We’re in the home stretch now. It’s just over one month out 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 May preliminary lists feature players who best exemplify what the award stands for, and it's about a lot more than their performance this past 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 find worthy candidates and release monthly 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 2001s, May 2016
Bowen, Jason: Chilliwack A1 (PCBHL)
Tied for scoring lead at recent Tim Jardine Bantam AAA Showcase and selected to All Star team. Equally adept at scoring goals as he is at passing the puck. A well-rounded talent on offence with many weapons in his arsenal.
Bulawka, Max: Bant Prep (CSSBP)
Skilled play making centre with excellent vision and soft hands with the ability to pick apart defenses with his vision and slick passing.
Horning, Connor: POE Bant Prep (CSSBP)
A stay at home D-man. A reliable defensive zone player that can get the puck up quickly to his forwards. Plays with poise and confidence in all situations and can log a ton of minutes when required. Has a very high panic threshold when being pressured by opposing forecheckers.
Leyh, Ethan: Yale Ban. Prep (CSSBP)
Can play with anyone. Good neutral-zone player. Looks for the open man. Reads the play well. Sees the ice. Knows where his teammates are all the time. Excellent Skater. Creates scoring opportunities for his teammates. Good playmaker.
Mutala, Sasha: BWC A1 (PCBHL)
A skilled goal-scorer. Has explosive smooth strides. Very good top speed. Can burn D-men with moves and puck handling. Shoots the puck very well and accurate. Hard to handle if you're a defender.
Rizzo, Massimo: BWC A1 (PCBHL)
One of the most complete bantam players out there. Can do it all in every situation. He wins face-offs. He skates fast and has explosive strides. Good puck protection. Creates scoring chances off the rush or by forcing a turnover from hounding the puck carrier and taking the body. Has a high compete level.
Sukunda, Alek: BWC A1 (PCBHL)
He makes great plays defensively and shuts the top players down. Calm, plays under pressure and very good outlet passes. Plays in all positions and logs top minutes each game. Very reliable. Has top-2 pairing WHL potential.
Svejkovsky, Lukas: Delta Bantam Prep (CSSBP)
Excellent acceleration that he uses to create offensive scoring chances. He has an excellent wrist shot and loves to shoot the puck.
Van de Leest, Jackson: Yale Ban. Prep (CSSBP)
Jumps into the play - good offensive instincts. Knows how to contain his man down low. Makes a good first pass out of his zone. Uses his partner well. Communicates well. Covers for his partner when he is in trouble.
Williams, Josh: Yale Ban. Prep (CSSBP)
Showed star potential. A scoring threat whenever he is on the ice. Reads the play well. Excellent Skater. Strong on his skates. Good anticipation. Plays well away from the puck. Good Shot. Makes soft passes. Finesse player.
Preliminary list AB 2001s, May 2016
Browne, Ethan: SP Flyers (AMBHL)
A PP wizard. This guy is dangerous with any room on the ice. Big solid, balanced center that has some explosive first few steps. Great one-time slap shot, usually from the top of circle on right side.
Byram, Bowen: Leth Gldn Hawks (AMBHL)
Remarkably gifted offensive player with natural play-making ability. An excellent skater with good speed who can change gears without hesitation and loves carrying the puck. Possesses a hard, accurate point shot.
Chorney, Carter: SP Flyers (AMBHL)
Quality two-way player that does everything well. Is adept at taking face-offs, particularly in close and late situations. Has good puck protection abilities and is a solid playmaker.
Dach, Kirby: Fort Saskatchewan (AMBHL)
Excellent skating ability and plus speed. Is a crafty offensive player with very good play-making ability that makes those around him better. Possesses naturally-gifted hands and changes speeds effectively.
Dyck, Carson: Leth Gldn Hawks (AMBHL)
Speedy little offensive-minded player with good acceleration and the ability to handle the puck at high speeds. Possesses plenty of creativity, anticipation ability, and hockey sense.
Keeler, Liam: Edm. SSAC (AMBHL)
Natural offensive forward with excellent hockey sense and two-way ability. Smart, heady winger who is always moving his feet, constantly looking to make an impact on the ice.
Krebs, Peyton: Rocky Mtn Raiders (AMBHL)
Creative offensive player with outstanding hockey sense. Always knows where to be on the ice and can create plays out of nowhere thanks to his exceptional anticipation skills and shiftiness. One of the best skaters from his draft class.
Lee, Jake: SP Flyers (AMBHL)
Good puck-carrier who frequently joins the rush. A good skater with plus mobility and above-average play-making skills. Good offensive defenceman. Plays both sides and Quarterbacks the powerplay. Competitive player who plays physical. Plays with poise and confidence in all situations and can log a ton of minutes when required.
Robertson, Matthew: SP Flyers (AMBHL)
The total package on defence. Exhibits the type of poise and composure with the puck that one would expect from a 10-year veteran. Has excellent size and is efficient at clearing the front of the net and gaining possession of the puck in the corners.
Smallwood, Jakin: Leduc Oil Kings (AMBHL)
Well-rounded forward who plays a strong two-way game and has well above-average play-making skills. A strong passer who can find his teammates all over the ice. Is a good neutral zone player.
Preliminary list ON 2000s, May 2016
Antropov, Danil: Tor Marlboro (GTHL)
Power forward-type who shows flashes of high-end skill. He's a big winger that skates well for his size and can handle the puck. A scoring threat when ever he is on the ice. Gets PP and PK time and plays big minutes. Pro Upside.
Dudas, Aidan: North Central (ETAmn)
He’s a slick, crafty player whose skating ability and explosive speed are hard to handle. Plays with poise, patient and confidence with the puck, and can makes plays in tight. Battles hard in the corners and traffic areas despite his diminutive size. A skilled competitor who combines grit and is willing to initiate contact. Has a very high hockey IQ and knows where to be on the ice at all times.
Holmes, Hunter: Niagara North (SCTA)
Solid two way game. Possesses creativity, anticipation and hockey sense. A defensively conscientious player that contributes on both sides of the puck and uses his physicality to make a difference in all three zones.
Lalonde, Owen: Windsor (AliMin)
Excellent two-way defender with good offensive skills and skating ability. Has a good point shot with quality release and can play the point on the power play.
McBain, Jack: Don Mills (GTHLmn)
Very good size and strength center. Captain. Skating is average with choppy stride. Puck and stick skills are very good. Showed good offensive instincts in and around the net. Early OHL pick in 2016 draft.
McMaster, Adam: Niagara North (SCTA)
One of the best skaters from his draft class. Average sized offensive forward. Very quick hands, stick handling ability. Fluid skater with a great first two steps who can explode past players at this level. Battles hard and gets to the dirty areas. Strong player, can lower his shoulder and fight through checks, does a nice job protecting the puck for his size.
McShane, Allan: Tor Marlboro (GTHL)
A skilled play making centre with excellent vision and soft hands. A good puck-handler who makes those around him better and is effective at utilizing his teammates. Has underrated goal-scoring ability and a plus shot.
Merkley, Ryan: Tor Jr. Canadiens (GTHL)
Excellent skating ability and effortless stride. Can change gears at will without losing a beat, even when carrying the puck. Can find teammates all over the ice with pinpoint precision and accuracy.
Roberts, Connor: Grey-Bruce (SCTA)
A big-bodied centre with natural goal-scoring ability and a plus shot. Extremely effective down low and in front of the goal as a result of his size and puck protection abilities. Very difficult to knock off the puck.
Stratis, Peter: Miss. Rebels (GTHLmn)
One the most complete and OHL-ready of the defenceman. Slick skater able to keep up with anyone. Reads play extremely well. Showed a nice shot that he was able to get off quick. Has the size to excel at the next level and projects as a complete two-way defender.
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1) Prospect Profiles: Alexander Alexeyev, Hunter Holmes & Xavier Bouchard
2) Ask a Coach: University of Vermont Associate Coach Kyle Wallach: Academics, Recruiting & Preparation
3) 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year: November Shortlists
4) Cornered Coach: The Peanut Gallery
5) The Search Begins for the 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year