On Thursday, the AJHL announced the finalists for the 2016-2017 League Awards and the Calgary Canucks were proud to have been selected finalists for 5 league awards. Those 5 nominations for the Canucks led the AJHL for number of league award finalists from one team.
1998-born goaltender Logan Drackett was named finalist for Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy as the leagues Most Valuable Player. Drackett was also named finalist for Friends of AJHL Trophy as leagues Top Goaltender. 1996 defenseman Allan MacPherson was named finalist for the W.G. Scott Memorial Trophy as leagues Top Defenceman. 1996-born forward Ben Assad, was named finalist for the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy as leagues Most Dedicated Player. Head Coach James Poole was also named finalist for Coach of the Year.
Drackett has posted exceptional numbers this season with a 26-11-3 record with a 2.44 goals against and .912 Save percentage and 5 shutouts. The 26 wins ranks 3rd in the AJHL, and his 5 shut-outs ranks 2nd among AJHL goalies. The 5 shut-outs is a new Canucks team record for one season. “Logan is fully deserving of both award nominations as he has been instrumental in turning the Canucks into a contender this season,” states Head Coach James Poole. “Logan is a true difference maker with his ability to steal games, keep us in games or make the timely save that ends up being the difference in games. Having Logan behind us allows our team to play with a great amount of confidence but his value extends beyond what he does on the ice as he is also a true leader that since Day 1 of being a Canuck has driven the culture change. Logan is a true competitor who takes more pride in his win / loss record then any other stat category and like any great goalie is able to raise his level of play under pressure situations.”
MacPherson has posted 3 goals and 27 points and is a team leading +31. “Allan is extremely valuable to our team and is very deserving of this nomination. His plus/minus stat is very indicative of what he means to our team,” states Head Coach James Poole. “Many people notice the elite mobility and puck protection skills he uses to get our team out of trouble situations and generate offensive chances but many people don’t notice how well he defends using his mobility, strength, compete & hockey IQ to make it very difficult for other teams to generate scoring chances while he is on the ice.”
This will be the second consecutive season Assad is a finalist for the Most Dedicated Player Award. Assad has set career highs in all offensive categories this season with 27 goals, 25 assists and 52 points. “I know there are many other players around the league that are just as deserving so to be chosen as a finalist for the award is special,” states Captain Ben Assad.
“Ben’s value to our club goes beyond his offensive stats as not only does he lead our club in goals & points but he also leads our club in hits, shots and leads our forwards in blocked shots which should indicate the impact he makes throughout games,” states Head Coach James Poole. “Mike Babcock is well known for saying that on good teams your best players are your hardest working players, and in our situation, this applies to Ben and the positive leadership impact he has on the rest of our team with his incredible work ethic. This award is quite often a show of respect from coaches towards other team’s players and back-to-back league nominations show the well-earned respect Ben has from around the league.”
Coach Poole is in his first season with the Canucks and has guided the club to a 33-16-4 record. The 33 wins, with 7 games remaining, are the most for the Canucks since the 2003-2004 season. This will be Coach Poole’s 4th Coach of the Year nomination in his 7 years coaching in the AJHL. “Being nominated by your peers is always an honor,” states Head Coach James Poole. “I believe this is a show of respect from around the league at our team’s performance so far this season, and it truly has been a team effort. I’m fortunate to work with such solid hockey people within our coaching staff, training staff, scouting staff and hockey operations that have all contributed greatly to our team but at the end of the day it’s always about the players and they are the ones that are responsible for our success so far this season. I’m excited for Logan, Allan and Ben as I feel they are not only deserving of nominations but would be deserving winners of each respective award. We have 23 high character, first class people playing for us this season and that is why I’m even more excited for what lies ahead as we look to win the award that means the most, the AJHL Championship.”
The entire Canucks organization would like to congratulate Logan, Allan, Ben and Coach Poole for their nominations and wish them luck when the League Award winners are announced next week.
Click here for the full list of AJHL Award Finalists