Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of the league’s three Academic Player of the Year awards for the 2017-18 season.
Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy as Scholastic Player of the Year, with Stephen Gibson of the Mississauga Steelheads earning the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the Top Post-Secondary School Student, and Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack named the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award recipient for Top High School Student.
All three players will be formally presented with their awards at the annual OHL Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 6. Hayton will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Scholastic Player of the Year which will be announced on Saturday May 26 as part of the events at the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Regina.
Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Post-Secondary Student) – Stephen Gibson, Mississauga Steelheads:
Stephen Gibson earns his second straight academic honour for his post-secondary studies at Ryerson University excelling once again in his Business courses that include Business Information Systems, Business Law, Business Statistics, Intro to Global Management, Intro to Professional Communication, and Public Relations Principles. This also marks the third straight season the award has been earned by a Steelheads player with Damian Bourne receiving the honour in 2016.
“I am very honoured to once again be the recipient of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award,” said Gibson. “I would like to thank Elliott Kerr, James Richmond, and the entire Mississauga Steelheads organization for allowing me to pursue my hockey goals while supporting my academic endeavours. I would also like to thank the Ontario Hockey League for creating an environment that allows players to further their education while they are playing in the league. The OHL is the best developmental hockey league in the world, while providing players every resource needed to be successful off the ice.”
The 21-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., finished his five-year OHL tenure with the Steelheads as the club’s leader in career games played with 263 after being chosen in the seventh round of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. The overage defenceman recorded one goal and nine assists for 10 points playing in all 68 regular season games in 2017-18.
“Our Steelheads family are very proud of Stephen and this prestigious accomplishment,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond. “He is a super person both on and off the ice and we’re happy that he is once again being recognized for his dedication to not only his athletic performance but also for his academic achievements. Congratulations Stephen and we wish you continued success!”
The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honour of the Hall of Fame Coach who served behind the Peterborough Petes bench in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players. First presented in 2005, fellow two-time winners include Danny Battochio (Ottawa 2005-06) and Derek Lanoue (Windsor 2010-11).
Finalists for the award include William Sirman of the Windsor Spitfires and Jonathan Yantsis of the Kitchener Rangers.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2017-18 OHL Scholastic Team:
2017-18 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Nathan Allensen
Erie Otters – Maxim Golod
Flint Firebirds – Ty Dellandrea*
Guelph Storm – Owen Lalonde*
Hamilton Bulldogs – Jake Murray
Kingston Frontenacs – Ted Nichol
Kitchener Rangers – Riley Damiani*
London Knights – Billy Moskal
Mississauga Steelheads – Jacob Ingham
Niagara IceDogs – Ben Jones*
North Bay Battalion – Travis Mailhot
Oshawa Generals – Allan McShane
Ottawa 67’s – Kevin Bahl
Owen Sound Attack – Aidan Dudas
Peterborough Petes – Zach Gallant**
Saginaw Spirit – Damien Giroux*
Sarnia Sting – Colton Kammerer
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Barrett Hayton
Sudbury Wolves – Peter Stratis
Windsor Spitfires – Curtis Douglas
*member of 2016-17 OHL Scholastic Team
**member of 2015-16 OHL Scholastic Team