CALGARY, Alberta – Five Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) defencemen have been selected as finalists for the 2015 CJHL Top Defenceman Award. The award recognizes the most outstanding defenceman in the CJHL. The award criteria is based on individual performance during the 2014-2015 regular season.
Each of the 10 leagues in the CJHL submitted a candidate for the Top Defenceman Award. A representative from all 10 Junior A leagues then ranked their top five choices from among the 10 national nominees and the rankings were assigned a point value. The five players with the highest point total moved on as finalists to the final round of voting. The finalists for the 2015 Top Defenceman Award are outlined below.
Andrew Farny, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL (53GP, 14G – 35A – 49PTS)
In 53 games played, Farny scored 14 goals, 35 assists and 49 points during the regular season. Farny led all BCHL defencemen in scoring this season. Of his 14 goals, 10 of them came with the man advantage and one came shorthanded. Farny was voted the BCHL's Top Defenceman by the coaches. Andrew Farny is committed to Air Force.
Tanner Jago, Portage Terriers, MJHL (59GP, 17G – 36A – 53PTS)
A play-making defenceman, Tanner was a major force for a Terrier club which was ranked No. 1 in the CJHL all season. A native of Brandon, MB, Tanner led all defencemen in points with 53 (17-36). He was a catalyst on the Terriers’ power-play unit, recording a league-high 19 assists while on the PP. While offensively gifted, Tanner was also defensively responsible: earning him the MJHL’s Top Defenceman Award, in addition to a first-team all-star selection. Tanner is also an incredible leader, highly respected by both his teammates and opponents. While being an MJHL veteran (Winkler Flyers), he was just in his first season with the Terriers, who named him their team captain. A true honour for the first-year Terrier.
Robert Michel, Ottawa Jr. Senators, CCHL (57GP, 16G – 37A – 53PTS)
Robert Michel spent little time adjusting to the CCHL as he was named to the Central Canada Cup roster in his first season of junior A hockey in 2013-2014. A year later, while compiling 53 points (16G 37A) in 57 games, he was unanimously voted the best defenceman in the CCHL. Robert's work ethic, skating ability and awareness make him an offensive threat every time he is on the ice. Robert's performance on the ice helped him secure a scholarship to the University of Maine for the upcoming season. Above all, Robert is a great ambassador to the Ottawa Junior Senators and to the CCHL. He is a quality young man who deserves all the credit he has garnered thus far.
Linden Springer, Brooks Bandits, AJHL (52GP, 19G – 21A – 40PTS)
The recipient of the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy as AJHL Outstanding Defenceman is Linden Springer of the Brooks Bandits. Springer completed a career high this season averaging 0.8 points per game with 40 points in 2015. He led all AJHL defencemen in scoring and was among the Top 40 in AJHL Scoring. Springer was recognized as the Viterra AJHL Player of the Game four times throughout the regular season. “Linden has the ability to impact a hockey game in many ways,” stated Bandits GM / Head Coach Ryan Papaioannou. “Offensively he's able to create scoring in even strength and power play situations, while defensively he plays big minutes against other teams’ top lines and intangibly brings an element of physicality that every team needs. Add his tremendous leadership qualities to the mix and he is one of the top defencemen in the AJHL.” The 20 year-old AJHL veteran is wrapping up his third and final season in the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits after being traded from the Lloydminster Bobcats in January 2015.
Eric Williams, Aurora Tigers, OJHL (52GP, 22G – 28A – 50PTS)
Williams becomes just the third defenceman in franchise history to win the league's Top Defenceman Award. Williams led all OJHL rearguards with 22 goals on the season, which was the eighth best goal total by a defenceman in league history. The Newmarket, Ontario native tallied 17 power play goals, not only leading defenceman in that category, but also finishing second among all OJHL skaters. He added 11 power play assists and was the top blueliner with 28 power play points, also tied for second best among all players in the league. The OJHL 1st Team All-Star finished second in scoring among rearguards with 50 points, as well as with three game-winning goals, in 52 regular season games played. Williams' efforts throughout the 2014-15 season earned a second consecutive appearance at the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge, earning a spot on Team OJHL Coffey for the 2014 event in Toronto, where he would tie for the tournament lead in scoring among defencemen with four points in three games played. Williams is slated to join the NCAA Division I, Northeastern University Huskies beginning with the 2015-16 Hockey East season.
Congratulations to all ten Defenceman of the Year Award nominees, which included the following CJHL defencemen who are also winners of their respective league awards:
- Noah Anderson, Minnesota Iron Rangers – SIJHL
- Alexandre Chenier-Allard, Kahnawake Condors – QJHL
- Jordan McNaughton, Truro Bearcats – MHL
- Ethan Strong, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners – NOJHL
- Spencer Trapp, Notre Dame Hounds – SJHL
The Top 5 finalists for all CJHL Awards will be announced over the coming week. The recipient of the 2015 CJHL Defenseman of the Year and all CJHL League Awards will be announced during the week of May 4th-8th.
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.