OUA announces 2017-18 West Division men’s hockey major awards and all-stars

Photo by Alex D'Addese
Photo by Alex D'Addese

BURLINGTON, Ont. ­– Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the West Division men’s hockey major award winners and all-stars for the 2017-18 season.

When it comes to making an impact in multiple facets of the game, few can do it better than Alex Basso (Toronto, Ont.), and for his all-around efforts, the Ryerson Rams captain has earned 2017-18 Player of the Year honours.

Basso shines bright from the blueline, anchoring the Rams defence in several ways. He is able to disrupt the opposition on a nightly basis, shutting down their top threats with the best of them, but his skillset goes well-beyond shutdown defender. The fourth-year player also finished second in the OUA in power-play markers, tallying seven on the season, en route to his 14-goal campaign. He was also a top-20 finisher in points on the year with 28, and stepped up on several occasions to register Ryerson’s game-winning goal; good in enough for second in the OUA in that category.  

Basso, who is the first Ryerson player to take home the Player of the Year honours, has also been awarded the Defenceman of the Year nod and has been named to the First-Team All-Stars.

Ryerson’s recognition didn’t stop there; however, as the Rams are well-represented in this year’s all-star crop. Joining Basso on the First-Team is forward Matt Mistele (Whitby, Ont.), who finished his all-star campaign with 14 goals and 33 points, the latter ranking him seventh in the conference. Cracking the Second-Team All-Star roster is fellow forward Aaron Armstrong (Teeswater, Ont.), who was a dynamic talent on the ice this season, chipping in with nine goals and 11 helpers for the Rams.

Rounding out the Ryerson contingent, meanwhile, are a pair of 2017-18 All-Rookie Team selections – Cavin Leth (Taber, Alta.) and Gregory DiTomaso (Etobicoke, Ont.).

When it comes to rookies, however, none made the impact that this year’s Rookie of the Year recipient did, as Guelph’s Todd Winder (Uxbridge, Ont.) scorched onto the OUA scene in his inaugural campaign. Winder, who also tops the list of All-Rookie Team selections, was an immediately positive addition to the offensively-gifted Gryphons, as the freshman phenom found the back of the net 18 times on the year.

His fourth-ranked goal scoring efforts, which included four game-winning tallies, spearheaded his push to a similar top-five finish in overall points (34). The first-year player becomes the seventh Gryphon to take home the award, and the first to do so since the 2012-13 season (Andrew Bathgate).

Helping to guide the gifted goal-scorer in his first season were a number of other all-star caliber teammates, including a trio of First-Team selections. Among those carving out their spots therein were forwards Scott Simmonds (Uxbridge, Ont.) and Cody Thompson (Mississauga, Ont.), as well as defenceman Josh McFadden (Guelph, Ont.).

Simmonds, who serves as captain for the Gryphs, registered a 32-point season – the highest output of his four year career – which included 12 goals and 20 assists (9th in OUA). His running mate put up very similar numbers in his third season, as Thompson recorded 11 goals and 22 assists (5th in OUA) for a 33-point campaign (7th in OUA). Bolstering the back-end for Guelph was fellow first-teamer McFadden, who not only remained a physical presence on the blueline, but also chipped in with 23 points of his own.

The accolades didn’t stop there for Guelph; however, as they also saw a pair of rookies claim recognition for their impressive first-year efforts. Defenceman Mathieu Henderson (Brantford, Ont.) was a steady presence for the Gryphons rearguards, while freshman goaltender Andrew Masters (Kitchener, Ont.) protected the blue paint with pride in his first season, collecting 13 wins (4th in OUA) as well as a 2.85 GAA and 0.912 SV%.

When talking about goaltenders in the OUA, the effort that Brock netminder Clint Windsor (Hamilton, Ont.) put forth cannot be understated, and his puck-stopping prowess gives him the 2017-18 Goaltender of the Year award. Backstopping the Badgers to a solid campaign, the First-Team All-Star was called upon to be a big part of the team’s 14 wins this season, earning 12 of them in his 26 starts. Windsor, while making the most saves in the conference, led the OUA in save percentage (0.930) and finished in the top-10 in goals-against average (2.51), buoying the Brock attack into a successful season and even more triumphant playoff push.

And when looking deeper at the Badgers’ success this season, the role of head coach Marty Williamson cannot be ignored, and his leadership behind the bench has him named the 2017-18 Coach of the Year.

Williamson led the Badgers to a four-point improvement from a season ago, and much of this success comes from the team’s play in their own zone. Under the guidance of the former Niagara IceDogs head coach, the Badgers were able to rank second in the OUA in goals allowed and operated at a fifth-ranked 84.8% on the penalty kill. Williamson’s guidance secured Brock a fifth-place finish in the division, but they have parlayed that into a Queen’s Cup final run.

The Brock coach becomes just the third in Badgers history to earn the award, following in the footsteps of multi-time winners Murray Nystrom and Mike Pelino.

Another individual who made an impact off the ice – in addition to his in-game stature – is York Lions’ rearguard Shayne Rover (Newmarket, Ont.). Having now completed his fifth season, the Lions veteran put up a career-high 17 points on the year, but his impact goes well beyond the scoresheet. His on-ice demeanor, presence, and respect for all those around him have earned Rover the Most Sportsmanlike Award, while his additional efforts in the classroom and the larger community have made him the 2017-18 recipient of the Randy Gregg Award.

The Academic All-Canadian is completing his second degree, graduating with a Bachelor of Education this year, and has taken time to extend his reach to roles such as the sport clubs representative with York’s Athletics and Recreation department and volunteer coach at local high schools in hockey, football, and rugby. The all-time leader for York in regular season games played has left his mark on the club and is a deserving recipient for this year’s Award of Merit.

The reigning Player of the Year, Derek Sheppard (Ajax, Ont.), represents the Lions as a Second-Team All-Star, bolstering the blueline with the best of them this season, while teammate Mack Shields (Saskatoon, Sask.), who is coming off his Rookie of the Year recognition a season ago, rounds out the award-winning York contingent with his top-five finishes in save percentage (0.926) and goals-against average (2.40).

An additional three schools also find themselves represented on the Second-Team. For Toronto, the Varsity Blues see the likes of forward Matt Campagna (Mississauga, Ont.), whose selection is anchored by his 25-point (8 G, 17 A) output. Laurier’s Brandon Robinson (Pickering, Ont.) earned a Second-Team nod after his 23-point performance (9 G, 14, A) for the Golden Hawks, while Waterloo Warriors’ standout defenceman Mike Moffatt (Waterloo, Ont.) rounds out the talented crew.

Completing the All-Rookie Team, meanwhile, is Western’s Cordell James (Powassan, Ont.), who put home a tidy 19-points in his freshman campaign, scoring nine goals (three of which went for game-winners) and adding 10 assists for the purple ponies.

The complete list of the West Division major award winners and all-stars can be found below:

OUA Major Award Winners

Most Valuable Player – Alex Basso, Ryerson
Rookie of the Year – Todd Winder, Guelph
Defenceman of the Year – Alex Basso, Ryerson
Goaltender of the Year – Clint Windsor, Brock
Randy Gregg Award – Shayne Rover, York
Most Sportsmanlike Award – Shayne Rover, York
Coach of the Year – Marty Williamson, Brock

First-Team All-Stars

F – Matt Mistele, Ryerson
F – Scott Simmonds, Guelph
F – Cody Thompson, Guelph
D – Alex Basso, Ryerson
D – Josh McFadden, Guelph
G – Clint Windsor, Brock

Second-Team All-Stars

F – Aaron Armstrong, Ryerson
F – Matt Campagna, Toronto
F – Brandon Robinson, Laurier
D – Derek Sheppard, York
D – Mike Moffatt, Waterloo
G – Mack Shields, York

All-Rookie Team

F – Todd Winder, Guelph
F – Cordell James, Western
F – Cavin Leth, Ryerson
D – Mathieu Henderson, Guelph
D – Gregory DiTomaso, Ryerson
G – Andrew Masters, Guelph