CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in conjunction with the National Hockey League Coaches’ Association, announced Monday the names of the six finalists for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of CJHL Coach of the Year for the 2021-22 campaign.
This honour, presented annually by the CJHL and NHLCA, is in memory of Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant Mark Cross, who were among those who sadly lost their lives following the tragic events of April 6, 2018.
Each of the finalists were determined through a voting process completed by the CJHL’s nine-member leagues, for their respective contributions over the course of the regular season.
The following are the six nominees for CJHL Coach of the Year, which are listed alphabetically, by league:
RYAN PAPAIOANNOU, BROOKS BANDITS (AJHL): Papaioannou, who also serves as the Bandits’ general manager was the 2021-22 AJHL Coach of the Year recipient. … This marked the third occasion he earned the award, doing likewise in 2013 and 2019. … Papaioannou also named CJHL Coach of the Year in 2013. … The 38-year-old coached Brooks to a first-place finish for the fifth time, and their fourth 50+ win season, to capture the Dave Duchak Trophy as AJHL Regular Season Champions. Serving as Bandits head coach and GM since 2010, he is a two-time Canadian National Junior A Champion and five-time AJHL champion. … Brooks completed the 2021-22 regular season with a record of 52-6-2 and 106 points. … The Bandits will enter the AJHL Record Book tied for third in the category of most wins (52), tied for sixth overall for fewest losses (6) and tied for fourth in the category of most points (106). Brooks led the AJHL with 371 goals for, placing them second in the AJHL Record Book behind the 1972-73 Calgary Canucks.
With files from Charla Flett, V.P., Communications (AJHL)
RICK DORVAL, HAWKESBURY HAWKS (CCHL): Dorval, 38, has been with the Hawks since 2013-14 when he came in as an assistant coach after moving on from his head coach position with the Ottawa Jr. A Senators in which he last won the CCHL Coach of the Year Award with during the 2012-13 season. … He would become the Hawks’ head coach beginning in 2015-16 and then added the general manager tag beginning in 2019-20. … This season, he helped lead Hawkesbury to an impressive 36-12-3-2 record on the ice, good enough for second-best among all 12 CCHL teams. … Under Dorval, the Hawks boasted a league-leading PP% at 21.4% and a league-best PK% at 88.5%. … The Hawks also sat second overall in goals scored with 200 and boasted the second-best goals-for/goals-against differential at plus-77.
With files from Sean Marcellus, Director of Operations (CCHL)
LAURIE BARRON, YARMOUTH JR. A MARINERS (MHL): This season Barron won the MHL’s coach of the year award for a third time, in an honour, which is voted on by his peers. … The head coach and general manager of the Mariners previously won the award in 2011-12 and 2017-18. … Barron’s Mariners captured the Eastlink South Division regular season title with a 25-8-4-1 record and had the second-best point percentage in the league at .724. … Yarmouth had the second-best goal differential at plus-46 with the second-fewest allowed and third-most goals scored. … The team had the fourth-best penalty-killing percentage at 83.0% and the third-best powerplay percentage at 24.6%.
With files from James Faulkner, Director of Communications (MHL)
BRANDON PERRY, TIMMINS ROCK (NOJHL): In his first full season behind the Timmins bench, Perry guided the Rock to a NOJHL East Division title with a solid 33-8-5-2 overall record. … That saw Timmins boast the second-best record overall in the 12-team NOJHL. … His team also scored the most goals in the league in 2021-22 with 225 and allowed the second-fewest at 124 against. … Their plus-101 goal differential was tops in the league. … The Rock scored the second-most power play markers in the NOJHL at 62 and their power play proficiency percentage of 22.8 was third highest in the league. … The honour saw him serve as the NOJHL’s nominee for the prestigious Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of the CJHL’s Coach of the Year, presented by the NHL Coaches’ Association.
With files from: Scott Marshall, Statistician/Webmaster (NOJHL)
ROB PEARSON, PICKERING PANTHERS (OJHL): Ahead of 2021-22, it looked like a rebuilding season for the Pickering Panthers and their head coach and general manager, Rob Pearson. … It’s been anything but. … The Panthers finished (39-11-0-4) to easily win their second straight OJHL North Division regular season title and finish one point out of first overall in the 21-team league. … How did it happen? … Former Panthers returned to the Durham Region centre during the season, others were acquired from other teams and still others developed from within the Pickering system. … The constant has been Pearson. … The former NHLer has spent the past four seasons behind the bench in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, including the first two with the rival Whitby Fury (now the Haliburton County Huskies). … In 2019-20, Pearson, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1989, led Pickering to a first-place finish in the OJHL’s North Division with a solid 32-18-2-2 mark. … This year? Even better numbers. … The Panthers also posted a four-game sweep in their opening round playoff series in 2020 before the remainder of the postseason was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With files from Jim Mason, Director of Communications (OJHL)
BRAYDEN KLIMOSKO, BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS (SJHL): The SJHL-championship coach the last time there was a winner in the 2018-19 campaign, Klimosko’s Stars were the best team in the league before the pandemic shut it down in 2019-2020. …Working with an almost entirely rebuilt club this season, the young and plucky Stars still managed 35 wins, and a fourth-seed heading to the post-season under the tutelage of Klimosko, and without the same star-power as the teams around them in the standings. … The list of players who have vastly improved under Klimosko is large, and his reputation as a competitive yet supremely classy individual is solidified and clear throughout the SJHL. … A Humboldt, Sask., native, and a beloved alumnus of his hometown team, his current club is routinely one of, if not the hardest playing and competing groups in the SJHL, all the while the respect and friendliness Brayden and his assistant Gary Childerhose show wherever they go is a credit to the Battlefords organization, and the league as a whole.
With files from Logan Fraser, Director of Marketing & Communications (SJHL)
Earning honourable mention recognition for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award for CJHL Coach of the Year, presented in conjunction with the NHL Coaches’ Association, for 2021-22 were the following:
Last season’s recipient, Pier-Alexandre Poulin, Condors du Cégep Beauce-Appalaches (LHJAAAQ) as well as Doug Hedley, Dauphin Kings (MJHL) & Matt Valley, Kam River Fighting Walleye (SIJHL).
ABOUT THE NHL COACHES’ ASSOCIATION (NHLCA): The NHL Coaches’ Association is a professional organization that provides support and assistance to the head, associate, assistant, goalie and video coaches of the 32 teams in the National Hockey League. Recognized and supported by the NHL, the NHLCA and its members seek to develop future coaches, give back to the hockey community, and grow the game of hockey globally. One of the Association’s primary objectives is to help develop all hockey coaches from the youth level up to the highest levels of hockey, as the NHLCA strongly believes that coaches are important leaders within their communities, serving as role models at every level of the game. Together, the NHLCA and their members are committed to supporting all coaches in their initiatives of guiding, motivating, and inspiring players of all ages.
Photo credit: Thomas Perry/Timmins Daily Press