost 4-0 to the Brooks Bandits in the semifinal.

Trenton Golden Hawks

Trenton Golden Hawks

  • Went 42-9-3 in the regular season to finish first in the OJHL East Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Liam Morgan with 62 points
  • Leading Goalie: Chris Janzen with a 33-6-2 record and a 1.98 goals against average
  • Went 15-6 in the playoffs and lost 4-3 to the Georgetown Raiders in the final.
  • Went 3-1 at the Dudley Hewitt Cup and defeated the Georgetown Raiders 2-1 to win their second straight title and their second overall.
  • Anthony Sorrentino led the tournament in scoring with 10 points.
  • Chris Janzen was named top goaltender and Brandon Marinelli received top defenceman honours.
  • Went 0-4 at the RBC Cup and missed the playoffs.
  • Placed 13th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Team of the Year award.

Truro Bearcats

Truro Bearcats

  • Went 35-13-2 in the regular season to finish second in the MHL South Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Kyle Tibbo with 88 points
  • Leading Goalie: Jason Rioux with a 21-10-7 record and a 2.93 goals against average
  • Went 12-5 in the playoffs to win their fourth title, their first since 2014 and their second in the last four years.
  • Jason Rioux went 12-5 with a 2.84 goals against average to win playoff MVP.
  • Went 0-3 at the Fred Page Cup and missed the playoffs.

UNB Varsity Reds

UNB Varsity Reds

  • Went 25-2-3 in the regular season to finish first in the AUS.
  • Leading Scorer: Philippe Maillet with 55 points
  • Leading Goalie: Etienne Marcoux with a 15-2-0 record and a 1.59 goals against average
  • Award Winners: Gardiner MacDougall (AUS Coach of the Year), Philippe Maillet (AUS and U Sports MVP) and Jordan Murray (U Sports Top Defenceman)
  • Had a 3-3 record in the AUS playoffs and lost in the finals to St. Francis Xavier.
  • At the University Cup, they beat Queen’s 5-1, shutout Acadia 3-0 and defeated Saskatchewan 5-3 to win their second straight title, their seventh overall and their sixth in the last 11 years.
  • Philippe Maillet led the event in scoring with 10 points and was named University Cup MVP.
  • Placed 14th in voting last year for the Bagskate Hockey Podcast Team of the Year award.

United States

United States Junior Select Team

  • Went 1-1 to finish second in Group B at the World Junior A Challenge.
  • Beat Switzerland 9-0, defeated Russia 4-2 and shutout Canada East 4-0 to win their seventh title, their first since 2014 and their fourth in the last five years.
  • Leading Scorer: Chris Berger and Alex Limoges with five points
  • Leading Goalie: Cayden Primeau with a 3-1 record and a 0.75 goals against average

United States Under 18

United States Under-18 Team

  • Went 4-0 to finish first in Group B at the World Under 18’s.
  • Beat Switzerland 4-2, edged Sweden 4-3 and defeated Finland 4-2 to win their 10th title, their first since 2015 and their third in the last five years.
  • Leading Scorer: Sean Dhooghe with nine points
  • Leading Goalie: Dylan St. Cyr with a 7-0 record and a 1.96 goals against average

United States Under 20 Team

United States Under-20 Team

  • Went 4-0 to finish first in Group B at the World Juniors.
  • Beat Switzerland 3-2, defeated Russia 4-3 in a shootout and edged Canada 5-4 in a shootout to win their fourth title, their first since 2013 and their second in the last five years.
  • Leading Scorer: Clayton Keller with 11 points
  • Leading Goalie: Tyler Parsons with a 5-0 record and a 2.18 goals against average

Windsor Spitfires

Windsor Spitfires

  • Went 41-19-8 in the regular season to finish second in the OHL West Division.
  • Leading Scorer: Jeremy Bracco with 83 points
  • Leading Goalie: Michael DiPietro with a 30-12-6 record and a 2.35 goals against average
  • Went 3-4 in the playoffs and lost 4-3 to the London Knights in the first round.
  • As the Memorial Cup hosts, they went 4-0 and defeated the Erie Otters 4-3 in the final to win their third title, their first sine 2010 and their third in the last nine years.
  • Were the first host team to win the tournament since the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012.
  • Michael DiPietro earned the event’s top goaltender honours.


2017 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Rookie of the Year

Oliver Chau

Oliver Chau (Brooks Bandits)

  • Joined the Bandits after two seasons with Northfield Mount Hermon School.
  • Had 35 goals and 52 assists in 60 games.
  • His 52 assists and 87 points were the most by a rookie in the AJHL and CJHL.
  • Had the most goals (35) and best point per game average (1.45) of rookie players in the AJHL.
  • Led the AJHL in power play goals with 18.
  • Was named AJHL Rookie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had 2 goals and 14 assists in 13 games.
  • At the Western Canada Cup, he had two goals and four assists in five games.
  • During the RBC Cup, he had two assists in six games.
  • An undrafted player, he has committed to the UMass Minutemen in the NCAA for next season.

Adam Dawe

Adam Dawe (Notre Dame Hounds)

  • Moved up to the SJHL after two seasons with for the Notre Dame Midget Hounds.
  • Had 19 goals and 45 assists in 54 games.
  • His 45 assists, 64 points and 1.19 point per game average were the best by a rookie in the SJHL.
  • Was named CJHL & SJHL Rookie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and seven assists in six games.
  • Was not selected at this year’s NHL Draft.
  • Has committed to the NCAA’s Maine Black Bears for next season.

Cam Donaldson

Cam Donaldson (Powell River Kings)

  • Joined the River Kings after two seasons with The Gunnery Prep team.
  • Had 32 goals and 37 assists in 54 games.
  • His 37 assists, 69 points and 1.28 point per game average was the best among rookies in the BCHL.
  • Finished tied with Grant Cruikshank for the most goals by a rookie in the BCHL with 32.
  • Was named BCHL Rookie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had five goals and five assists in 11 games.
  • Has gone undrafted the last two years.
  • Is committed to play for the NCAA’s Cornell Big Red next season.

Adam Fox Rookie

Adam Fox (Harvard Crimson)

  • Joined the Crimson after two seasons with the US NTDP.
  • Had six goals and 34 assists in 40 games.
  • Led all NCAA defenceman in assists (34), points (40) and points per game (1.14).
  • His 34 assists were the most by a freshman in the NCAA.
  • Was named ECAC Rookie of the Year.
  • Had four assists in seven games for the United States at the World Juniors.
  • A third round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he has yet to sign an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames.

Trent Frederic

Trent Frederic (Wisconsin Badgers)

  • Joined the Badgers after two seasons with the US NTDP.
  • Had 15 goals and 18 assists in 30 games.
  • Was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
  • Selected 29th overall at the 2016 NHL Draft, he has yet to sign an entry level contract with the Boston Bruins.

Joel Grzybowski Rookie

Joel Grzybowski (Battlefords North Stars)

  • Joined the North Stars after two seasons with the Saskatoon Blazers.
  • Had a 21-4-1 record with a 1.66 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
  • His seven shutouts were the most by a rookie in the CJHL and SJHL.
  • Led all rookie goalies in the SJHL in wins (21), goals against average (1.66) and save percentage (.935).
  • In the playoffs, he had a 3-0 record with a 2.09 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.
  • At the Western Canada Cup, he had 1-4 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
  • Finished tied with Mitchel Benson and Mathew Robson for the most shutouts at the event with one.
  • Was not selected at the 2017 NHL Draft.
  • An 11th round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, he has signed a contract with the Saskatoon Blades.

Aleksi Heponiemi

Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos)

  • Joined the Broncos after being selected 10th overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.
  • Had 28 goals and 58 assists in 72 games.
  • Led the WHL and CHL in assists by a rookie with 58.
  • Finished tied with Nico Hischier for the most points by a rookie in the CHL with 86.
  • His 1.19 point per game average was the best among rookies in the WHL.
  • Was named WHL Rookie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had eight assists in 14 games.
  • Had five assists in four games for Finland at the Ivan Hlinka.
  • Was selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Nico Hischier Rookie

Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads)

  • Joined the Mooseheads after being selected sixth overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.
  • Had 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games.
  • His 1.51 point per game average was the best among rookies in the CHL.
  • Was tied with Aleksi Heponiemi for the most points among rookies in the CHL with 86.
  • Led all rookies in the QMJHL in goals (38) and assists (48).
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and four assists in six games.
  • Was named CHL and QMJHL rookie of the year.
  • Had four goals and three assists in five games for Switzerland at the World Juniors.
  • At the World Under 18’s, he had a goal and five assists in five games for Switzerland.
  • Represented Switzerland at the Ivan Hlinka and had a goal and an assist in three games.
  • Was selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils at the 2017 NHL Draft.
  • Surpassed Nino Niederreiter (5th overall in 2010) as the highest drafted player from Switzerland.

Clayton Keller

Clayton Keller (Boston Terriers)

  • Joined the Terriers after two seasons with the US NTDP.
  • Had 21 goals and 24 assists in 31 games.
  • Led all freshman in the NCAA in points per game with a 1.45 average.
  • Won the Tim Taylor Award and was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year.
  • Had three goals and eight assists in seven games for the United States at the World Juniors.
  • The seventh overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, he signed an entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in March and had two assists in three games.
  • After the NHL season, he played with the United States at the World Championships and had five goals and two assists in eight games.

Nate McDonald Rookie

Nate McDonald (Powassan Voodoos)

  • Joined the Voodoos after playing with the Toronto Midget Marlboros last season.
  • Had a 30-4-2 record with a 2.16 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
  • His 30 wins and 2.16 goals against average were the best in the NOJHL.
  • Was tied with Dougie Newhouse for the most shutouts by a rookie goalie in the NOJHL with three.
  • Was named NOJHL MVP.
  • In the playoffs, he had a 12-0 record with a 1.84 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.
  • His 12 wins, 1.84 goals against average and .933 save percentage were the best in the NOJHL playoffs.
  • At the Dudley Hewitt Cup, he had a 1-3 record with a 3.80 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
  • Was not selected at this year’s NHL Draft and is not committed to a NCAA or U Sports program.
  • He was traded to the OJHL’s Whitby Fury in June.

Ryan Merkley

Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm)

  • Joined the Storm after being selected first overall in the 2016 OHL Draft.
  • Had 12 goals and 43 assists in 62 games.
  • His 43 assists and 55 points were the most by a rookie in the OHL.
  • Was the first defenceman to lead all rookies in OHL scoring since Rick Corriveau in 1987-88.
  • Had the most goals (12), assists (43) and points (55) of any rookie defenceman in the CHL.
  • His 0.88 point per game average was the best among rookies in the OHL and led all rookie defenceman in the CHL.
  • Was named OHL Rookie of the Year.
  • Had two goals in five games for Canada Red at the World Under 17’s.
  • Is projected to be a first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Hunter Miska

Hunter Miska (Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs)

  • Joined the Bulldogs after playing with the Dubuque Fighting Saints last season.
  • Had a 27-5-5 record with a 2.20 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.
  • Led all freshman goalies in the NCAA in wins (27) and shutouts (five).
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry-level contact with Arizona Coyotes in April.

Mareks Mitens Rookie

Mareks Mitens (Aston Rebels)

  • Joined the Rebels after two years with HK Riga.
  • Had a 31-10-0 record with a 1.63 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.
  • Led the entire NAHL in wins (31), goals against average (1.63) and shutouts (11).
  • Was named NAHL MVP and Goalie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had a 6-3 record with a 2.01 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
  • Had a 0-5 record with a 4.47 goals against average and a .883 save percentage for Latvia at the World Juniors.
  • Has gone undrafted the last two years.
  • He has committed to the NCAA’s Lake Superior State Lakers for next season.

Jake OEtttinger Rooie

Jake Oettinger (Boston Terriers)

  • Joined the Terriers after two seasons with the US NTDP.
  • Had a 21-11-3 with a 2.11 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
  • Was part of the United States’ gold medal team at the World Juniors but did not play in any games.
  • Was selected 26th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2017 NHL Draft and was the first goaltender drafted.

Angus Redmond

Angus Redmond (Michigan Tech Huskies)

  • Joined the Huskies after four seasons with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
  • Had a 22-10-5 record with a 1.85 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
  • His 1.85 goals against average was the best among freshman goalies in the NCAA.
  • An undrafted player, he signed an entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks in April.

Dylan Riley

Dylan Riley (Pictou County Weeks Crushers)

  • Joined the Crushers after two seasons with the Valley Midget Wildcats.
  • Had 25 goals and 44 assists in 49 games.
  • His 25 goals, 44 assists, 69 points and 1.41 point per game average was the best among rookies in the MHL.
  • Was named MHL Rookie of the Year.
  • In the playoffs, he had three goals and two assists in seven games.
  • Went undrafted the last two years.
  • Has yet to commit to a NCAA or U Sports program.

Denis Smirnov

Denis Smirnov (Penn State Nittany Lions)

  • Joined the Nittany Lions after two seasons with the Fargo Force.
  • Had 19 goals and 28 assists in 39 games.
  • Led all NCAA freshman in scoring with 47 points.
  • After going undrafted the last two years, he was selected in the sixth round by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Carl Stankowski Rookie

Carl Stankowski (Seattle Thunderbirds)

  • Was a second round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft and played with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 team last season before joining the Thunderbirds.
  • Had a 3-1-0 record with a 2.18 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
  • In the playoffs, he had a 16-4 record with a 2.50 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.
  • His 16 wins were the most in the WHL playoffs.
  • At the Memorial Cup, he had a 0-3 record with a 5.99 goals against average and a .815 save percentage.
  • Had a 1-1 record with a 3.02 goals against average and a .860 save percentage for Canada Red at the World Under 17’s.
  • Is eligible to be selected in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Andrei Svechnikov

Andrei Svechnikov (Muskegon Lumberjacks)

  • Joined the Lumberjacks after two seasons with the AK Bars Kazan U16 team.
  • Had 29 goals and 29 assists in 48 games.
  • Led all rookies in the USHL in goals (29) and points (58).
  • Was named USHL Rookie of the Year.
  • Did not play in the playoffs with the Lumberjacks as he was playing with Russia at the World Under 18’s.
  • At the World Under 18’s, he had four goals and five assists in seven games for Russia.
  • During the World Under 17’s, he had five goals and three assists in four games for Russia.
  • Led the World Under 17’s in scoring with eight points.
  • Represented Russia at the World Junior A Challenge and had eight goals and four assists in four games.
  • Led the tournament in scoring and was named MVP.
  • Had four goals and an assist in five games for Russia at the Ivan Hlinka.
  • Will play for the OHL’s Barrie Colts next season after being selected first overall in the 2017 CHL Import Draft.
  • Along with Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin, he is expected to be one of the top two picks in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Matthew Villalta Rookie

Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

  • Joined the Greyhounds as an undrafted free agent after a season with Greater Kingston Midget Frontenacs.
  • Had a 25-3-0 record with a 2.41 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
  • His 25 wins were the most by a rookie goaltender in the CHL.
  • Had the best goals against average by a rookie in the OHL with a 2.41 mark.
  • In the playoffs, he had a 1-1 record with a 4.20 goals against average and a .841 save percentage.
  • Was selected in the third round by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2017 NHL Draft.