The Ontario Hockey League has announced that forward Alexander Nylander of the Mississauga Steelheads is the 2015-16 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Nylander led all OHL rookies with 75 points in 57 games played scoring 28 goals and 47 assists finishing 19th overall in league scoring. He set a new Steelheads record for points by a rookie and becomes the first player in franchise history to earn Rookie of the Year honours.
"It's a great honour to be selected Rookie of the Year,” said Nylander. “I couldn't do this without my teammates, coaching staff and I thank the Steelheads for the opportunity."
The 18-year-old from Sweden was selected by the Steelheads 12th overall in the 2015 CHL Import Draft. He earned OHL Rookie of the Month honours in October, November, and February, finishing the season with 20 multi-point games including a trio of four-point performances. Nylander was also recognized in the Eastern Conference Coaches Poll as being the second Best Stickhandler, second Best Shootout Shooter, and for having the third Best Shot. The 2016 NHL Draft prospect is currently ranked third among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
“Alex made a seamless transition into the Ontario Hockey League, quickly becoming a key member of our hockey club and a valued teammate,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Boyd. “His exciting style of play thrilled our fans all season long. Alex is a focused player who is willing to put the work in to get better every day and is extremely deserving of this special award.”
Internationally, Nylander represented Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship where he scored four goals and five assists for nine points in seven games to lead his club in scoring. He is also currently competing with Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
First presented in 1973, notable Emms Family Award recipients include Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1978), Joe Thornton (Sault Ste. Marie 1996), Rick Nash (London 2001), John Tavares (Oshawa 2006), Taylor Hall (Windsor 2008), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2012), Connor McDavid (Erie 2013), and Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters who was last year’s recipient.
The Emms Family Award was donated by Leighton “Hap” Emms, former owner of the Barrie, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines OHL franchises. The award is selected by all 20 member club General Managers. Teams were asked to submit only one nominee from their own club for consideration on the ballot and were not permitted to vote for the player from their own hockey club. Players received five points for a first vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.
Nylander earned 84 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of Cam Dineen of the North Bay Battalion and Boris Katchouk of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who tied for second with 30 voting points each. The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Nylander at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Tuesday June 7. He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Saturday May 28.
Nylander was also named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team at left wing joined up front by teammate Owen Tippett at right wing, and centre Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack. First team defencemen include Dineen, along with Mikhail Sergachev of the Windsor Spitfires. Fellow Spitfire Michael DiPietro was named goaltender for the First All-Rookie Team. Katchouk was voted to the Second All-Rookie Team at left wing alongside Spitfires Gabriel Vilardi at centre, and Cole Carter at right wing. Olli Juolevi of the London Knights and the Steelheads’ Nicolas Hague were voted second team defencemen, joined by goaltender Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs.
The OHL All-Rookie Teams were also selected by the OHL’s General Managers. Players were voted on initially by position within their conference receiving five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote, and one for a third. Top vote getters in each position made up the final ballot that was then circulated to all 20 teams.
2015-16 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets):
Centre – Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (57)
Left Wing – Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (90)
Right Wing – Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads (81)
Defence – Mikhail Sergachev, Windsor Spitfires (93)
Defence – Cam Dineen, North Bay Battalion (78)
Goaltender – Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires (91)
Centre – Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor Spitfires (43)
Left Wing – Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (42)
Right Wing – Cole Carter, Windsor Spitfires (34)
Defence – Olli Juolevi, London Knights (72)
Defence – Nicolas Hague, Mississauga Steelheads (40)
Goaltender – Stephen Dhillon, Niagara IceDogs (40)