Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League announced that Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs is the winner of the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL’s scholastic player of the year for the 2009-10 season.
Gudbranson, an 18-year-old student from Orleans, Ontario, attends Ecole Secondaire Milles-Iles maintaining a six course schedule at the Grade 12 level. He carries an overall average of 80%, including a top-mark of 87% in Math, with an 83% grade in Advanced Functions, 83% in Change and Social Challenges, 80% in History, 75% in French, and 72% in English.
“Erik has shown this year what hard work gets you on and off the ice,” said Larry Mavety, Director of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Frontenacs. “He is proof as well that it is possible to excel not only on the ice, but in the classroom.”
On the ice, Gudbranson is eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and is the top-rated defenceman ranked 4th overall among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He completed his second OHL season with 23 points in 41 games played for the Frontenacs scoring two goals and 21 assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-11, with 68 penalty minutes.
Gudbranson was named captain of Team Canada’s Under-18 team currently competing at the 2010 World Under-18 Championships in Belarus. He also represented Team OHL at the 2009 SUBWAY Super Series and was named to the Team Cherry roster for the 2010 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He was named the East Division Academic Player of the Month for October.
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, former Ottawa 67′s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. Since the award was first presented in 1979-80, Gudbranson becomes the second member of the Frontenacs organization to win, following Chris Clifford in 1985-86.
Jeff Skinner of the Kitchener Rangers is the runner-up for the award carrying an 80% academic average while scoring 50 goals and 40 assists for 90 points in just his second OHL season. Freddie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs finished third for this award with a 98% academic average while recoding 55 points in 64 games in his second OHL season and is also a member of Canada’s Under-18 team. Both Skinner and Hamilton are eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Matt Duchene won the award last season as a member of the Brampton Battalion before being selected third overall by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires captured the award in his rookie season in 2007-08, with current Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos winning the award following his 2006-07 season with the Sarnia Sting.
Gudbranson will be formally presented with the Bobby Smith Trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony taking place June 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He is also the OHL’s nominee for the CHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for this award which represent the 2009-10 OHL Scholastic Team.
2009-10 Bobby Smith Trophy Nominees:
Barrie – Stephen Gaskin
Belleville – Luke Judson
Brampton – Cameron Wind
Erie – Greg McKegg
Guelph – Zack Mitchell
Kingston – Erik Gudbranson
Kitchener – Jeff Skinner*
London – Michael Houser
Mississauga – Joseph Cramarossa
Niagara – Freddie Hamilton
Oshawa – Christian Thomas
Ottawa – Tyler Toffoli
Owen Sound – Steven Shipley
Peterborough –Matt Puempel
Plymouth – Josh Bemis
Saginaw – Joe Underwood
Sarnia – Nathan Chiarlitti*
Sudbury – John McFarland
Sault Ste. Marie – Brock Beukeboom*
Windsor – Craig Duininck
*repeat All-Scholastic Team member
OHL Academic Highlights:
- OHL players successfully completed 97% of high school courses during the 2008-09 season.
- This season the OHL awarded a record 355 Academic Scholarships including 164 to current players and 191 graduated players.
- Of the 54 overage players that competed in the league during the 2008-09 season, 24 have signed professional hockey contracts while 30 have accessed their academic scholarships in 2009-10 at various institutions across North America.
- OHL teams contributed just under $2 million in 2008-09 towards scholarships for current and graduate players.
- From OHL news release