CJHL announces finalists for Top Rookie of 2016-17

Canadian Junior Hockey League

Media Update

Release date: Monday, May 1, 2017

CJHL announces finalists for Top Rookie of 2016-17
Donaldson: Powell River Kings (BCHL); Rippon: Ottawa (CCHL); Riley, Pictou County (MHL); Melconian: Aurora (OJHL); Dawe: Notre Dame (SJHL) named finalists for CJHL’s Top Rookie honour)

CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian Junior Hockey League announced Monday the five finalists for its Top Rookie Award, which goes annually to its top first-year Jr. ‘A’ player within the 132-team CJHL.

Earning nomination for the honour is forward Cam Donaldson (Powell River Kings – BCHL); defenceman Merrick Rippon (Ottawa Jr. A Senators – CCHL); and forwards Dylan Riley (Pictou County Weeks Crushers – MHL); Mel Melconian (Aurora Tigers – OJHL) and Adam Dawe (Notre Dame Hounds – SJHL).

Listed below you will find some additional information on each of the finalists:

BCHL: Cam Donaldson – Powell River Kings: After joining the Kings this season and recording just one point in his first five games, Donaldson went on to register 32 goals and 37 assists for 69 points in 54 games for the season, which led all BCHL rookies. … The 5-foot-8, 165-pound forward had a multiple-point game on 22 occasions and was one of three 30-goal scorers on the Kings. … Wound up eighth in overall BCHL scoring. … Is committed to Cornell University for next season.

With files from Brent Mutis, Communications Director (BCHL)

CCHL: Merrick Rippon – Ottawa Jr. A Senators: A rare 2000-born defenceman in the CCHL, who logged veteran minutes and played in all situations on one of the top teams in the league. … Scouts see his head is always up, reads the game well, and is one of the strongest skaters in the CCHL, who rarely gets beat 1-on-1. Has great size already at 6-1, 190. … Verbally committed to Providence College for 2018-19.  … Had eight goals and 25 assists in 59 games played.

With files from Sean Marcellus – Operations Manager (CCHL)

MHL: Dylan Riley – Pictou County Weeks Crushers: The 18-year-old from Falmouth, N.S., scored 25 times and registered 69 points leading all MHL rookies in both categories. … A back-to-back winner of the MHL Rookie of the Month Award in January & February, Riley recorded points in nine of his first 11 MHL games add added on from there. … His 21 multi-point outings, including a six-point effort on Feb. 26, helped drive the Crushers to the top of the MHL regular season standings.

With files from Will MacLaren, Director of Communications (MHL)

OJHL: Mel Melconian – Aurora Tigers: Just two years removed from playing ‘AA’ hockey, Melconian has made an incredible progression, which earned him OJHL rookie laurels. … The Toronto native not only topped all OJHL rookie scorers this season, but also led Aurora in virtually every offensive category. … His 29 goals ranked among the top 10 among all scorers in the league, while his 59 points in 51 games played ranked him among the top 25 in the OJHL. …  Recorded points in 39 of his 51 regular season games and never went more than two in a row being held off the scoresheet. …  Melconian’s honour-filled season saw play for Team OJHL Hawerchuk for the 2016 Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and be selected to Team East for the 2016 CJHL Prospects Game. … He’s also committed to attend Sacred Heart University on scholarship and skate for the Pioneers in the fall.

With files from Izak Westgate, Director of Operations (OJHL)

SJHL: Adam Dawe – Notre Dame Hounds: Perhaps the best SJHL professional prospects since Jaden Schwartz in 2009, Dawe was a runaway winner for SJHL Rookie of the Year in a season where the league boasted a very strong class of first-year players. … Dawe, who’s technically still a midget-aged player, led his league rookie point race wire-to-wire as the Hounds’ forward registered a league-best 64 points among first-year skaters. … The 17-year-old from Gander, Nfld., also finished tied for ninth overall in SJHL scoring. …He is expected to attend the University of Maine on scholarship in the fall of 2018 and play for the Black Bears.

With files from Mike Stackhouse, Communications (SJHL)

The CJHL would also like to recognize the five honourable mentions for its Top Rookie Award:

AJHL: Jake Gresh – Bonnyville Pontiacs
LHJAAAQ: Vincent Dessureault – Rangers de Montréal-Est
MJHL: Cole Weaver – Winkler Flyers
NOJHL: Kyle Liinimaa – Rayside-Balfour Canadians
SIJHL: Eric Stout – Dryden GM Ice Dogs


A candidate from each of the 10 leagues that comprise the CJHL was nominated by their respective leagues for each of the six national awards.

The initial stage of the selection process saw representatives from each of the CJHL leagues rank their top five players from among the 10 national nominees.

Rankings were then assigned a point value and the five players, and ties if determined, with the highest point totals advancing as finalists to the concluding round of voting.

The five finalists, and ties if determined, for each award come from either the AJHL, BCHL, CCHL, LHJAAAQ, MHL, MJHL, NOJHL, OJHL, SJHL or SIJHL.

The top five finalists, and ties if determined, for the CJHL player awards will be announced during the week of May 1-5.

That will be followed by the announcements of each of the respective award winners during the period of May 8-12 heading into the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 13-21, in Cobourg, Ont.

Each of the finalists for the CJHL Coach of the Year will be announced prior to the start of the RBC Cup, with the winner being named during the nine-day event.