SIJHL North Star Daniel Del Paggio in Running

Thunder Bay North Star Player set for CJHL Honours
Thunder Bay North Star Player set for CJHL Honours
Thunder Bay North Star Player set for CJHL Honours
Thunder Bay North Star Player set for CJHL Honours

Daniel Del Paggio Named Finalist for Player of the Year

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Two days after being named a finalist for the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s top forward award the CJHL announced Friday that Daniel Del Paggio of the Thunder Bay North Stars has been named a finalist for the player of the year award.

The 17-year-old Thunder Bay product is one of six players up for the accolades.

The only other Thunder Bay product to be named CJHL player of the year was Greg Johnson who won the award 25 years ago as a member of the then Centennial Cup (now RBC Cup) national champion Thunder Bay Flyers squad back in 1989.

The six finalists for CJHL MVP accolades are spread across the country and represent players from the SIJHL, AJHL, OJHL, BCHL, CCHL and SJHL.

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 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.

Off the ice Del Paggio was earlier recognized by being named the SIJHL’s RBC scholastic player of the year as well as a finalist for the CJHL top forward award.

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.

He was first in the CCHL in game winning goals with 14, showing how important he was to the success of the Carelton Place Canadians.

Sturtz was second in power play goals with 16 and seventh in power play assists with 19.

His play has earned him considerable attention from NCAA Division I schools and he has committed to attend Penn State University.

He is also a finalist in the voting for the CJHL Top Forward Award for 2013-14.

Landon Smith, Salmon-Arm SilverBacks, BCHL (58GP, 43G – 40A – 83PTS)

Landon Smith’s MVP season can be summed up in one word: consistency.

The 20-year-old forward failed to record a point in just six out of 58 regular season games for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks this year.

After recording one assist in his first two games, he went on a 23-game point streak, piling up 39 points (20 goals and 19 assists) in those outings.

Midway through the season he also had a ten-game streak where he scored 17 points, including 12 goals.

In his first season in the BCHL, Smith led the league with 43 goals and tied for the lead with 83 points.

He also finished third in the league in power play goals with 11 and tenth in assists with 40.

The offensive highlight of the season for the six-foot, 186-pound Smith came in a Dec. 10 game on the road against the Trail Smoke Eaters when he scored a hat trick and added an assist in a 5-2 Silverbacks win.

Smith recorded three points in five separate games and had 24 multi-point games in total, including eight games with at least two goals. He had 25 more points than the next closest player on the SilverBacks. Landon Smith has committed to attend Quinnipiac.

Michael Gudmandson, Battlefield North Stars, SJHL (24GP, 20W – 3L – 1T – .944S% – 1.74GAA – 4SO)

Goaie Michael Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alta.) may epitomize the word ‘valuable’ better than any dictionary description.

Gudmandson helped the Stars turn around a 4-and-12 start by coming over from Neepawa of the MJHL and going 20-3-and-1 with a miniscule 1.74-GAA and .944-SPCT. He also posted 4 shutouts.

The Stars rallied from the Kramer Division cellar to capture the pennant on the last night of the regular season, all on the back of Gudmandson. Michael was also nominated for the CJHL Top Goaltender Award for 2013 – 2014.

Trey Phillips, Canmore Eagles, AJHL (58GP, 25G – 40A – 65PTS)

Defenceman Trey Phillips of the Canmore Eagles is the 2013-2014 AJHL MVP and outstanding defenceman.

The 20-year-old averaged 1.12 points per game to lead the Eagles in scoring, including 12 power play goals and 4 game winning goals.

This is his fourth and final season with the Canmore Eagles, during which time he has scored 119 points in 200 regular season games.

Trey Phillips was the AJHL Player of the Month and the Canadian Junior Hockey League 1st Star of the Month for January 2014.

He was also selected as the Player of the Game 12 times in the regular season.

The Okotoks, Alta., product is committed to the University of Vermont for the 2014-15 season and is also a finalist in the voting for the CJHL Top Defenceman Award for 2013– 14.

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” and is 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.

Taylor is also a finalist in the voting for the CJHL Top Forward Award for 2013 – 2014.

Congratulations to the following honourable mentions for the CJHL MVP Award:

Parker Thomas, Selkirk Steelers – MJHL
Nicholas Dionne, St. Jerome Panthers – LHJAAAQ
Joel Horodziejczyk, Soo Thunderbirds – NOJHL
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 5-9.

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