CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday the finalists for its Top Rookie Award for the 2017-18 campaign.
Each of the finalists were determined following balloting by each of the CJHL’s 10-member leagues for their respective efforts during the course of the regular season.
The following are the five nominees for the CJHL’s Top Rookie, which are listed alphabetically, by league.
Zachary Okabe, Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)
BIO: Captured the Dick White Trophy as AJHL Rookie of the Year for 2017-2018. In his rookie season, Okabe become known for keeping fans on the edge of their seat when he has the puck. The 17-year-old forward recorded 13 multi-point games in the regular season and was second overall among rookie scorers in the AJHL with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists). Finished in the Top 25 of the AJHL Scoring Race with an average of 0.9 points per game. Okabe received the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game Award five times for the Storm. Okabe (Okotoks, AB) committed to the University of Vermont (NCAA) as a 16-year-old in September 2017. He joins a successful group of AJHL alumni as the AJHL Rookie of the Year, an award previously won by NHLers such as Stu Barnes, Mike Comrie and Dany Heatley. He is just the second Storm player to ever receive the award, which was last won in 1997-98.
Alex Newhook, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
BIO: Newhook finished eighth in league scoring and led all BCHL rookies in points this season with 66 in 45 games, 14 more than the next closest player. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward’s season included a 10-game point streak from Dec. 6 to Jan. 9 where he scored 26 points, including three four-point efforts. The 17-year-old from St. John’s, N.F. earned player of the week honours in the second week of the season as he put up six assists in two wins at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. He scored 10 points in his team’s final five games to help Victoria claim the Island Division title. In November, Newhook had four points in five games while playing for Team Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He came into this season with his collegiate future already set as he’s committed to Boston College for the 2019-20 season.
Jack Quinn, Kanata Lasers (CCHL)
BIO: Named the CCHL’s Top Rookie and Top Prospect. The 2001-born sniper led all league rookies in goals (21), assists (25) and points (46). His efforts helped Kanata reach the postseason for the first time since 2011-11. The offensive forward has a lethal shot and high-end puck skills and has quickly become a threat after playing his first season of AAA hockey just last season where he earned Rookie of the Year honours in HEO Midget AAA. GP 49; G 21; A 25; PTS 46.
Jacob Wasserman, Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
BIO: The Humboldt Broncos goaltender was named co-winner of the SJHL Rookie of The Year. Wassermann’s season was set to begin with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, but his rights were dealt to the Regina Pats, and he found himself joining his hometown Humboldt Broncos, where he went 14-8-2-3, with a 2.60 GAA and .909%. The season also saw him try out for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge Selection Camp in Calgary and backstop a victory for Team West at the CJHL Top Prospects Game in Mississauga, Ontario.
Keighan Gerrie, Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL)
BIO: As the youngest player in the SIJHL this season, the 16-year-old Thunder Bay native played at nearly a point-per-game pace by registering 51 in 53 contests on 24 goals and 27 assists. His tally total also tied him for first among first-year skaters. Was named a SIJHL CCM Hockey Second Team All-Star at forward and was named the SIJHL’s CCM Rookie of the Year. He was selected SIJHL player of the week for the period ending January 21 and attended the Canada West WJAC camp.
Earning honourable mention for the CJHL Top Rookie Award were: Anthony Morin, St-Gabriel-De-Brandon Montagnards (LHJAAAQ); Jordan Spence, Summerside Western Capitals (MHL); Justin Lee, Vireden Oil Capitals (MJHL); Harrison Israels, Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) and Dylan Jackson, St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL).
The CJHL Top Rookie Award recipient will be named in the coming days.
Also of note, the finalists for the CJHL Coach of the Year will be named at a later date while the RBC Hockey Canada/CJHL Player of the Year and the RBC Scholastic Player of the Year will be presented at the RBC Cup Awards Banquet, May 10, in Chilliwack, B.C.