We’re in the home stretch now. It’s just a few short months away from our judges officially selecting the HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year in each B.C., Alberta and Ontario, to be crowned in July. Our April preliminary lists feature players who best exemplify what the award stands for, and it's about a lot more than their performance this season.
Although hockey ability is taken into account, our selection committee also looks at each potential nominee’s record for leadership, sportsmanship, community involvement and participation in their school.
If you’re a longtime HockeyNow reader, you know that our selection committee has been working hard over the past year to scout players in each province and release preliminary lists. The committee is chaired by Dave Babych, former Vancouver Canuck and B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, and Dennis MacInnis, Founder and Head Scout of International Scouting Services.
The award is in its 17th year and has crowned some of the best players in the country, including Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Curtis Lazar and Morgan Rielly, just to name a few.
As we narrow in on our final selections in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, make sure to stay tuned online and in print and sign up for our newsletter so you can be the first to hear the winners’ names announced.
Preliminary list BC 2002s, April 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]
De La Gorgendiere had 15 points (1G, 14A) in 6 games. Was named the top defenceman in the tournament and was one of the best players in the tournament period. All situations defender that does it all for his team. Good size and skates efficiently around the ice. Potential to make an impact in the WHL in the future.
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.
King, Ben [C]
King had 10 points (2G, 8A) in 6 games. Solid two way forward who doesn't have many holes in his game - versatile player who compliments his linemates Good vision and smarts and really good passer with good vision. Good all around player who is the kind of player you win with.
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]
What you see is what you get - big and nasty and makes people pay a price to earn ice. Solid on his skates and hits hard - has a presence on the ice, plays vs top line every shift. Produces on the PP due to his good shot and passing ability. Understands his role and is hard to play against, tough, physical, shut down d man.
Watson, Ryan [D]
Puck mover, good skater, good lateral mobility, very good on the PP, can make solid passes with speed, understands the game but not physical, Has excellent vision, solid passing, good shot, can by dynamic in his play with his skating and puck movement. One of the better puck movers in the draft.
Preliminary list AB 2002s, April 2017
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
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
Greig, Ridly [C]
Greig had 8 points (1G, 7A) in 6 games. Really good performance for a kid that may be flying under the radar. Played top line, PP, PK. Skilled, offense first player with the ability to push the pace offensively. Breaks into the offensive zone with speed forces defenders to back off. Creates space for teammates.
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.
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.
Sexsmith, Joel [D]
Sexsmith had 3 points (0G-3A) in 5 games.Smart and reliable defender that makes simple plays to get the puck out of DZ and to his forwards. Not flashy but able to contribute at both ends of the ice. Can carry the puck up ice but is more likely to make an outlet pass.
Wiesblatt, Ozzy [C]
A very naturally talented player that plays the game at a high rate of speed. Has the explosiveness to get around defenders in a hurry, and creates a lot of offense. He is a bit undersized and could stand to grow, but with his skill set he can make you ignore his size easily. This kid has a lot of potential, and if he grows and develops well he could become a very dynamic offensive player in the WHL.
Preliminary list ON 2001s, April 2017
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]
A powerful offensive winger who is hard for any defender to handle. Drives the net hard to create chances, and chips it in well to use his strong board play to retrieve. Can handle the puck at top gear, which coupled with his size makes him a dangerous offensive weapon.
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.
Ladd, Grayson [D]
Quarterback the defense for the team. Blocks shots. Sacrifices body to make plays and has a keen awareness of danger on the ice and moves the puck in a timely fashion. Plays both left and right defense and is used in all situations of the game.
Penman, Duncan [D]
Smooth skating intelligent defenseman. Doesn't play a flashy game. Very effective at transitioning the puck up ice. Has potential as a top four defenseman at the CHL 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.
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]
Excellent ability to quickly turn a defensive stop into offence. He played physical, and he uses his elite size well and his long reach to his advantage in order to knock pucks loose or breakup a play.
1) The New Age of Hockey Training and Development
2) Jack Hughes wins 2017 Hockey Player of the Year Award for Ontario
3) 4 Takeaways from the 2017 WHL Cup
4) Kids Share Love of Hockey with Taste of Fame at 2017 BT Hockey Classic
5) Team Canada Roster Named for 2017 Women’s Worlds