AJHL Announces 2016-2017 League Award Winners

Photo – Target Photography:

In partnership with RBC, the Alberta Junior Hockey League is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 League Award Winners in six major categories.  The awards include Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Outstanding Defenceman, Top Goaltender, Most Dedicated Player and Coach of the Year. 

The award recipients will be presented with a trophy and recognized at a home game throughout the final weekend of the AJHL regular season and 2017 AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs.

Through an initial phase of voting, the Alberta Junior Hockey League General Managers and Coaches selected finalists from both divisions for each of the awards.  The award winners listed below were determined through a second and final stage of voting.

Most Valuable Player- Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy / Outstanding Defenceman- W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy

Defenceman Cale Makar of the Brooks Bandits is the 2016-2017 Alberta Junior Hockey League MVP and recipient of the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy as Outstanding Defenceman. 

The 18 year-old Calgarian is projected by NHL Central Scouting as a potential first round draft pick in the upcoming 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and sits tenth in the AJHL Scoring Race with 63 points (19 goals, 44 assists) in 50 games played, leading all AJHL defencemen. His 63 points are a franchise record for a defenceman, and he also sits 1 goal and 1 assist back of the franchise defenceman records for each of those statistics.

Makar was named captain of Team Canada West at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge in December.  He was also selected to Team West for the 2017 CJHL Prospects Game in January and captured the President’s Cup in a 4-3 victory over Team East.

Cale was the recipient of the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month Award in November 2016.  He was also recognized as a Canalta Hotels AJHL Player of the Week in November, and was selected as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game ten times throughout the regular season.

Makar is the third Bandit in franchise history to win the Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy as League MVP, after Cam Maclise in 2012-2013 and co-winner Jarret Granberg in 2008-2009.  The only Bandits player to previously win the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy was Linden Springer in 2014-2015.

Makar was named the recipient of the Dick White Trophy in the 2015-2016 season as AJHL Rookie of the Year after posting 55 points (10 goals, 45 assists) in 54 games in his debut season.  Makar went on to win the CJHL Rookie of the Year Award, was a unanimous selection to the AJHL South All-Rookie team, and one of two defenceman on the AJHL South All-League Team.

Makar is currently committed to the NCAA Division I University of Massachusetts to begin his NCAA hockey career.

• 2016-2017 Most Valuable Player Award Finalists: Cale Makar – Brooks Bandits; Logan Drackett – Calgary Canucks; Justin Young – Whitecourt Wolverines; Ian Mitchell – Spruce Grove Saints
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Bobby McMann – Bonnyville Pontiacs

The Outstanding Defenceman award is given annually to the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season.  

• 2016-2017 Outstanding Defenceman Award Finalists: Cale Makar – Brooks Bandits; Allan MacPherson – Calgary Canucks; Ian Mitchell – Spruce Grove Saints; Curtis Roach – Fort McMurray Oil Barons
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Brinson Pasichnuk – Bonnyville Pontiacs

Rookie of the Year – Dick White Trophy, Presented by Canalta Hotels

Forward Oliver Chau of the Brooks Bandits has captured the Dick White Trophy as AJHL Rookie of the Year for 2016-2017 and becomes the second consecutive Bandit player to receive the honour following Cale Makar in 2015-2016. 

Chau leads all AJHL rookies in scoring with 79 points (31 goals, 48 assists) and is currently fourth in the AJHL Scoring Race.  He is averaging 1.4 points per game and has recorded the most powerplay goals of all AJHL scorers with 17.  During his first AJHL season, Chau has recorded 22 multi-point games including his first AJHL hat trick.

The 19 year-old from Oakville, ON was awarded as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game seven times in the regular season and twice received the Canalta Hotels AJHL Player of the Week Award.

Oliver Chau has committed to the NCAA Division I University of Massachusetts alongside teammate Cale Makar.

• 2016-2017 Award Finalists: Oliver Chau – Brooks Bandits; Kyler Kupka – Camrose Kodiaks; Jake Gresh – Bonnyville Pontiacs; Austin McGrath – Lloydminster Bobcats
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Cale Makar – Brooks Bandits

Top Goaltender – Friends of AJHL Trophy

Calgary Canucks goaltender Logan Drackett is the 2016-2017 Top Goaltender and recipient of the Friends of AJHL Trophy.  The Top Goaltender Award is presented to the goalie who demonstrated the greatest ability in his position throughout the season.

The 19 year-old goalie was a finalist for both the 2016-2017 AJHL Most Valuable Player Award and the AJHL Top Goaltender Award.  Drackett is among the Top 5 AJHL Goaltenders with a 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage.  He has also recorded the third most shutouts (5), second most wins (28), and the second most minutes played (2,669) among all AJHL goaltenders.

Drackett (Calgary, AB) represented the AJHL at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge as a member of Team Canada West.  He was a three-time recipient of the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week Award in 2016-2017.  Logan has also been recognized as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game eight times in the regular season.

Logan Drackett was a finalist for the 2015-2016 Top Goaltender Award in his rookie season with the Canucks and was selected to both the 2015-2016 South Division All-Rookie Team and All-League Team.

• 2016-2017 Award Finalists: Logan Drackett – Calgary Canucks; Riley Morris – Okotoks Oilers; Patrick Gora – Camrose Kodiaks; Eric Szudor – Fort McMurray Oil Barons; Pierce Diamond – Whitecourt Wolverines
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Matthew Murray – Spruce Grove Saints

Most Dedicated Player – Don McNabb Memorial Trophy

Ryan Symington of the Bonnyville Pontiacs is the winner of the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy as the Most Dedicated Player for 2016-2017.  The 20 year-old Team Captain is a three year veteran of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Symington has led the Pontiacs to a third consecutive Top Four finish in the 2016-2017 Viterra AJHL North Division Standings.  The Mannville, AB native is fifth in team scoring with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) and recorded 3 game winning goals for his team.

Pontiacs GM / Head Coach Rick Swan believes his Captain is truly deserving of the recognition, “I think of the AJHL Most Dedicated Award as someone who best represents his team, his community and our league through his character, positive attitude, dedication, leadership and combines a high sense of athletic ability with professionalism both on and off the ice. Ryan Symington embodies these traits by being a leader by example and whatever expectations he has of others he first expects it from himself. He holds himself to a high standard both on and off the ice in order to represent our organization and the AJHL in a manner beyond reproach.”

The last and only time a Pontiac player has previously won the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy was Kevin Carthy in 2010-2011.

• 2016-2017 Award Finalists: Ben Assad – Calgary Canucks; Ryan Symington – Bonnyville Pontiacs; Logan Ferguson – Canmore Eagles; Morgan Messenger – Whitecourt Wolverines
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Tyler Busch – Spruce Grove Saints

Coach of the Year

Fort McMurray Oil Barons General Manager & Head Coach Tom Keca is the 2016-2017 AJHL Coach of the Year as voted by his peers from across the Alberta Junior Hockey League. 

In two seasons as Head Coach of the Oil Barons, Keca has lifted the team from a 30 point season and 7th place finish in the North Division in 2015-2016 to a top two finish in the current 2016-2017 season.  With three regular season games remaining, the MOB have amassed 89 points and remain in a battle for first place in the Viterra AJHL North Division.  Should Fort McMurray clinch the top spot, it will be the first time for the club since the 2007-2008 season.

“On behalf of the Oil Barons, I’d like to congratulate Tom on this significant achievement,” stated Team President David Fitzgerald.  “Seeing the commitment and dedication he brings to the rink everyday is remarkable and inspiring. Whether it’s helping kids reach their potential on the ice or in their studies or mentoring minor hockey coaches through development clinics, he understands the big picture.  “As a Fort McMurrayite, we’re proud to have Tom lead the development of our players and contribute to the success of our league across the province.”

Keca is the first person to play his minor and junior hockey in Fort McMurray, and lead the Oil Barons as GM / Head Coach.  Keca’s experience with the Oil Barons dates back to the early 1990s where he served as a player with the team.  After finishing his Junior A career with the Oil Barons, Keca went on to play hockey in Europe and later the University of Lethbridge, where he obtained a Bachelor of Education Degree. 

In 2000, Keca returned to Fort McMurray to serve as an assistant coach with the Oil Barons.  Keca previously spent nine years as an Assistant Coach with the Oil Barons (2000-2006, 2011-2014) and four seasons as the Head Coach of the Lloydminster Bobcats (2006-2010). 

Three members of the Oil Barons were nominated as finalists for the 2016-2017 League Awards: Eric Szudor (Top Goaltender), Curtis Roach (Outstanding Defenceman), Tom Keca (Coach of the Year).  The last Oil Baron Coach to receive the AJHL Coach of the Year Award was Bob Murray in 1991-1992.   

• 2016-2017 Award Finalists: Tom Keca – Fort McMurray Oil Barons; James Poole – Calgary Canucks; Andrew Milne – Canmore Eagles; Gord Thibodeau – Whitecourt Wolverines
• 2015-2016 Award Winner: Rick Swan – Bonnyville Pontiacs


The following League Awards will also be presented at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 AJHL Regular Season.

• Regular Season Champion – Dave Duchak Trophy
• Scoring Champion – Ernie Love Trophy
• Top Team Goaltenders – Reebok / CCM Top Team Goaltenders Award
• Stewy Stewart Memorial Award – Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy
• Viterra Star of the Game Standings Leader – Viterra Cup
• Viterra Salute to Service Award