If you’re a frequent reader of HockeyNow, I’m sure you’ve seen one version or another of our description of the Minor Hockey Player of the Year award, namely that it is given to players who “best exemplify sportsmanship, leadership, hockey ability and performance, and school and community participation.”
But what exactly does that mean?
Well, the most important takeaway is that first and foremost, the HockeyNow Player of the Year (POY) award is a hockey award. When we start looking for our finalists, which hopefully you’ve been watching this past year, we’re looking for the best of the best in hockey ability.
With the likes of Karl Alzner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins having proudly received the award in years past, our winners are hardly underdogs.
This year, we once again got to witness some of our former players of the year continue to fulfil their potential by taking huge next steps in their careers.
2015 Alberta winner Ty Smith capped off an incredible season with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs by getting drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the New Jersey Devils in June’s NHL Entry Draft. The smooth-skating defenceman put up 14 goals and 59 assists in his second full WHL season in Spokane.
Jack Hughes, the 2015 Ontario POY, just wrapped up his second season with the U.S. U18s. The 5-foot-10, 157-pound centre poured in 18 goals and added 21 assists in 18 USHL games.
B.C. 2017 POY Justin Sourdif, meanwhile, also had a huge season, racking up 23 goals and 50 assists in 35 BCMML games with the Valley West Hawks.
With so many incredible Player of the Year alum, and a country so rich in hockey talent, the pressure is always on to zero in on the best – and this year was no different.
Although we once again had some stellar contenders – make sure to check out hockeynow.ca to see who was in the running – our 2017 winners stood out for being complete players, leaders and all-around mature and focused individuals on and off the ice.
The 2018 winner for B.C., Jake Chiasson, edged out the competition after wrapping up a productive season with the Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team, scoring 20 goals and adding 48 assists in 30 CSSBHL games – all while maintaining a solid leadership role and team-first mentality. Chiasson went 15th overall to the Brandon Wheat Kings at the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, and there’s no question he’s going to do big things in the coming years.
As for the Alberta Player of the Year, Sean Tschigerl, he’s just been getting better and better all season. And for his part, the 15-year-old forward who models his game after Chicago Blackhawks’ Johnathan Towes, clinched the #4 spot at the WHL Draft (to the Calgary Hitmen) after producing 31 goals and 39 assists in 30 CSSBHL tilts with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s Edmonton squad this past season. The Whitecourt, AB, product plays with an edge and maturity beyond his years and is always one step ahead of the competition.
Finally, our POY for Ontario, Jamie Drysdale, has been known to join the rush – while skating backwards. Actually.
He went fourth to Erie in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection following a championship season with the Toronto Marlboros in the GTMMHL.
We’re so proud to be able to give this award to these three deserving young men. You can find out more in this issue about the award and why Jake, Sean and Jamie were our top selections this year.
Make sure to follow us at hockeynow.ca, on Twitter and Facebook, and in our newsletter as we keep bringing you the latest in the promising hockey careers of these and all of our players of the year.
1) JUNIOR B UPDATE: KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels announce new coach and GM; Sharp calling the shots for HJHL’s Three Hills Thrashers
2) On Top of the World: CSSHL Keeps Gaining Traction in Canada’s Hockey Landscape
3) Around the WHL: Eleven WHL players help Canada win Hlinka Gretzky gold; Tigers deal White to ICE
4) Meet Matthew Savoie, the NAX Forward Taking the CSSHL by Storm
5) Meet The Winners Of The 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player Of The Year Award Powered By Hockeyshot