Woodstock's Andrew Bruder and Norwich Merchants coach Brad Wilkins won year-end divisional awards
Woodstock Navy Vets forward Andrew Bruder, left, drives to the net against Norwich Merchants goalie Tyler Gubesch in their Tuesday January 3, 2017 game against the Norwich Merchants. Bruder was named the Provincial Junior Hockey League's Doherty Division's top rookie for 2016-17. Bill Polzin/Special to the Sentinel-Review
The Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Doherty Division named their year-end award selections for the 2016-17 regular season Monday night.
Among the four players and one coach selected were two from Oxford County.
Woodstock Navy Vets forward Andrew Bruder was chosen as the division’s rookie of the year, while Norwich Merchants head coach Brad Wilkins was named the division’s top coach.
The Ayr Centennials also had four players earn nods with forward Mitch Klie named the divisions most valuable player and defenceman Connor MacLean the top defenceman. Delhi Travellers goalie Sam Roy earned the best sportsmanship award. Centennial goalies Brennan Hadad and Jackson Swindells combined to win the top goalies of the year.
Bruder became just the third Navy Vets player in the last three years to win a year-end award and the fifth since the 2010-11 season. In 2014-15, Mike Gillespie was the Midwestern Junior Hockey League’s MVP and Adam Wallace the coach of the year. In the 2010-11 season, Chase Thornton earned the Niagara and District Junior Hockey League’s top rookie with Kyle Robertson earning the best sportsmanship award.
The 16-year-old Bruder ranks sixth in the Doherty Division among rookie scorers with 16 goals and nine assists in 38 games. However, he and Ayr forward Eric Uba are the only under-17 rookies in the top 10 among scorers. The 6’1” Bruder also had four power play goals and two game winning goals in his first junior season.
Wilkins is in his first season as the head coach of the Merchants, but helped the team to a current spot of fourth with one final weekend left in the regular season. The Merchants entered the season as one of the younger teams in the Doherty Division and have pushed their way to closing on home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 21-17 record.
Former Navy Vets goalie Jackson Swindells and Brennan Hadad will combine for the division’s top goaltenders with the two splitting time in crease for the first-place Centennials.
Swindells has a 20-3 record with a 2.66 goals against average and .911 save percentage with 1377:31 minutes in net. He was also the division’s top goaltender last season.
Hadad, 18, entered in his first season with Ayr and has a perfect record in net with 14-0. The Kitchener local has a 1.85 GAA, .934 save percentage and played 843:13 minutes in net.
Klie was the unsurprising choice as the division’s MVP.
The 21-year-old forward is in his second season with Ayr and posted 27 goals and 64 assists in 38 games to lead the division in scoring and rank second overall in the 63-team PJHL. The Ayr captain has had seven goals and 22 assists on the power play and two shorthanded goals as well as nine game winning goals. He’s averaged 2.39 points per game in his final junior season.
Klie’s a former Junior B player with the St. Thomas Stars, Cambridge Winterhawks, Guelph Hurricanes and Elmira Sugar Kings. In 177 regular season Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League games, he had 148 points, adding another 41 in 47 playoff games. He was also the captain of the Cherrey Cup win Sugar Kings in 2014-15. He also played eight games with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League over the span of two seasons.
Ayr’s Connor MacLean was named the division’s top defenceman as he’s led the entire PJHL among defensive scorers with 18 goals and 46 assists for 64 points, which is 19 more than the next player. The 21-year-old is in his fourth season with Ayr and has five power play goals and 19 power play assists. He’s also added three shorthanded goals, two shorthanded assists and three game winning goals anchoring the Centennials defence.
Delhi’s goalie Sam Roy earned the division’s best sportsmanship award.
The 17-year-old Roy began the year with Ayr, where he saw action in one game before heading to the Travellers. In 19 games, he has a 1-14 record but been among the PJHL leaders in shots faced with an average of 40 per game.
The awards are voted on by each of the nine organizations in the PJHL’s Doherty Division with each team getting one vote per team for each of the five categories.