Former NOJHL & Thunderbirds’ stalwart Headrick named ECHL Defenceman of the Year

Story courtesy ECHL

The ECHL on Wednesday announced that Owen Headrick of the Idaho Steelheads is the ECHL Defenseman of the Year for 2022-23 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members.

The ECHL Defenseman of the Year award is presented annually to the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position.

Matt Register of Idaho finished second, followed by Greenville’s Max Martin, Michael Brodzinski of Orlando and Wichita’s Cole MacDonald.

The winner of the Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year award will be announced on Thursday.

Named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and the All-ECHL First Team last week, Headrick led all ECHL defensemen with 15 goals and four game-winning goals, was tied for first with 54 points, was tied for third with six power-play goals, ranked fifth with 24 power-play points and third with a +35 rating.

Headrick joins Sacha Guimond (2012-13), Brandon Smith (1994-95) and Kelly Szautner (1988-89) as the only rookies to be named Defenseman of the Year in ECHL history.

NOJHL DAYS: Headrick spent the 2013-14 & 2014-15 seasons on defence with the Soo Thunderbirds.

He was named NOJHL Rookie of the Year in 2014 and the following year he helped lead the Thunderbirds to both the league championship and the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A crown and berth in the then RBC Cup nationals, which was held in Portage la Prairie, Man.

The Terriers are also hosting this year’s Centennial Cup, May 11-21.