Windsor Spitfires center Wyatt Johnston could become the second player in franchise history to win three major Ontario Hockey League awards.
The 18-year-old Johnston has already clinched the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the league’s leading scorer. On Wednesday, Johnston was named one of two finalists for the Red Tilson Trophy, which is voted on by the media and is awarded to the league’s Most Outstanding Player. He was also announced as one of two finalists for the William Hanley Trophy as the sportiest player in the league.
The only player in franchise history to have won three major league awards is former captain and two-time Memorial Cup champion Ryan Ellis. In 2010-11, Ellis won the Red Tilson Trophy along with the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the best defenseman in the league and the Captain Mickey Renaud Trophy.
Normally, there are three finalists for each award. However, due to an unbalanced schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the league named a Western Conference finalist and an Eastern Conference finalist for many awards, including Belle River’s Brett Brochu. The London Knights goalkeeper was named one of two finalists for the Jim Rutherford Trophy for OHL Goalkeeper of the Year, named after the former Spitfire general manager.
A first-round draft pick by the NHL’s Dallas Stars last year, Johnston would become the fourth player in franchise history to win the Red Tilson Trophy along with Ellis. Ernie Gooden (1980-81) after scoring a league record 87 goals, which is still a league record in a single season, and goalkeeper Glenn Hall (1950-51).
North Bay superintendent Brandon Coe, who finished fifth in the league in scoring behind Johnston with 101 points, is the Eastern Conference nominee.
“Being nominated for most outstanding player is definitely a very good feeling based on how many great players there are in this league,” said Johnston, who played in all 68 games and scored 124 points on the season in just 26 minutes. of penalty. .
“It would be great to have my name on the same trophy as previous winners, many of whom will go on to become standout NHL players.”
The only other Spitfire in league history to win the William Hanley Trophy was Kyle Wellwood, who scored 100 points in 2002-03 and didn’t record a single penalty minute during the season. Shayne Wright of Kingston is the Eastern Conference nominee for the award. She scored 94 points in 63 games and accumulated 22 penalty minutes.
“It would be great to join Kyle Wellwood as the second Spitfire to win the sportiest award,” Johnston said. “Windsor has a great history, so it would be great to do something that only one other player has done.”
Brochu, 19, was having a breakout season before an ankle injury forced him to miss the final 19 games of the regular season.
He still finished with a record of 29-11-2-0 with a goals-against average of 2.75 and a save percentage of .911.
“It’s definitely a great honor to be recognized for such a special award,” said Brochu, who was a member of Canada’s junior world team.
Brochu is up against Marco Costantini of Hamilton, who is the Eastern Conference nominee, for the award. Brouchu would be the first Essex County goaltender to win the award since Amherstburg native and former Spitfire Mikey DiPietro claimed it in 2017-18.
The only other player with a tied area for a prize is Hamilton’s Nathan Staios. The former Spitfire first-round pick is up for the Max Kaminsky Trophy after leading all defensemen in the league in scoring with 66 points in 59 games. Sault Ste. Marie’s Ryan O’Rourke is the Western Conference nominee for the award.
Prize winners will be announced throughout the month of May.