A candidate from each of the 10 leagues in the CJHL was nominated for the Top Forward Award. The first stage of the selection process saw representatives from all 10 Junior A leagues rank their top five players from among the 10 national nominees. Rankings were then assigned a point value and the five players with the highest point total moved on as finalists to the final round of voting. The five finalists for the 2013 Top Forward Award include players from the BCHL, CCHL, MJHL, OJHL and LHJAAAQ. A brief summary of the award nomination for each finalist is outlined below.
Joakim Arsenault, Sainte-Agathe Montagnards, LHJAAAQ (52 GP, 41 G, 80 A, 121 PTS)
Joakim Arsenault was the leading scorer and set-up man in the Canadian Junior Hockey League this season with 41 goals, 80 assists and 121 points in 52 games. He competed for the LHJAAAQ at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and was selected to the LHJAAAQ All-Star Team.
Tyler Gjurich, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, OJHL (53 GP, 53 G, 44 A, 97 PTS)
Tyler Gjurich was the only OJHL player to reach the 50-goal mark, while also leading the league with 97 points. Gjurich was member of the OJHL West Division All-Stars that competed at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and he was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Star, as well as winning the OJHL Top Scorer and Rookie of the Year Awards. Gjurich has committed to University of Maine Black Bears.
Michael Pontarelli, Cornwall Colts, CCHL (53 GP, 52 G, 55 A, 107 PTS)
Michael Pontarelli had an outstanding inaugural year of junior hockey as an Associate Captain of the Cornwall Colts. Pontarelli was the 2012-2013 scoring champion with 107 points, including tallying 50 goals and 50 assists in 50 games. He was a unanimous choice for CCHL MVP and the CCHL Sportsmanship and Ability Award. Pontarelli has committed to Union College.
Mario Puskarich, Langley Rivermen, BCHL (55 GP, 41 G, 48 A, 89 PTS)
Puskarich led the BCHL in scoring with 41 goals and 48 assists for 89 points and was selected as a League 1st Team All-Star. During the season, he had 27 multi-point games and twice registered 6 points in a game. Puskarich tallied 40 points in the final 22 games of the season including a 10-game point streak. Puskarich has committed to the University of Vermont.
Jesse Sinatynski, Dauphin Kings, MJHL (59 GP, 43 G, 50 A, 93 PTS)
Jesse Sinatynski was the top scorer in the MJHL with 93 points on 43 goals and 50 assists. He was the league’s top scorer for the second consecutive year, winning in 2011-2012 with a total of 90 points. His per game point average of 1.6 was also tops in the league.
Congratulations to the following honourable mentions for the CJHL Top Forward Award:
- Mike Dietrich, Minnesota Wilderness, SIJHL
- Darcy Haines, Sudbury Nickel Barons, NOJHL
- Cam Maclise, Brooks Bandits, AJHL
- Ian McNulty, Melville Millionaire, SJHL
- Kyle Morrison, Truro Bearcats, MHL
The Top 5 finalists for the CJHL player awards will be announced during the week of April 22nd-26th, followed by the announcements of the award winners over the week of May 6th-10th.