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NOJHL announces its 2019-20 award recipients

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday its award honourees for the 2019-20 season.

Earning the NOJHL’s top individual honour, the Carlo Cattarello Trophy as Most Valuable Player is Blind River Beavers captain Caleb Serre.

The following is the list of award recipients for the 2019-20 campaign.

CARLO CATTARELLO TROPHY – NOJHL MVP: Caleb Serre, Blind River Beavers: Serre had a tremendous year for Blind River, leading all NOJHL skaters in goals (47); assists (66); points (113); power play tallies (17); man advantage helpers (26) and game-winning goals (10).

In his final season of Jr. A hockey, Serre has played in 210 regular contests in the NOJHL while collecting 269 points on 117 goals while helping set-up 152 others.

NOJHL TROPHY – BEST DEFENCEMAN: Mattias Salem, Espanola Express: A breakout campaign saw the 20-year-old blueliner from Brampton, Ont., pace all league blueliners in offensive production with 66 points as he notched a NOJHL-best 16 goals among defencemen while adding 50 assists along the way.

Salem also finished fourth in overall league scoring, marking the first time in two decades a defenceman finished in the Top 5, among all skaters, in that department.

JOHN GRIGNON TROPHY – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (1ST YEAR PLAYING JR. HOCKEY): Nicholas DeGrazia, Rayside-Balfour Canadians: Making his mark in his initial season of Jr. A hockey, DeGrazia led all NOJHL rookies in goals with 32 in just 42 outings and tied in overall points with 61.

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native also provided five game-winning markers, which knotted him for first among rookies.

DeGrazia was also a member of Team Canada East that captured a silver medal at the most recent World Junior A Challenge held in Dawson Creek, B.C.

GILLES LAPERRIERE TROPHY – MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Josh Dickson, Timmins Rock: The 19-year-old from Port Perry, Ont., saw his enhanced efforts produce a 26-point improvement from the 2018-19 season.

Dickson’s contributions saw him establish personal bests during the campaign in goals (26); assists (31) and points (57).

He also led all Timmins skaters in overall scoring that featured 17 multi-point games.

MITCH TETREAULT MEMORIAL TROPHY – TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD: Derek Seguin, Timmins Rock: The veteran Rock forward contributed mightily on both ends of the ice once again this season.

Not only playing at over a point-per-game pace for Timmins, the 19-year-old from South Porcupine, Ont., defensive efforts saw Seguin help his club allow a league-low 100 goals against.

Through his first 138 NOJHL match-ups, the Rock captain has produced 146 points, including 72 markers.

WAYNE CHASE MEMORIAL AWARD – BEST GOALS-AGAINST AVERAGE: Tyler Masternak, Timmins Rock: In another record-setting year with Timmins, Masternak boasted a league-leading goals-against average of 1.66, to pace all NOJHL netminders in that department.

In all, the 19-year-old from Oshawa, Ont., only allowed 52 pucks to get past him in 2019-20 while having a record of 24-6-1-1.

On top of that, Masternak also broke his own league record of shutouts in a single season with eight, besting the six he produced in 2018-19.

NOJHL TEAM GOALTENDING AWARD (FEWEST GOALS ALLOWED) – Timmins Rock: Through the season, the Rock only gave up 100 goals against.

At the century mark, that total was 41 fewer than their nearest competitor.

This was also the least goals given up in a single season since Soo Thunderbirds allowed 93 back in 2015-16.

JIMMY CONNORS MEMORIAL TROPHY – NOJHL SCORING CHAMPION: Caleb Serre, Blind River Beavers: Serre’s solid season saw him lead all players in the NOJHL in nearly every offensive category.

This featured a league-high 113 points while also pacing everyone else in goals (47); assists (66); points (113); power play tallies (17); man advantage assists (26) and game-winning goals (10).

DAVID HARRISON TROPHY – MOST GENTLEMANLY PLAYER: Tomas Yachmenev, Powassan Voodoos: This marks the second consecutive occasion that Yachmenev has earned this prestigious honour named after the NOJHL’s long-time statistician and historian.

Not only did Yachmenev, who just turned 20 on Monday, finish fifth in NOJHL scoring this season with 63 points, in only 53 games, he accomplished his feat by only incurring two minor penalties throughout the entire 2019-20 campaign.

Calling Nashville, Tenn., home, he registered 30 tallies and 33 helpers, which along with his point totals, were all personal bests for the veteran Voodoos forward.

Through 162 career NOJHL contests, Yachmenev only has 20 minutes in penalties.

NOJHL TROPHY – BEST OVERALL TEAM PLAYER: Mattias Salem, Espanola Express: An anchor on both ends of the ice for the Express, Salem figured in on 40 percent of Espanola’s goal totals throughout the year.

He also led all NOJHL defencemen in offensive production with 66 points, which was also the fourth highest total among all league skaters.

MIRL “RED” MCCARTHY MEMORIAL AWARD – NOJHL COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Clancy, Espanola Express: Clancy was recognized for his efforts behind the bench with the Express.

As head coach of Espanola, he guided his club to a seven-win and 16-point improvement in the league standings while also leading the Express to a playoff berth for first time since 2016.

Under Clancy’s guidance, his team has increased their win and point totals each campaign with the club.

THE JOE DRAGO TROPHY – NOJHL DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Blaine Smith, Rayside-Balfour Canadians: The veteran hockey man’s contributions to the league helped formulate another successful year in the NOJHL.

His efforts also helped Rayside-Balfour claim a West Division title while bolstering the club’s off-ice success along the way and contributing to league matters and the betterment of the NOJHL.

JAMES ASPIN TROPHY – NOJHL REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONS: Powassan Voodoos: They led all NOJHL clubs with a league-high 92 points by going 45-9-1-1 on the season.

GARY HALL MEMORIAL AWARD – NOJHL EAST CHAMPION: Powassan Voodoos: The Voodoos also earned this award for their on-ice achievements in 2019-20.

WILLIAM SIDNEY JONES MEMORIAL TROPHY – NOJHL WEST CHAMPION: Rayside-Balfour Canadians: RBC topped the West Division after going 40-11-3-2 on the year.

The NOJHL also announced Wednesday its first and second all-star team recipients with the players and team staff members being recognized for their achievements, efforts and contributions with their respective clubs this season.

1ST ALL-STAR TEAM

FORWARD: Caleb Serre, Blind River Beavers – Serre had a tremendous year for Blind River, leading all NOJHL skaters in goals (47); assists (66); points (113); power play tallies (17); man advantage assists (26) and game-winning goals (10).

In his final season of Jr. A hockey, Serre has played in 210 regular contests in the NOJHL while collecting 269 points on 117 goals while helping set-up 152 others.

FORWARD: Parker Bowman, Powassan Voodoos – Bowman had a big year with his efforts and accomplishments helping lead Powassan to the best record in the NOJHL.

The 20-year-old from Bracebridge, Ont., amassed 88 points, in just 54 outings on 38 tallies and 50 assists.

Those totals saw him finish second in NOJHL scoring while also ending up second overall in power play goals and man advantage points with 13 and 29 respectively.

FORWARD: Nicholas DeGrazia, Rayside-Balfour Canadians – Making his mark in his initial season of Jr. A hockey, DeGrazia led all NOJHL rookies in goals with 32 in just 42 outings and tied in overall points with 61.

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native also provided five game-winning markers, which knotted him for first among rookies.

DeGrazia was also a member of Team Canada East that captured a silver medal at the most recent World Junior A Challenge held in Dawson Creek, B.C.

DEFENCE: Mattias Salem, Espanola Express – A breakout campaign saw the 20-year-old blueliner from Brampton, Ont., pace all league blueliners in offensive production with 66 points as he notched a NOJHL-best 16 goals among defencemen while adding 50 assists as well.

Salem also finished fourth in overall league scoring, marking the first time in two decades a defenceman finished in the Top 5 among all skaters in that department.

DEFENCE: Josh Anderson, Timmins Rock – A solid force on both ends of the ice earns Anderson league all-star recognition for a second straight campaign.

The 20-year-old blueliner not only set career single-season highs in assists and points with 38 and 49, he also matched his personal-best goal total with 11.

Leading all Rock blueliners in offensive production, Anderson finished third overall among rearguards while also helping Timmins allow the fewest goals in the league.

GOALTENDER: Owen Say, Powassan Voodoos – In his first year in the NOJHL, Say was sensational.

In 36 appearances, the 18-year-old London, Ont., product led all NOJHL netminders in victories with 31 and was also tops in save percentage at .941.

Say also had a goals-against average of 1.90 and was a member of the silver medal-winning Team Canada East side at the World Junior A Challenge.

GENERAL MANAGER: Jeff Forsyth, Rayside-Balfour Canadians – In his first year as GM with RBC, Forsyth’s efforts aided in the Canadians taking the NOJHL’s West Division crown with a record of 40-11-3-2.

He also helped build a Rayside-Balfour roster that featured 11 rookies on it, with many of them being among the top contributors in the league this season.

COACH: Dave Clancy, Espanola Express – Clancy is recognized for his efforts behind the bench with the Express.

As head coach of Espanola, he guided his club to a seven-win and 16-point improvement in the league standings while also leading the Express to a playoff berth for first time since 2016.

Under Clancy’s guidance, his team has increased their win and point totals each campaign with the club.

TRAINER/EQUIPMENT MANAGER: Chris Seguin, Espanola Express/J.J. Johnson, Powassan Voodoos/Ginette Trottier, Rayside-Balfour Canadians – This trio of team staff members were instrumental, both home and away, all season long in serving their clubs in this capacity.

Their efforts and contributions have been vital to their teams and the NOJHL.

2ND ALL-STAR TEAM

FORWARD: Tomas Yachmenev, Powassan – Yachmenev finished fifth in NOJHL scoring this season with 63 points, in only 53 games.

From Nashville, Tenn., he registered 30 tallies and 33 helpers, which along with his point totals, were all personal bests for the veteran Voodoos forward.

Through 162 career NOJHL contests, Yachmenev racked up 169 point and only 20 minutes in penalties.

FORWARD: Dominic Skrelja, Soo Eagles – The Eagles captain guided his club to yet another playoff berth while playing at a point-per-game pace.

The 20-year-old from South Lyons, Mich., led the Michigan Soo in both goals and points with 28 and 54 respectively and also provided a team-leading six game-winning markers.

Skrelja also only picked up six minor penalties all season long through 54 games played.

FORWARD: Jacob Kovacs, Soo Thunderbirds – In his first year in the NOJHL, Kovacs led the Thunderbirds in scoring with 58 points in 50 outings on 27 tallies and 31 assists while chipping in with five game-winning goals.

As the second-youngest full-time skater in the league in 2019-20 with his hometown Sault Ste. Marie side, the 16-year-old Kovacs tied for ninth in overall offensive numbers while finishing near the top in nearly every offensive category among rookies.

DEFENCE: Zachary Snow, Rayside-Balfour Canadians – A veteran presence on the Rayside-Balfour blueline, the Canadians captain, who hails from Acton, Ont., was a key cog in the club’s success helping lead a rookie-laden roster.

Not only did he pace all defencemen in scoring on the team in this his final year of Jr. A play, Snow set personal single-season bests in goals, assists and points with 11, 26 and 37 respectively.

DEFENCE: Hayden Clark, Soo Eagles – A solid defender, Clark was relied on heavily by the Eagles on both ends of the ice.

Set to turn 20 later this month, the Hampshire, Illinois native matched a personal single-season high in points with 33, but more importantly helped bolter the back-end of his squad.

Clark, a three-year veteran of the NOJHL, has 85 points to his credit in 137 games with 17 markers and 68 helpers.

GOALTENDER: Tyler Masternak, Timmins Rock – In another record-setting year with Timmins, Masternak boasted a league-leading goals-against average of 1.66, to pace all NOJHL netminders in that department.

In all, the 19-year-old from Oshawa, Ont., only allowed 52 pucks to get past him in 2019-20 while having a record of 24-6-1-1.

On top of that, Masternak also broke his own league record of shutouts in a single season with eight, besting the six he produced in 2018-19.

GENERAL MANAGER: Derek Callahan, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners – Callahan’s contributions helped keep his club competitive, especially the back half of the season, which resulted in the Gold Miners make the playoffs.

His efforts helped bring in 10 rookies to the Kirkland Lake line-up and bolster the progress and potential success in the years to come.

COACH: Max Gavin, Powassan Voodoos – Gavin guided Powassan to the best record in the NOJHL.

His team ended up with 92 points on a 45-9-1-1 mark and earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

TRAINER/EQUIPMENT MANAGER: Lacey Rigg, Timmins Rock/Carla Vine, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners/Tom Bain, Rayside-Balfour Canadians – Three other vital pieces to the success of not only their teams, but the league as a whole, this trio, like the first-team counterparts in this category, played pivotal roles in their work as athletic trainers and equipment managers.