Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that draft eligible forward Owen Beck of the Mississauga Steelheads is the 2021-22 recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year presented by CIBC.
Beck is the latest Steelheads player to earn academic recognition from a program that has produced recent Bobby Smith Trophy winners in Thomas Harley (2019) and Nicolas Hague (2016). The 18-year-old centreman has been busy in the classroom, carrying a heavy course load that includes Advanced Functions (96%), University Chemistry (93%), Kinesiology (94%), Calculus (91%) and University Biology (93%), resulting in an overall average of over 93% in his Grade 12 studies at Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School. On the ice, Beck came in as the 10th ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft following a rookie season that yielded 21 goals, 30 assists and 51 points in 68 games for the Steelheads.
“Education has always been important to me throughout my hockey career,” said Beck. “Being able to balance two busy activities has given me life skills and characteristics that I will use for the rest of my life. On top of that, as much as every hockey player wants to make a career out of hockey, not everybody always can for reasons beyond the person’s control. I have worked very hard over the past several years to make sure I have put myself in a position where if hockey unfortunately doesn’t work out I have a solid education and many opportunities available to move forward with another career.”
A native of Port Hope, Ont., Beck emerged as one of the OHL’s premier presences in the faceoff circle, winning 60.6% of his draws. He was voted the Eastern Conference’s top face-off man in the OHL Coaches Poll. Following an impressive season that included being named the OHL’s Rookie of the Month in November, Beck helped the Steelheads reach the second round of the OHL Playoffs, recording six points (1-5–6) in 10 games. He was Mississauga’s second round (29th overall) pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.
“The Mississauga Steelheads would like to congratulate Owen Beck for being named this year’s Bobby Smith Trophy recipient,” said Steelheads Head Coach and General Manager James Richmond. “The entire organization is so proud of Owen for everything we all see every game on the ice but even more so for what he does in the classroom. This is a huge accomplishment! Owen’s commitment and dedication both in the classroom and on the ice is exceptional and he’s a very deserving recipient of this prestigious award.”
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, a former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. Past recipients since the award was first presented in 1980 include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2008), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Erik Gudbranson (Kingston 2010), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), Adam Pelech (Erie 2012), Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), back-to-back winner Connor McDavid (Erie 2014, ’15), Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 2017), Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie 2018), Thomas Harley (Mississauga 2019) and Cole Perfetti (Saginaw 2020).
Next in line for the award were a pair of other draft eligibles in forward Matthew Poitras of the Guelph Storm and top-ranked prospect Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2021-22 OHL Scholastic Team:
2021-22 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Hunter Haight
Erie Otters – Nolan Lalonde
Flint Firebirds – Ethan Hay
Guelph Storm – Matthew Poitras
Hamilton Bulldogs – Patrick Thomas
Kingston Frontenacs – Shane Wright
Kitchener Rangers – Jacob LeBlanc
London Knights – Isaiah George
Mississauga Steelheads – Owen Beck
Niagara IceDogs – Isaac Enright
North Bay Battalion – Tnias Mathurin
Oshawa Generals – Calum Ritchie
Ottawa 67’s – Will Gerrior
Owen Sound Attack – Colby Barlow
Peterborough Petes – Sam Alfano
Saginaw Spirit – P.J. Forgione
Sarnia Sting – Ryan Mast
Soo Greyhounds – Bryce McConnell-Barker
Sudbury Wolves – Evan Konyen
Windsor Spitfires – Ethan Miedema