July is an exciting time for us here at HockeyNow. Our annual HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year Award has become a longstanding tradition dating back to 2000, and I am excited to congratulate this year’s very deserving honourees.
Luka Burzan from the North Shore Winter Club in B.C., Alberta’s Ty Smith of the Delta Wild Hockey Academy and Gabriel Vilardi from Ontario’s Canadian International Hockey Academy, all had outstanding seasons for their respective clubs, but our Player of the Year Award represents more than just on-ice performance.
While this is a hockey award, our selection committee headed by NHL alumnus Dave Babych, select the players who best exemplify leadership, dedication and sportsmanship both on and off the ice. These three young men not only excelled on the ice this past season, but also in the classroom and in their communities – and that’s what this award is all about. We aren’t just looking at raw hockey talent – which all of our finalists have in spades – this award is about rewarding the complete individual.
Previous winners include no less than 12 NHL draftees and players, including two-time Stanley Cup Champion Colin Fraser and 2011 first overall NHL Draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name a couple.
I’d like to congratulate Luka, Ty and Gabriel and wish them all the best as they continue on their hockey journeys, and what I’m sure will be exciting careers for years to come. We look forward to following them as they graduate from the minor to junior ranks and hopefully beyond.
Even though it’s the offseason for our sport, there’s no shortage of stuff to talk about. We are firmly entrenched in the summer hockey tournament season and this past month has seen some great hockey at the minor level in all three provinces we distribute in.
We’d like to tip our hats to the newly formed Tournament of Champions, which held it’s inaugural tourney last weekend at the Richmond Oval in Richmond B.C. By all accounts the tournament – which brings the best eight spring teams in the 2006 age group from around North America to face off against one another – spring champs, was a raging success.
Be sure to check out our tournament calendar online or in print for a list of upcoming events in your region.
In this issue, we’re also looking back at the 2015 NHL Draft, held in Sunrise, Fla. on June 26. It was a fantastic weekend full of surprises and firsts and we had a lot of fun during our inaugural first round live blog. Thanks to all of our loyal readers who followed along with us. We are already looking forward to next year as the upcoming season approaches, and a whole new crop of players begin their journey towards the 2016 Draft.
We’ll be taking a short print break until our annual “Puck Drop” issue at the end of August, but we’ll be returning bigger and better than ever with all kinds of new features, both online and in print for the upcoming season. In the meantime, we’ll be adding fresh content, news and contests on HockeyNow.ca every day from the minor, junior, major junior and women’s hockey world until the puck drops on the 2015-16 season.
1) John Dean Returns to OJHL to Coach Toronto Patriots
2) Off-Season Brings About Massive Turnover for OHL Coaches
3) Justin Sourdif Named 2017 HockeyNow Player of the Year for B.C.
4) Where Are They Now: 2016 Player of the Year Owen Lalonde
5) Former NHLer Jason York Now Part of Kemptville 73’s Ownership Group