What a thrill it was to watch former Minor Hockey Player of the Year award winners Mathew Barzal (2012 POY) and Dante Fabbro (2013 POY) suit up for Canada last month at the World Juniors. They were both such deserving and gracious winners way back when and it's been great watching them find success at every turn.
Seeing our former players of the year excel is one of the best parts of giving out this award, which we’ve been doing every year since 2000 with our inaugural winner Colin Fraser, who went on to win two Stanley Cups.
Our preliminary lists are once again full of stellar players in their CHL draft year from each B.C., Alberta and Ontario. These lists are put together by our selection committee, who scout players in each province and send us their favourites.
The committee, chaired by B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and Vancouver Canucks alumnus Dave Babych and International Scouting Services founder and head scout Dennis MacInnis, uses these list to select one winner in each province who is at the top of their game and exemplifies strong leadership, sportsmanship, and school and community involvement.
Our winners will be announced in July and we’ll be keeping a close eye on all our preliminary finalists until then.
Here are the preliminary lists for January:
Preliminary list - BC 2002s, January 2017
Borysiuk, Jordan [C]
Attacks with speed, likes to beat defenders 1 on 1 , has good size, makes smart decisions with and with out the puck.Very good on the cycle and uses size to protect the puck.
Bowen, Ethan [C]
Strong skater with good speed. Was strong on the for check and supported well on the back check, Good offensive upside due to his vision and his skating.
De La Gorgendiere, Aiden [D]
Very strong defensive player that consistently makes smart plays. Controls gap well, effectively directs opposing players towards the boards and he isn't afraid to make a hit. Plays a simple game and has an excellent outlet pass.
Gendron, Jacob [D]
Loves to take the puck end to end and control the game. Has a very good shot off the rush and from the point, can beat defenders to outside and through mid ice, uses his strong skating ability to get away from trouble.
Helliwell, Ryan [D]
Very good dman, uses size to advantage, strong on puck and strong on the boards. Passes hard and makes good decisions with and with out the puck, hard to play against and defends well. Impact player on the ice and very noticeable.
Hoogendoorn, Kurt [D]
Very smart defenseman who rarely gets caught out of position, and makes good plays with the puck. Nice skater and has deceptive speed. No shortage of upside, and should become a solid WHL defenseman with some work.
Mount, Payton [C]
Very skilled player and a strong two-way forward. Very good skater and has excellent vision. Should be a high pick in the WHL Draft and has the potential to be a strong player at that level.
Shepard, Cole [LW]
Quick, smart , fast and creates chances with speed, protects puck down low and takes puck to the net hard. Undersized but uses speed and quickness to elude defenders.
Sourdif, Justin [C]
Top prospect, Can do it all, skate, shoot, check, was dominating all weekend. Scored big goals in tournament and was a force. Total package and compete level is high.
Thurston, Trevor [D]
Has bite to his game, hard to play against, plays vs top line every shift. Produces on the PP due to his good shot and passing ability, makes good out let passes.
Preliminary list - AB 2002s, January 2017
Benning, Michael [D]
Shifty, offensively dangerous defender wasn't afraid to take the puck up the ice on his own. He consistently made crisp tape to tape passes and he got his wrist shot off very quickly.
Crnkovic, Kyle [C]
Highly skilled smaller dynamic player, scored 2 goals in final game and was top forward in the tournament. Fast and quick with excellent hockey sense
Danielson, Noah [C]
Potentially the best bantam player in the face off dot. His physicality and drive not to quit on a play is rare to see at this level. A coaches dream in my books. Work horse that puts the team first.
Dubinsky, Cole [C]
Crafty little offensive player with slick passing skills and offensive instincts. A natural play-maker with excellent vision. Very high hockey IQ
Guhle, Kaiden [D]
Smooth skating and his ability to control the pace of the game. Guhle has the potential to be a 2-way defender in the WHL in the future.
McClennon, Connor [C]
Top 3 prospect in BC.controls game, sets pace and tone, has excellent hockey sense and awareness on the ice, works hard and isn't afraid to mix it up.
McMaster, Anson [D]
Skating has improved, especially acceleration. Solid player at both ends of the ice and has a frequent impact when he is on the ice. Has the skill set to be a good WHL defenseman.
Neighbours, Jake [LW]
Lot of offensive upside. Strong kid that is very tough to take off the puck once he has possession, Uses his body well to protect the puck and win battles. Excellent vision and makes outstanding offensive decisions.
Plaschewsky, Braden [C]
Was a threat every time he is on the ice. Great at reading the play. His hands allow him to make creative passes to his teammates and generate scoring chances. Can make high end plays at full speed.
Prokop, Luke [D]
Very solid, plays against top lines , shut down d man. Plays a big role on a good team and kills PK and plays PP. Solid prospect that contributes to the team success.
Preliminary list - ON 2001s, January 2017
Aguanno, Anthony [D]
Good, strong skater with speed and showed the ability to rush the puck. Walks line with the puck well and has a heavy point shot.
Burridge, Jeff [RW]
Has a tremendous shot, hard and accurate. Knows where he needs to be in the O-zone, is strong in the corners off the cycle.
Clarke, Graeme [RW]
He is a shooter; takes a high volume of shots. Protects the puck well in the offensive zone and is dangerous working off the cycle.
Coe, Brandon [RW]
One of the standout players at recent Whitby Silverstick tournament. Gave 110% every shift and plays complete 200 foot game. Great foot speed and mobility for his size while remaining strong. Has all the tools you look for in any player, potential top line OHL forward with pro projection.
Hughes, Jack [C]
Great skater; very good edge work and top end speed. Hard snap shot that he can get away on the rush at full speed. Projects as a top line forward at the OHL/NCAA level.
Rees, Jamieson [C]
Center with average size. Very good skater with good speed and quickness. Quick hands. Can make plays with the puck at top speed.
Rowe, Lucas [C]
Natural goal-scorer with tremendous shot. Can beat the opposing goalie from all over the ice thanks to a lethal shot and a quick release. Oozes skill and makes his line-mates better. Possesses underrated passing ability.
Suzuki, Ryan [C]
Has elite vision and passing/playmaking abilities. Excellent puck control, always comes out of a scrum with the puck, seems to have it on a string. High hockey IQ, seems to be thinking 2 steps ahead of everyone else on the ice.
Tomasino, Philip [C]
Very gifted player that has a lot upside to his game. Loves to have the puck on his stick and he does a great job of push the pace up ice. Has great speed and loves to drive the puck wide.
Vukojevic, Michael [D]
Simply one of the most complete players in his age group. Smooth skating defenseman with excellent edge work. Defensively uses his body and stick well to break up plays, able to battle physically with anyone. Skating is smooth and effortless, displays change of pace on rush. Tools to be a #1 OHL/NCAA dman with pro upside.
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