Londoner Nick Suzuki named OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player for 3rd time
As Nick Suzuki and the Guelph Storm prepare for the OHL championship, the London native has once again been recognized by the league for his sportsmanship.
The OHL announced Wednesday that Suzuki will once again receive the William Hanley Trophy, which goes to the league’s most sportsmanlike player.
It’s the third time the Montreal Canadiens prospect has earned the award. While several players have won the award twice, none have done so three times.
Suzuki finished 11th in league scoring with 94 points (34 goals and 60 assists) while recording just 12 penalty minutes, the lowest total among the league’s top 14 point producers and third fewest among the top 35.
“To be named for the third straight year is unbelievable to me, and I wouldn’t be in this position without the support of all my family and teammates,” said Suzuki.
The honour comes while Suzuki has been enjoying one of the best playoffs in recent memory, leading the league with 13 goals and 31 points in 18 games. He has points in all but two of Guelph’s games this post-season and is coming off a Western Conference championship that saw him score three goals and 11 points in six games.
Suzuki joined the Storm in January after being acquired from the Owen Sound Attack. He also represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Over his four-year career, Suzuki has compiled an impressive 328 points in 251 games (141 goals and 187 assists).
In the Western Conference coaches’ poll, Suzuki was voted the smartest player, finished second in the Best Shot category and was picked as third-best stickhandler.
“What an outstanding achievement for Nick to be recognized for three consecutive seasons as the most sportsmanlike player in the league,” said Storm general manager and head coach George Burnett.
“He has contributed in so many different ways to our club since coming to Guelph in early January. His results on the ice speak for themselves, and his calm demeanour and outstanding leadership have provided terrific support to our group throughout our regular season and current playoff run.”
The William Hanley Trophy is awarded each year based on a selection by the 20 general managers of the Ontario Hockey League. All 20 teams submit a nominee but are not permitted to vote for their own candidate, with players receiving five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote.
The trophy is presented by the OHL to commemorate William Hanley, former secretary-manager of the Ontario Hockey Association for over 25 years.
Suzuki led the process with 56 voting points, just ahead of Joseph Garreffa of the Kitchener Rangers, who finished in second place with 52 voting points, and Ryan McGregor of the Sarnia Sting, who finished in third place with 36 voting points.
Suzuki’s younger brother, Ryan, was also among the six finalists for the award, representing the Barrie Colts.
Since the award was first presented in 1961, only three other players have won the award twice, including Dale McCourt (Hamilton, 1976 and St. Catharines, 1977), Sean Simpson (Ottawa, 1979 and 1980) and Brad Boyes (Erie, 2001 and 2002).
Suzuki will be formally presented with the William Hanley Trophy at the 2018-19 OHL Awards Ceremony on June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
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