The Canadian Hockey League announced its annual award winners on Saturday at a banquet in London, Ontario. Ten CHL award winners were announced; the list includes one player from this year’s Mastercard Memorial Cup, two from the OHL’s Erie Otters and several who are upcoming draft-eligible prospects.
Sam Bennett, of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, was named Jack Link’s Top Prospect of the Year. Bennett, just 17 years of age, scored 91 points this season, including 36 goals and 55 assists, in just 57 games. He finished the season as a plus-34. Bennett is ranked first overall by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters heading into this year’s draft.
The OHL’s Erie Otters had two players receiving awards at Saturday’s CHL banquet. First was Otters captain Connor Brown, a 2012 draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brown led all CHL players across all three leagues in scoring. He had 128 points on the season, including 45 goals and 83 assists in 68 games. Brown established a new Erie Otters team record for scoring and helped the team to its best season in franchise history.
Joining Brown on the awards panel is teammate Connor McDavid. The 17-year-old top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft was named SUBWAY Scholastic Player of the Year. McDavid earned a 92% average during his first semester and carries an 87% average in his final semester of 11th grade. This makes McDavid the second Erie Otters player in franchise history to be named the CHL Scholastic Player of the Year. Brad Boyes received the honor after the 1999-2000 season.
Center Sam Fioretti of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors was named Humanitarian of the Year for his impact on the ice and in the community. In his fourth and final year in the WHL, Fioretti helped with several team and community initiatives, including a partnership between his team and the local police service to visit local schools and speak out against bullying.
Sam Reinhart of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice was named Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year. He had just 11 penalty minutes all season and finished fourth in league scoring with 105 points. At 18, Reinhart is another top prospect heading into this year’s NHL Draft.
Baie-Comeau Drakkar head coach Eric Veilleux was named CHL Coach of the Year. His team finished first in the QMJHL with 99 points and an overall record of 47-16-2-3.
Another top prospect who received an award Saturday was QMJHLer Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads, who was named BMO Rookie of the Year. Ehlers scored 104 points in 63 games, including 49 goals and 55 assists. The 18-year-old is the top-ranked QMJHL prospect, ranked 13th by Central Scouting heading into this year’s draft.
Kelowna Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke was named Vaughn Goaltender of the Year. Cooke had a 39-7-0-4 record, including four shutouts, and helped the Rockets to the first-place spot in the Western Hockey League.
Derrick Pouliot was named CHL Defenceman of the Year. The Portland Winterhawks blueliner scored 70 points (17-53) in 58 games and finished the season a plus-40. Pouliot, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, helped Portland to its second straight division title.
Finally, Val-d’Or Foreurs right winger Anthony Mantha was named Sportsnet Player of the Year. Mantha led the QMJHL in scoring, with 120 points in 57 games. He’s a 2013 draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings and also represented Canada at this year’s World Junior Championship. Mantha averaged a goal per game this season and had 63 assists.