CALGARY, Alberta – The Canadian Junior Hockey League is pleased to announce the five finalists for the 2014 CJHL Top Forward Award. The recipient will be the second CJHL player to receive the national award, which will be presented to the most outstanding forward in the CJHL based on individual performance in the regular season.
A candidate from each of the 10 leagues in the CJHL was nominated for the Top Forward Award. The next stage of the selection process saw representatives from all 10 Junior A leagues rank their top five players from among the 10 national nominees. Rankings were then assigned a point value and the five players with the highest point total moved on as finalists to the final round of voting. The five finalists for the 2014 Top Forward Award include players from the SIJHL, CCHL, MJHL, OJHL and LHJAAAQ. A brief summary of the award nomination for each finalist is outlined below.
William Cochrane, Terrebonne Cobras, LHJAAAQ (53GP, 38G – 87A – 125PTS)
Left winger William Cochrane was selected as LHJAAAQ Player of the Year for the 2013-2014 season. He led the League as well as the CJHL in scoring with 125 points (38-87-125). He was selected as Offensive Player of the Year and was a member of the LHJAAAQ All-Star Team. He also won trophies for the most points, most assists, and best point average per game. William helped his team to finish 2nd in the St-Louis-lalime Division, which was 5th overall.
Andy Sturtz, Carelton Place Canadians, CCHL (58GP, 51G – 53A – 104PTS)
In his first CCHL season, the Buffalo, NY native burst on to the scene with a 51 goal and 104 point season. This resulted in him earning the CCHL MVP Award for 2013 – 2014. Andy was first in the CCHL in game winning goals with 14, showing how important he was to the success of the Carelton Place Canadians. He was second in power play goals with 16 and seventh in power play assists with 19. Andy’s play has earned him considerable attention from NCAA Division I schools. He has committed to going to Penn State University.
Daniel Del Paggio, Thunder Bay North Stars, SIJHL (51GP, 36G – 69A – 105PTS)
Daniel Del Paggio was the recipient of the Superior International Junior Hockey League's Player of the Year award, which is presented annually to the SIJHL’s most valuable player. The Thunder Bay native, who just turned 17 past the midway point of the season, had a banner campaign for the North Stars leading all SIJHL skaters in point-per-game average at 2.06 and also earning CCM first team all-star laurels this season. As the second youngest player in the league he notched 36 goals while adding a SIJHL-high 69 assists in leading the North Stars in offensive production while finishing second overall in points with 105. Del Paggio wrapped up the regular season on a tear by registering at least one point in each of the last 36 contests he participated in. He was only held pointless four times in 2013-14 and just once in his last 46 games dating back to early October. Other notable statistics saw him finish tied for second overall in power play goals with 13 and share third spot in the SIJHL in game-winning tallies with six. Del Paggio furthermore represented the SIJHL at the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects Games in Nova Scotia this past November. He was also named the CJHL's third star of the month for January, the SIJHL’s Performer of the Month in both December and January and earned Player of the Week twice.
Parker Thomas, Selkirk Steelers, MJHL (57GP, 35G – 66A – 101PTS)
Parker Thomas was the dominant forward in the MJHL this year, which was his third season in the league. He led the league in scoring by 26 points over the second place scorer. Parker also led the league in assists with 66 and scored at a clip of 1.8 points per game which also led the league. He finished the season with 101 points (35 goals and 66 assists). Parker was also selected to the First All Star Team in 2013 – 2014. Thomas, who hails from Winnipeg, MB was also awarded the Steve “Boomer” Hawrysh Award, given annually to the MVP of the MJHL. The award was doubly special for Thomas, who was a runner-up for the MJHL MVP Award last season.
Taylor Best, Whitby Fury, OJHL (48GP, 37G – 53A – 90PTS)
Taylor Best led all scorers in the OJHL with 90 points in 48 regular season games to take home the Top Scorer Award, while also leading the entire league with 53 assists. The 19-year old Whitby, Ontario native who stands at 5'10″, 168 lbs. quarterbacked the Fury power play that led the OJHL with 71 man advantage goals. Best would lead the OJHL with 29 power play assists and 40 power play points. The performance also saw him voted as the league's Most Improved Player. The playmaker would record one goal and one assist as a member of Team Canada East at the 2013 World Junior 'A' Challenge, while also participating for the second consecutive year in the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. Best was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Star and he is committed to join the Mercyhurst University Lakers beginning with the 2015-16 Atlantic Hockey season.
Congratulations to all ten Top Forward of the Year Award nominees, which included the following CJHL forwards who are also winners of their respective league awards:
- Spencer Dorowicz, Olds Grizzlys – AJHL
- Miles Fitzgerald, Victoria Grizzlies – BCHL
- Gavin Burbich, Soo Thunderbirds – NOJHL
- Austin Daae, Estevan Bruins – SJHL
- Rankyn Campbell, Miramichi Timberwolves – MHL
Each year, the Canadian Junior Hockey League recognizes the best Junior A talent from across all 10 Junior A leagues with a suite of national awards. The CJHL awards include Most Valuable Player, Top Forward, Top Defenceman, Top Goaltender and Rookie of the Year. Every Junior A league in the CJHL has submitted a nominee for each award and the winner will be chosen from among those 10 national nominees. The selection panel consists of representatives from each of the CJHL's 10 Junior A leagues and the award winners will be chosen based on a weighted-voting system.
The announcements of the CJHL Award Winners will be made over the week of May 5th-9th.