2019 PJHL Conference Finals matchups
Date: Mar 19, 2019
This week the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) has been announcing the recipients of the 2017-18 OHA Awards and today we are very pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2017-18 OHA Donald Sanderson Memorial Award is Ryan Casselman of the Napanee Raiders from the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) Tod Division. (Photo: Tim Gordanier)
OHA DONALD SANDERSON MEMORIAL AWARD – Ryan Casselman, Napanee Raiders (PJHL)
The Donald Sanderson Memorial Award is presented annually to a player in the OHA that meets the criteria as set out by the Sanderson Family; Dedication; Discipline; Desire; and Deportment, and this year’s recipient, Ryan Casselman (Napanee, Ontario) has all of these traits in spades.
Ryan Casselman’s Junior hockey career has come full circle; in 2013-14 he was the Empire B Junior C Hockey League rookie of the year with the Napanee Raiders; and after three years of Junior A he returned to Napanee in 2017-18 to play for his hometown Raiders, winning the PJHL scoring title and was unanimously chosen as the PJHL Tod Division’s MVP.
Last season the 5’9” 170 pound forward racked up 117 points in 40 regular season games (48 goals, 69 assists) for the Napanee Raiders, leading them to a record breaking first-place finish atop the PJHL’s Tod Division. In his first year with the Raiders, in 2013-14, Casselman had 47 points in 40 games and moved on to Pembroke the following season with the Junior A Lumber Kings in the CCHL. He spent 1 ½ years there, picking up 56 points in 83 games before returning closer to home with the Cobourg Cougars of the OJHL. His skill set and production was excellent but he hadn’t peaked, not even close.
He finished the 2015-16 season in Cobourg, scoring 25 points in 30 games, but the following season is when he really made his mark in Junior A. In 2016-17 the Cobourg Cougars were hosts for the 2017 RBC Cup, the National Junior A Championship and in the regular season Casselman tallied 73 points in 53 games, earning the OJHL’s Most Improved Player Award and was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Star. It was Casselman’s goal late in the third period against the Brooks Bandits in the 2017 RBC Cup Championship that sent the game into overtime where the Cougars scored to upset the Bandits to win their first-ever National Junior A Championship.
Casselman was expecting to play NCAA hockey in 2017-18 after being offered a scholarship at Niagara University, but Niagara made a coaching change and withdrew the agreements made with several prospects, including Ryan. Casselman took the experience as a life lesson and decided he'd like to be back in his hometown, close to family. He also had a preference for a more practical education and chose a hands-on electrical engineering program at St. Lawrence College. So far he has made the transition to college life very smoothly, maintaining a high-80s average while committing to play with the Raiders, affiliate in Cobourg, and work part time for a local event planning and decorating company. That’s a busy schedule for anyone, but Casselman did not miss a practice or team function all season and was the only Napanee Raider to play in all 40 games.
Raiders’ General Manager Adam Bramburger thinks very highly of Casselman, saying: “While his dedication to hockey and his skills are evident, there's much more to Ryan than just hockey.” Bramburger added, “In the summer of 2016, our organization was holding a cook-off fundraiser and we were looking for players to serve food and help out. Despite being gone from the Raider organization for two full years, Ryan stayed all night, did several jobs, and helped make our event a success.”
Ryan Casselman is a highly skilled hockey player who is dedicated to the sport and to his community. He has the discipline to balance school, hockey, work and commitments. He has a strong desire to succeed and doesn’t let life’s tough lessons slow him down; instead he uses them as motivation. His behavior on and off the ice is befitting of this honour of being chosen the 2017-18 recipient of the Donald Sanderson Memorial Award. The only question that remains is what does he do for an encore in his final year of Junior in 2018-19?
ABOUT THE DONALD SANDERSON MEMORIAL AWARD
The Donald Sanderson Memorial Award is dedicated to the memory of the late Donald Sanderson, who incurred a serious head injury in an OHA game on December 12, 2008 as a member of the Whitby Dunlops; and after a courageous battle, died on January 2, 2009. During his 21 years, 5 months and 19 days, Donald lived a passionate life. He was a player, a teammate, a coach, a teacher, a student, a loyal and caring friend and a young leader with a zest for life. And it was through his passion for life that he taught those that knew him to Live Well, Love Well and Laugh Often.
The award is presented annually to a player in the Ontario Hockey Association that meets the criteria as set out by the Sanderson Family: Dedication, Discipline, Desire, and Deportment; traits that Donald was well known for. It is very fitting that the winners of the Donald Sanderson Memorial Award should demonstrate the same qualities and characteristics. Candidates for the award must exercise a high degree of educational standard and must be enrolled in College or University. The award also provides a $1,000 bursary from the OHA.
Recipients of the OHA Donald Sanderson Memorial Award
2017-18 Ryan Casselman, Napanee Raiders
2016-17 Eric Oosting, Lakefield Chiefs
2015-16 Jerry Ennett, New Hamburg Firebirds
2014-15 Lucas Triemstra, Ancaster Avalanche
2013-14 Marc Williams, Kitchener Dutchmen
2012-13 Jacob Baribeau, Dorchester Dolphins
2011-12 Tyler Crawford, Owen Sound Greys
2010-11 Brian Valentine, Aylmer Spitfires
2009-10 Cody Loeffen, Port Colborne Pirates
The 2017-18 OHA Awards recipients will receive their Awards at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Friday, June 1, 2018.
Monday: Officials Awards
Tuesday: Top Prospects
Wednesday: Trainer & Coach of the Year Awards
Thursday: Players of the Year Awards (Sr. AAA, Jr. A, Jr. B, Jr. C)
Friday: BJ Monro and Donald Sanderson Awards