CJHL Hands Out First National Awards
The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced the first-ever winners of its national awards Wednesday, a group headlined by recruits headed to Union, Cornell and North Dakota. Future Union forward Michael Pontarelli led the way with Most Valuable Player and Top Forward honors.
The CJHL includes each of the 10 Junior A leagues across Canada.
"I am thrilled to offer congratulations to this year's CJHL national award winners", stated CJHL President Kirk Lamb. "These players represent the impressive talent across the CJHL and they, along with their families, teams and communities, can be very proud of their accomplishments this season."
Pontarelli, 19, led the CCHL's Cornwall Colts and all of the CJHL with 107 points in 53 games. He was a unanimous choice for CCHL MVP and the CCHL Sportsmanship and Ability Award.
Patrick McCarron of the St. Michael's Buzzers in the OJHL won the CJHL's Top Defenseman award. The Cornell recruit represented Team Canada East as an Alternate Captain at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge and was named a member of the South Division All-Stars at the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. He was also a first-team all-star in the OJHL.
The CJHL's Top Goaltender award went to Humboldt Broncos goaltender Matt Hrynkiw, who is headed to North Dakota in the fall. Hrynkiw was named the SJHL Goaltender of the Year on the strength of 27 wins, 6 shutouts and a 1.83 goals-against average. Hrynkiw led the SJHL in GAA, save percentage and shutouts and was second in wins.
Uncommitted forward Tristan Keck of the MJHL's Winkler Flyers was named the CJHL's Rookie of the Year. He led all MJHL rookies in scoring with 63 points on 31 goals and 32 assists. He finished 11th overall in league scoring and was one of two 17-year old players among the league's top 20 scorers.