NOJHL announces 2013-14 award winners



Release Date: Saturday, March 8, 2014

NOJHL announces 2013-14 award winners
Thunderbirds lead the way with 6 recipients, including Horodziejczyk named MVP

SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Saturday a number of its award recipients for the 2013-14 season and leading the way were the Soo Thunderbirds, the NOJHL regular season title holder and the top ranked club in the entire 128-team Canadian Junior Hockey League, as they garnered six honours.

Highlighting the award winners is Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk, who has been named the NOJHL’s most valuable player along with his Sault Ste. Marie teammate Gavin Burbach, who picked up the best overall team player nod.

The following is a rundown on each of the NOJHL award honourees:

CARLO CATTARELLO TROPHY NOJHL MVP – JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Was earlier named a first team NOJHL all-star in net. … Enters the final week of the regular season having had a tremendous 2013-14 campaign helping backstop his team to the league’s regular season crown as well as aiding his team’s effort to earn the nod as the No. 1 ranked squad in the CJHL. … Has not suffered a loss in his past 26 starts posting an impressive 25-0-1-0 record in that span. … Leads all NOJHL goaltenders in goals-against average and save percentage at 1.77 and .933 respectively while going 28-2-1-0 overall. … Sits second in shutouts with three. … Presently boasts the third-best average in the CJHL and tied for fourth in save percentage among all CJHL goalkeepers, who played a minimum of 1,000 minutes this season. … Represented the NOJHL at the CJHL Prospects games, the Canada East evaluation camp, the Central Canada Challenge Cup event and the Summer Select Showcase. … Was the winning goaltender when CJHL East won the President’s Cup Prospects Games title. … Has played more minutes than any goalkeeper in the league at just over 1,932. The 19-year-old goaltender hails from Sudbury.

NOJHL TROPHY BEST OVERALL TEAM PLAYER GAVIN BURBACH, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Enters the final weekend of the season leading all NOJHL skaters in offensive production with 84 points. … Also leads the league in goals with 47. … Goal and points totals are a career single season highs as he tops the T-Birds in scoring. … Has scored 20% of his club’s goals so far this season. … Tied for third overall in game-winning markers with six. … Sits knotted for fourth in the NOJHL in both power play markers and shorthanded efforts with 11 and four respectively. … At one point this season scored in 10 consecutive games. … Suited up for Team NOJHL at the Central Canada Challenge Cup over the holidays. … The Michigan native serves as captain of the Thunderbirds.

NOJHL TROPHY BEST DEFENSEMAN – TYLER JONES, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The veteran blueliner has been a force on the Thunderbirds’ back-end all season long. … Leads all Sault Ste. Marie rearguards in offensive production with 38 points in 52 outings entering the T-Birds final two games of the regular season. … Four of his 10 tallies have been game-winners. … His club has gone 24-2-1-0 in games where he has recorded at least one point. … Hails from Mason, Mich.

JOHN GRIGNON TROPHY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – OWEN HEADRICK, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – As a first-year player Headrick stepped right into the Sault Ste. Marie line-up and was solid both defensively and offensively. … The 16-year-old defenceman, who hails from nearby Garden River was second in team scoring among D-men scoring eight times while doling out 21 assists. … The Thunderbirds were 22-0-0-1 in games in which he registered at least one point. … Is a draft choice of the OHL’s Erie Otters.
MITCH TETREAULT MEMORIAL TROPHY TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD – BRAD EDWARDS, ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – Persevering from a season-ending broken leg that prematurely ended his 2012-13 campaign, Edwards returned this year and has seen action in 41 games and was solid in going against the other team’s top players on a nightly basis. … Also contributed by putting the pressure on his opponents with some solid offensive numbers by tallying 12 times, including a pair of game-winners, and dishing out 17 assists for 29 points. The 20-year-old forward is a native of Napanee, Ont.

GILLES LAPERRIERE TROPHY MOST IMPROVED PLAYER – KHADYN BUTTERFLY, SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The defenceman was recognized for his efforts that saw him dramatically improve his offensive numbers from a year ago. … After picking up five assists in 41 outings in 2012-13, the 18-year-old Moosenee, Ont., product has scored 10 times this season and set-up 20 others for the Nickel Barons. … Leads all Sudbury blueliners in scoring and is also fourth overall on the team. … Is tied for fourth overall in points among NOJHL defencemen. …  Played for Team NOJHL at the Central Canada Cup Challenge in late December.

ONAPING FALLS HUSKIES TROPHY MOST GENTLEMANLY PLAYER – BRETT WAGNER, ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – Was named a second team NOJHL all-star. … A stellar 2013-14 campaign has seen Wagner figure in on an impressive 38% of his teams goals on the season with either a tally or helper. … Sits fifth overall in the league scoring with 74 points. …Is second in the NOJHL in goals scored with 41. … His nine shorthanded tallies are the most in the league. … Nine of his tallies have been game-winners, which ties him for the most in the entire league. … Represented the NOJHL at the Central Canada Cup Challenge. Calls Centennial, Colo., home.

RED MCCARTHY MEMORIAL TROPHY COACH OF THE YEAR – JORDAN SMITH – SOO THUNDERBIRDS – In his first year behind the Thunderbirds bench has guided his team to the best record in the NOJHL along with already having secured the league’s regular season title. … His efforts have helped his hometown Sault Ste. Marie squad boast being the No. 1 ranked club in the Canadian Junior Hockey League the past five weeks, including earning the No. 1 nod in the final CJHL rankings of the season. … His team had a 25-game winning streak earlier this season. … Smith’s team boasts the fewest regulation time losses of any team in the entire 128-team CJHL with five. … Was an assistant coach at the Central Canada Cup Challenge.

JOE DRAGO TROPHY DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR – KEVIN CAIN, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Named after the former NOJHL Commissioner and current Hockey Canada executive vice-chair, Cain garnered the Joe Drago award for building the top team in both the NOJHL and the CJHL. … He compiled a solid roster of home grown talent and players from the surrounding area and hired coach of the year Jordan Smith to guide the Thunderbirds fortunes behind the bench. … The line-up he brought together has set multiple franchise records for consecutive wins, home victories and triumphs in a season.
The following other league awards will be announced once confirmed and finalized:

League scoring champion

Team goaltending award

Top goals-against average

Scholastic player of the year

Regular season champion: The Soo Thunderbirds have already secured the James Aspen Trophy emblematic of being the NOJHL’s regular season champions. The award will be officially handed out upon the completion of the regular season and once the club’s final overall record is known.